Without saying it, Joe Maddon pretty much said it. We've all expected it, but now it seems the Rays are publicly hinting toward David Price starting the season in Durham rather than the Rays rotation.
"We’re looking at this from a developmental perspective, and with that, I think the changeup getting to become a better pitch is very big for us, the command of the fastball is very big for us, and then 130-some innings last year is very big for us," Maddon said. "So we’re trying to consider a whole bunch of things with David, and we still consider him in the developmental process, whereas a lot of people, I think, see him as the finished product.
"That’s where the confusion lies, I think, from the outside looking in, and I understand that. I get it. I totally get it. Because if you were watching the playoffs last year you see him as the finished product, but we don’t necessarily see it there yet. But we don’t believe he’s far off. So if he doesn’t make it out of this camp as the fifth starter, we see that as being OK, because we have these other things that we think he needs to work on."
We all remember Price shouting with his arms in the air after the 27th out in Game seven, but the Rays obviously feel that he isn't a "finished product" and would like him to work on things such as fastball command, the changeup and limiting innings. None of us are scouts or claim to be, so we'll just have to take the professionals word on this. Maddon said the Rays reserve the right to change their plans so I won't fully eliminate Price just yet, but the fifth starter battle is looking like a two man race between Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann.