Tampa Bay is expected to seek an exorbitant sum for the former Cy Young winner. Price is surely one of the best pitchers to go on the trade market in some time. The fact that the Rays were able to wring a top-5 prospect in outfielder Wil Myers and top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi from the Royals for James Shields will only serve to bolster their demands.
What the Rays are looking for in return for Price is anyone's guess, but given the fact that Price is a better-regarded pitcher than Shields, it can be expected the demands will start using that as a baseline.
Still, a team looking to acquire a bona fide ace pitcher may need to look to the trade market to do so. The best pitchers on the free agent market are likely Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez. Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka may be better than both, but will require a hefty posting fee before anyone is even allowed to discuss a contract with him.
Price, 28, won the Cy Young in 2012 and finished second for the award in 2010. He went through some struggles at the outset of 2013 with a 5.24 ERA through May. He missed six weeks with a triceps injury, but looked like his old self after returning in July. Over his final 18 starts, he posted a 2.53 ERA and held opponents to a 591 OPS. While his strikeout numbers took a dip, he improved his control greatly and had the lowest walks per nine innings of any qualified pitcher in the league.