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Price knows price likely won't be right to keep him in Tampa

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Star third baseman Evan Longoria got a six-year, $100 million contract extension over the winter that should keep him in Tampa Bay through 2022.

Cy Young winner David Price looks longingly at Longoria's security and long-term tie to the Rays.

“Absolutely,” Price says. “I love this environment. I love being a part of this organization.”

It is all but guaranteed, however, that he's a short-timer in Tampa. Despite owner Stu Sternberg telling reporters the other day that it is "absolutely possible" that the Rays will keep him, it is a virtual certainty that he will be traded this winter, when his value should be at its peak.

The Rays control Price for three more seasons before he hits the free agent market following the 2015 campaign. He got a one-year deal worth $10.1125 million for 2013 and is quickly moving beyond the Rays' range.

As Longoria settles in, Price only gets the nagging knowledge that he'll probably be dealt long before he gets a sniff of free agency. As it is, he'll probably cost the Rays $15 million or more for 2014 by the time the arbitration/negotiating process is finished.

He has given no indication that he will give the Rays a hometown discount.

There is no indication that they will have anywhere near the money to pay Price what he eventually will command. The Mariners just agreed to pay Felix Hernandez $175 million, and the Phillies last year coughed up $144 million to Price's fellow lefty Cole Hamels.

So we're talking 24, 25 million per season, minimum.

“If we could work something out long term, it would be great,” Price says. “But I understand the business side. And if that day comes … it will be a sad day."

 
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