A Day of Insanity: The Rays, Contraction, and a David Price Extension

I'm really not sure what to make of all this talk swirling about the Rays today. If anything, the media should be talking about how the Rays just got swept at home against the O's and now have to try and beat Weaver and Haren to keep from going 0-5. But no, instead the focus is on two things: the Rays being contracted (thank you so much, Forbes) and the Rays theoretically signing David Price to a 7 year, $95M extension. Let's try to keep this brief.

The David Price Extension

This topic doesn't deserve to get lumped in with the contraction talk, as that's just bonkers and this is at least reasoned pondering, but it seems to be the other hot topic on the day. Tim Dierkes and Marc Topkin had interesting columns on the subject, and the numbers they suggest are probably pretty accurate on what a Price extension would need to look like. But still...7 years, $95M? If that's what it'd take, then I think we can cross this extension off the list of possibilities. 

My argument? Three names: Scott Kazmir, Matt Moore, and Chris Archer. With the pitching depth that the Rays have in the minor leagues, why would they sign a pitcher to such a high-risk contract as a 7 year, $95M deal? We've seen how quickly ace pitchers can go downhill - it sounds as though Scott Kazmir isn't even going to stick as the Angels' number five starter - so as much as I'd love to extend Price, I really don't see it happening. Wade Davis is only guaranteed $12 million in his contract - a Price extension would need to be much, much higher than that, and therefore the risk would be much, much greater as well.

Unless Price was willing to take a significant discount, I imagine the Rays will probably have to go year-to-year with him. It stinks, but it is what it is. Price isn't going anywhere in the short term (or even medium term, most likely), so enjoy his time here and embrace the Rays' plethora of minor league guns.

Contraction

Please read Jason Collette's post on the Rays and contraction, if you're interested for more.

It ain't happening. The MLB Player's Association would have a fit if Bud Selig even whispered about contracting a club (strong union and massive layoffs do not mix well), not to mention the uproar it'd create from the cities and cable networks that would be affected. Sure, the Rays have attendance issues, but there hasn't been a club contracted in MLB since...well, has there ever been a team contracted? It's a phrase that gets thrown around a lot whenever a team needs a new stadium, but MLB didn't even contract the Expos. The worst case scenario is the Rays end up moving to another city, but the franchise itself won't be contracted.

Don't believe me? Both Craig Calcaterra and Maury Brown are much smarter than me, and lay out great arguments why contraction won't happen. Read them.

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