Tampa Bay Rays make David Price trade error

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In theory, the Rays are still in the playoff hunt.

That's why it was a surprise to some that they traded David Price the way that they did.

Now, sitting eight games out of the AL East lead and 4.5 out of the final Wild Card spot entering Sunday, the Rays have a completely new look to their starting rotation despite winning seven of their past 10 games.

Even though they wouldn't admit it, the team's brass was saying with the move that they were punting on this season.

The reality is that they were simply trying to trade Price when he had his highest value.

What they look like now

For starters, Alex Cobb quickly became the veteran on the Rays' staff. This week, that weakness will show in a series against the Athletics when Cobb (7-6, 3.54 ERA), in his third full season with the Rays, starts against Jeff Samardzija.

"That's weird that I'd be considered the veteran guy," Cobb told "Feels like I just got here."

After Cobb, there's Drew Smyly (6-9, 3.93 ERA), acquired in the Price deal, Jeremy Hellickson (0-1, 3.29), who has started just three games this season, Chris Archer (7-6, 3.42) and Jake Odorizzo (7-8, 3.80).

It's not a bad rotation, by any means, but it lacks the star power that the Tigers or A's have, especially after each got richer this week.

Why be upset

One of the biggest issues with the trade is how much the Rays got for Price. Price looked like he would be leaving Tampa Bay anyway after the 2015 season when he becomes a free agent.

So, waiting until next year's trade deadline would significantly decrease Price's value. Price has been pitching well now, despite his past postseason failures.

The problem for Tampa is that they got Smyly, Nick Franklin and 18-year-old shortstop Willy Adames in the trade. All are thought of as having high future values but Smyly has been mediocre at best, Franklin has struggled in the majors and Adames is several years away from reaching the majors.

That lead the Tampa Bay Times to post a poll asking it's readers if they thought it was a good deal after columnist Tom Jones said the trade was better than it immediately appears.

"We have to do what we feel is in the best interest of this organization even when it might not be popular in the moment,'' team president Andrew Friedman told "For us, playing meaningful games in September for as many years as we possibly can and winning as many World Series as possible — that's what we are motivated by and what we are focused on. It's us appreciating who we are and what we need to do to sustain success.''

Who got more?

Another part of the problem is that other teams appeared to get more in their trades. Samardzija, set to be a free agent at the same time as Price, helped net two of the Athletics' top prospects in a seemingly sweeter deal.

James Shields seemed to net more in Wil Myers when the Rays traded another starter too. One writer even scoffed that Jarred Cosart netted more than Price when the Astros received third-base prospect Collin Moran and outfielder Jake Marisnick.

The price for Price just didn't seem high enough.

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MLB American League
Detroit Tigers
Tampa Bay Rays

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