Courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr
We also know that more money will be coming in, significantly more, when the current contract with Sun Sports expires in 2016. "Experts" guesstimates come in anywhere between $100 ~ $150 million each year in additional income to the team (regardless of where they're playing). So we know our front office has the ability to invest in, let's call him, a statement player ~ again.
Here's where things begin to get mucky for me. Our front office has expounded over & again on the importance of strong pitching. Our farm system is grooming great finds into strong, accurate pitchers. Then we trade them off for other pieces we need and the logic behind that is completely legitimate. But if our front office believes in the importance of pitching, why wouldn't they invest long term in a pitcher? In particular, why not invest in David Price??
First off I won't buy the "pitchers are injury prone" story. Over the last three years Price has 200+ innings pitched with minimal time on the DL. He lives a healthy, balanced lifestyle and has shown few signs of wear & tear despite the innings logged. All signs are he will continue to improve and grow as a pitcher for many seasons before age eventually catches up. By the time age catches up he will have perfected pitches that will carry him through another couple years. Why not with the Rays?
In addition his clubhouse presence in invaluable. The practical jokes, the dancing, the video bombs while providing leadership for developing players is a rare combination. For those of you who are numbers orientated I'll simply provide this link to Cy Price's outstanding record. No embellishment is necessary. This is a super star pitcher with a winning attitude and a smile on his face.
But that's what the Rays do right? Put out quality pitching? The tangible difference is that in David Price we have so much more than a pitcher. We have a proven good, quality PERSON and that can't be raised on a farm nor bought, at any price. There are the obvious things like donating a portion of his earnings to Rays charity. Also, Price also founded "Project One Four" which helps kids get smart & stay safe. That's all very nice but almost expected of most professional athletes in todays society.
David Price isn't just a great pitcher who does what is expected but is a basic kind & good person who recognizes the gift he has worked hard to develop and he gives back from the heart because he really does care for each and every person (even yank & bosux fans). He gives back in constant inter action with fans on Twitter. There has never been a whisper of David turning away photo or autograph requests from anyone, anywhere. In fact Mr. Cy Price approaches the weary fan and asks them for a photo! He let's us all share in a piece of the world he alone has truly earned.
Most importantly, David Price is consistent in his respect and appreciation for the people who surround him. This is a man who prefers to give his dog Astro the spotlight than stand in it himself. Is there a more valid method of evaluating a person's virtue? I think not. There is no price too high so let's hope the Rays dig deep SOON and recognize this one in a lifetime person (& pitcher), with 5 additional years & as much money as it takes.