Picturing a David Price Extension | The Process Report

Picturing a David Price Extension

As it stands (and even with some player-friendly arbitration projections), it’s hard to arrive at a payroll number at more than ~$30 million. Conceivably, the team will add a designated hitter and maybe a reliever or two heading forward to eat up some of the $20 or so million between the current and projected payrolls, but that may still leave some room left for an extension or two.

If given the opportunity to extend one player on the roster, I think most would go with David Price, which bears answering: what would a Price extension look like?

The chart above shows as many young starting pitcher extensions as I was able to find. It’s by no means exhaustively comprehensive, but should serve its purpose here. The stats provided are pre-extension and that is Baseball-Reference’s WAR (mostly because it was easy to draw the average from B-Ref along with the IP and ERA, but ending hittability arguments helps too). Price is in the proverbial sweet spot. His innings pitched total almost matches the median (353) while he’s better than the median in earned runs per innings pitched and WAR per innings pitched.

Based on WAR and innings pitched, James Shields and Jon Lester are close matches. By ERA, though, Felix Hernandez and Josh Johnson are the closest. It goes without saying that Price is not signing an extension with an average annual value of nearly $16 million at this point his career. He’s two seasons from being arbitration eligible and five years from being eligible for free agency. Signing him for his market value at this point would be a negative move and one that spits at the purposes of extending a player like Price to begin with. Remember, the goals here are to secure Price’s services through one or two free agency years, lock in values through his arbitration years, and thereby save money.

Depending on the annual average value – one would guess that it would be around 6-8 million – the Rays could simply add onto Price’s pre-existing deal. Keeping Price with a salary under $4 million over the next two seasons, then seeing his salary escalate to double digits in a quick manner. Of course, there’s also the argument that the team should wait until Price hits arbitration, or to see if he’s able to replicate this pace while staying healthy and so on. And there’s the critic who doesn’t think the Rays will ever re-sign Price. Maybe not, but they’ve tried with every young elite talent. Some go for it, others don’t.

Regardless of what does or doesn’t happen with contractual matters. Price is going to be a key part of Rays’ baseball for the next few seasons.


  1. Jason Hanselman wrote:

    Are those other teams run by “New Yorkers?”

  2. nyyfaninlaaland wrote:

    RJ –

    You could have done better here.

    The chart without indicating where each guy was in their salary cycle is meaningless. I know it’s detail that has to be dug up, but that context is almost the most critical comparative variable. Sign to cover years prior to arb, like Longoruia, the AAV is much lower. Sign starting arb – higher. Then # of FA seasons bought, not with options, is another issue.

    Second, Price hits arb after 2011. Even if he’s a bit short of 3 years, he’s a super 2 for sure, at 2 years, 164 days. And his agent will measure his salary plus bonus as his comparable compensation – currently projected at about 2.2 million in 2011. Why he’d accept 2 years to start at under 4 mil is beyond me – he’ll very likely make more than $4 mil in super2 in 2012. The first year of Lester’s, and the 1st 2 of Shields deals bought out non-arb years, with far lower prior year floors. With Price it’s 4 arb years, then FA’s. Fairly, you projected AAV with options picked up on these 2. But the contract timing and base coming in mean he’s likely at another level.

    Unless he’s got Shields or Longo’s agent. Do they have pix of these guys from clubs somewhere in Tampa?

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