Notes: Price wants to rush things along
Rays' top prospect hoping to be part of team's season in 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- David Price is eager to get to the Major Leagues. But the only question is: Will the top overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft get his shot next season?
Price showed up at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center for the Winter Meetings in Nashville on Tuesday to accept an award from Baseball America recognizing him as the College Player of the Year. Along the way, Price had a chance to talk to the media about his current situation with the Rays.
When asked where he would like to begin the 2008 season, the 22-year-old left-hander from nearby Vanderbilt University smiled.
"If you're asking me, I'm going to tell you I want to start in the big leagues," said Price, noting the Rays have not told him at what level he'll begin in 2008.
Earlier in the day, Joe Maddon said that based on what he knew about Price -- though the Rays' manager steadfastly added he will never interfere with the work of the team's development people -- he thought Price would come along quickly. When told of Maddon's comments, Price said getting to the Major Leagues quickly, perhaps as early as midseason, is one of his goals.
"I want to be there when [the Rays] go to Cleveland [to start a three-game series on July 11]," said Price, who explained that his college roommate, right-hander Jensen Lewis, pitches for the Indians.
The Rays are banking on Price delivering -- specifically they're banking $11.25 million, which was the total value of the deal Price signed late this past summer. Andrew Friedman was asked about the best-case scenario for Price's arrival, and the Rays' executive vice president of baseball operations said that he had "something in mind."
"But it's not something I would share publicly, just because we don't want to place undue pressure on him," Friedman said. "He's very polished and a great competitor. We'll figure out where he'll start the year, and we expect him to develop quickly. And what that means in terms of timing is difficult to say.
"When we feel like he is ready, he'll be in the big leagues. ... One thing I would say is I wouldn't bet against David Price. With his talent, his makeup, I wouldn't bet against him doing anything that he sets his mind to."
Price continues to pursue his degree at Vanderbilt, and he's 30 hours shy of graduating with a degree in sociology.
"I'm going to keep chipping away at it," said Price, who noted that he told his mother he would earn his degree. "I'm going to get it done."
Slow day: Friedman said Tuesday wasn't a real productive day for the Rays -- in part because of time taken off for the general managers meeting in the morning and the Baseball America banquet in the afternoon.
Friedman said the Rays have exchanged some names of players for trades, and they have exchanged some figures with possible free-agent acquisitions.
"But I wouldn't characterize this with any of them being imminent by any means," Friedman said. "One thing we're trying to caution ourselves with is rushing this unnecessarily. A lot of things can happen with the tender date, with waivers in January, with certain free agents that get squeezed out, and we're balancing that and don't want to be impatient on Dec. 4. [With] that said, if we find somebody who really fits us, well, then we'll make a move."
Front and center for what the team seeks is a left-handed hitter who can play right field. Among the players who look like a good fit is Josh Hamilton. The former Rays farmhand hits left-handed and has a strong arm, which would look good in right field. The Reds are said to be shopping Hamilton.
Other possible players who might fit the bill could be Geoff Jenkins, Darin Erstad, Cliff Floyd and Brad Wilkerson.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.