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The Tampa Bay Rays and starting pitcher David Price avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $14 million contract Thursday, according to multiple reports.
It’s a pay raise from the previous year in which Price earned a $10.1 million salary — a 38-percent increase, to be exact — but continuing to accept these one-year deals means Price will be ineligible for arbitration after the 2015 season. Price has avoided arbitration with the Rays each of the past four years including this time.
Price, 28, will hit the free-agent market after that season, but may already be on the trade market. The southpaw may be at his peak value right now, as after next year he’ll command a mega-deal much like the Los Angeles Dodgers just handed to ace Clayton Kershaw.
Should the Rays fall out of contention early, he could certainly be a target for contending teams during the MLB trade deadline. The Rays have a history of dealing their superstars, and Price’s new $14 million salary is nearly one-quarter of the club’s $58 million payroll in 2013. Price’s name has been frequently linked with teams in pursuit of hot free agent Masahiro Tanaka since most will obviously strike out. That means Price could generate some strong interest from teams like the Rangers, Mariners, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks once Tanaka signs.
Price has been named to the All-Star team three times and won the American League Cy Young Award in 2012. He went 10-8 with a 3.33 in 27 starts last season, and owns a career ERA of 3.19. His struggles have come in the postseason, where he is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA in four career starts.
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