Thursday, March 26, 2009

Price Back to AAA Durham

David Price was sent back to AAA Durham yesterday, in a move that many expected - including Price himself. Price said he felt all along that he would be heading back to Durham no matter what he accomplished this spring, and the Rays organization finalized that sentiment on Wednesday saying the left-handed phenom was optioned back to Durham so his development could be better monitored.

It makes sense in many respects as to why Price, 23, is better suited to begin this season in the minors. No one doubts his potential, but there are a few lingering doubts when it comes to Price's personal developments:

For starters, the Rays would like Price to hone his change-up (which he was able to successful begin the process of this spring), show better command of his fastball, and work on his pitch efficiency, all in attempts to get him to pitch deeper into games.

Secondly, and most tellingly, David Price has maxed out in the course of his young life with 133 innings pitched - that total having been tallied while he was at Vanderbilt. He did throw 139 1/3 innings last season combined in the minors, majors, and playoffs, but that number is still a far cry from what is expected from a full time starter in the major leagues over the course of a full season (and dare we say, the playoffs, too?). The Rays are not yet ready to put that stress on Price's young arm.

"(We) went through it for the last two or three weeks at length and ultimately decided that - all things considered - this was the right move for David and, in turn, the organization," Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations, said.

Another reason as to why it makes sense for Price to begin at the minor league level is because Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel, who are both out of options, become the leading candidates for the fifth rotation spot. Of course, being out of options means that if either Hammel or Niemann are optioned to triple A, that another club can claim that player - thus, on the business side of the ball, the Rays would do better to not send at least one of these players to the minors.

If you are a David Price fan, do not fret. Remember only one year ago when another young player was sent to Durham after Spring Training? That player, all he did, was get called up a month into the season, sign a mega contract only days later, and become the rookie of the year.

The baseball season is a long one. Many things can change through the course of the season for Price. Expect him to make an appearance in the majors within a month - and expect him to put himself in for serious consideration for the AL Rookie of the Year - just as Evan Longoria did last season.

It wasn't that long ago where the Rays made a similar spring decision - lest we forget - Price will be back, and he'll be better, and more mature, than ever.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Derek Rodriguez Back to the Sox

Derek Rodriguez, the Rule 5 Draft pick previously discussed here has been offered back to the White Sox, and they have accepted him - paying the Rays $25,000, or half the original fee the Rays paid to the Sox when the acquired him.

Apparently, the Rays just didn't have the roster space to retain Rodriguez' services. The deal will have little to no impact on the Rays' season.