The Tampa Bay Rays have two legitimate superstars on their team. One is an every day player in third baseman Evan Longoria. The other is studly pitcher David Price.
Unfortunately, there simply isn’t very much room for any other big names on this cash-strapped organization’s roster. The Rays sent their second-best pitcher, James Shields, to the Royals for a slew of prospects, knowing they could not re-sign him after inking Longoria to a massive new contract.
Price is under contract for quite some time — he hits free agency following the 2015 season — but there is no doubt Tampa Bay is already fretting over losing one of the best pitchers in baseball to a fat new contract.
“Joe wants us to be comfortable in our own skin. He doesn’t care what we do in the locker room. He doesn’t care what type of music we play, how loud we play it. He doesn’t care what we wear to the field, because that’s not going to help us be better baseball players. That (would give) us more reasons to mess up, more reasons to get a fine, more reasons to be mad about coming to the ballpark because you have to wear slacks and a collared shirt in 100-degree weather.
“It’s a joke to me, that I had less rules in college than I would on some major league teams. That’s not my style, man. I couldn’t do it on some of these teams I hear about. I couldn’t do it. I’m a grown man.”
Price spoke for several minutes about “how good we have it here,” even making special mention of the team’s athletic training staff. He added: “If I ever did hit that free-agent market, there would be teams I wouldn’t sign with simply because of the stuff that I’ve heard — every rule they have. Being here since 2007, being treated like a grownup, given that respect and freedom and space — it grows on you.”
Taking note of his beard, I told Price he’d have to shave if the Yankees traded for him.
“I wouldn’t stay there very long then,” he responded. “I wouldn’t sign a long-term deal there. Those rules, that’s old-school baseball. I was born in ’85. That’s not for me. That’s not something I want to be a part of.”
On the one hand, there are legions of Yankees fans out there shaking their heads; they are all thinking that if old-school is going to win World Series rings, then players had better accept their huge checks and fall in line.
On the other, if you are going to pay someone roughly three-quarters of a million dollars every time he takes the mound, then you should probably treat that person as someone who is being paid that much. If Price can choose everything else in his life, he should be able to choose whether or not he can have facial hair.
Then again, in 2015, he will be able to choose which baseball team is going to make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. This “grown man” simply won’t choose the Yankees.
And for that, the rest of the country, so sick of seeing New York open up their wallets for every big-time free agent out there, thanks you, Mr. Price.
PS — We got through the entire article without using a ‘The Price is Right’ metaphor once; you won’t see that much more often.