Left-handed starter David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration with a one-year, $14 million deal for the 2014 season.
Price was reportedly shopped at the end of last season, as the franchise had done in working trades for prospects in exchange for starting pitchers such as Matt Garza (Chicago Cubs) and James Shields (Kansas City Chiefs).
In light of rising pitcher contracts -- Clayton Kershaw signed with the Dodgers for $215 million this week and the Seattle Mariners gave Felix Hernandez $175 million last spring -- Price's days are most likely numbered.
The team maintains a low payroll and relies heavily on a farm system full of young arms. Even with Price's salary, the Rays expect a team payroll of $70 million this season.
Price, 28, is a three-time All-Star (2010-12) and in 2012 became the first pitcher in Rays history to win the American League Cy Young Award. In 2013, he went 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA in 27 starts despite missing 44 games with a left triceps strain. His 5.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio (151-27) led the AL and ranked fourth all-time among AL lefthanders.
Following his return from the disabled list on July 2, Price went 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 18 starts with 102 strikeouts and only 13 walks. During that time he had four complete games, the last of which coming Sept. 30 in the playoff tiebreaker game at Texas, when he became the fifth pitcher in major league history to record a complete-game victory in a one-game tiebreaker.
The No. 1 overall pick in 2007 from Vanderbilt, Price is the all-time leader in ERA (3.19) and winning percentage (.645, 71-39) and ranks second behind Shields in wins (71), games started (147), innings pitched (973.0), strikeouts (876) and complete games (eight) for the Rays.