In response to JimfromFlorida's comment:
The Rays have one major issue this offseason whether or not to anti up and pay Price. Who's arbitration eligable and should command upwards of 15M...End of the day they're a legit 90 plus win team and division tittle contender with him, still a very good team without...
Rays have more than Price to worry about and the read down here is that he maybe traded like Shields was to maximize the return
Ben Zobrist, Escobar, Dejesus, Hernandez, Matt Joyce, Jeff Nieman, Fernando Rodney, james Loney, Jose Molina, Sean Rodriguez all are coming up on either options, FA or arbitration. If the Rays want to keep these guys their total salaries just may double from last year. Several are scheduled to go to over 5 mil and Price will go well over the 10 mil he got this year.Molina and Loney will get lots of offers. This Rays team will be very different next year IMHO>
For years and years people keep thinking the Rays are close to falling apart once they lose a star. It never happens, because the Rays trade them before they get nothing but a draft pick for them. The players they trade for cycle through and replace the next players they trade away. The Rays have not had great recent drafts, but this management team is great at recognizing proper value of minor league prospects on other teams and journeymen MLB players poised for career high seasons.
Yes, they got a nice jump start with some first picks years ago, but the trades of stars at just the right time has been their trademark philosophy. Combine that with their uncanny ability to sign cheap free agents who have career or near career seasons with the Rays and then go to other teams and revert to replacement value or prior skill level, and you have a team that has been and probably will continue to be highly competitive for at least the next 4-5 years, even if their payroll stays about the same.
The Rays have had some misses in recent years, but here is a look at some of their major moves of which many were viewed as weakening the team:
2007: Traded Delmon Young and others for Matt Garza & Jason Bartlett.
2009: Traded Scott Kazmir for Alex Torres & Sean Rodriguez
2009: Traded Jesse Chavez for Rafael Soriano
2010: Traded Bartlett for B Gomes, A Russell, C Figeroa, & C Ramos.
2011: Traded Garza & others for C Archer, S Fuld, B Guyer, & R Chirinos
2011: Had 12 draft picks in the top 89 (10 in the top 60): 2 for losing Crawford, 2 for losing Soriano, 2 for Balfour, and 1 each for Hawpe, Benoit, Choate & Qualls.
2012: Traded Shields & W Davis for Wil Myers, J Odorizzi, M Montgomery & P Leonard
Garza went on to do pretty well after the deal, but Bartlett faded quickly, Kazmir was awful, Soriano got hurt, Wade Davis got hurt, and Shields did well but is on the backside of his career.
Then there are the journeymen players that seem to be replaced by the next one year wonder: take the Rays 1B position and bullpen as examples.
Yes, Loney is a FA this winter, but I heard the same thing about losing Kotchman and Pena before him. Loney had his worst career year last year and his best full year with the Rays this year. Kotchman stunk before and after his one year with the Rays (OPS of .616 in 2010, .800 with the Rays in 2011, and .612 in 2012 to toast this year). Carlos Pena stuck around a few years and had some decent years before getting to the Rays, but he signed for pretty cheap in 2007 and had 46 HRs and 121 RBIs (1.037 OPS) that year and over 28 HRs the next 4 years.
I mean look at Kyle Farnsworth. He was a joke before getting to the Rays. The revolving door pen has not always been great or even good, but they continually overachieve and surprise. They have some excellent young arms there now in Alex Torres and Jake McGee.
So, what's the Ray's future look like?
Free Agents this winter:
Jesse Crain (not missed)
Roberto Hernandez (not missed)
Luke Scott (easily replaced)
Fernando Rodney (can do better than the 2013 version)
James Loney (first basemen like him are a dime a dozen)
Jose Molina (not expensive to replace his skillset)
Zobrist: 14- $7M club option ($2.5M buyout), 15- $7.5M option ($0.5M B/O)
Yuniel Escobar: $5M club for 2014 and 2015 with no buyout.
DeJesus: $6.5M club ($1.5M B/O)
David Price (3rd out of 4)
Jeff Niemann (3rd and final)
Matt Joyce, W Wright, & S Rodriguez (2nd out of 3)
S Fuld (2 of 4)
Hellickson & C Ramos (1st of 3)
Peralta: :$3M, : club options at $2.5M annually (no buyout)
The core of the future:
Longoria: :$6M,:$7.5M, :$11M, :$11.5M, :$13M, :$13.5M, :$14.5M,
:$15M, :$18.5M,:$19.5M, :$13M club option ($5M buyout)
Moore: :$1M, :$3M, :$5M, :$7M club option ($2.5M buyout), :$9M club option ($1M buyout), :$10M club
Pre-arb (4+ years of control):
Jamey Wright, Oviedo, Bechham, Colome, B Gomes, B Guyer, Kak-Ju Lee, J Lueke, Mike Montgomery, and more.
My guess is they trade Price this winter or at next year's trade deadline rather than pay him more than they usually pay anyone. My guess is they may do better than Wil Myers for Price. Longoria is affordable to maybe 2021. Moore is affordable all the way to the end. They'll lose Zobrist after 2015, and maybe Escobar soon.
Their pitching rotation:
27 Price (2 arbs left)
26 Hellickson (3 arbs left)
25 Alex Cobb (pre-arb/4 years)
24 Matt Moore (6 years of team control)
24 Chris Archer (pre-arb/5+ years)
24 Alex Colome (pre-arb/5+ years)
23 Jake Odorizzi (pre-arb/5+ years)
Longoria (11 years) affordable until 2021.
Wil Myers, Jennings and others listed above.
I'm not saying they won't miss Price more than they missed Shields, but they have 7 young starters that all have a chance to do very well next year:
Niemann, Hellickson, A Cobb, M Moore, C Archer, Alex Colome, & Jake Odorizzi