"With David it wasn't three, four, five, eight guys [we were trading for], and I think people got that and understood that we're still in it to win it," Sternberg said before Tampa Bay's game at Wrigley Field, according to the Associated Press. "It really was the classic one-eye-on-the-present, one-eye-on-the-future kind of deal."
The Rays acquired left-hander Drew Smyly and minor league shortstop Willy Adames from the Tigers and infielder Nick Franklin from the Mariners in the deal for the 28-year-old Price, who was the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner.
Price can be a free agent after next season, and Sternberg said the Rays simply couldn't afford him anymore.
Tampa Bay had made the playoffs four of six seasons entering this year, including a trip to the 2008 World Series, but they are currently fourth in the AL East.
"It doesn't make things easier today," Sternberg said. "But it's never easy for us."
- Chris Mascaro