The Tampa Bay Rays contradicted rumors Sunday that the team was prohibited from trading former ace David Price to its intra-division rival, the New York Yankees. The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin quoted team president Matt Silverman:
A report out of New York last week that the Rays and Red Sox were prohibited from dealing their ace pitchers to the rival Yankees sounded like an intriguing story line. Or an attempt by Yankees brass to cover their butts for not being able to upgrade their rotation. Certainly, the Rays and Red Sox might have asked for more to put David Price or Jon Lester in pinstripes, but that doesn't mean they weren't allowed to.
"We don't have a no-fly list," Rays president Matt Silverman said. "We have 29 potential trading partners, and we have explored trades with each and every one of them."
Silverman's comments directly contradict Newsday's David Lennon, who wrote last week Rays management was given permission to trade Price to any team except the Yankees.
The Yankees would have preferred Price to be starting for them rather than the Tigers, who added a third Cy Young winner to their collection with the July 31 deadline deal. It's not like Brian Cashman didn't try.
Not only did Cashman call his Rays counterpart, Andrew Friedman, about trading for Price, he also dialed up the Red Sox's Ben Cherington to discuss Jon Lester and John Lackey. Those conversations didn't get very far.
Both GMs told Cashman they had been given approval by ownership to trade their elite pitchers anywhere in the majors -- except to the Yankees.
Cashman expected as much from the Red Sox. Who do you think came up with the term "Evil Empire" anyway? He held out a sliver of hope on Price, but Friedman soon gave him the thumbs-down.
The Rays ended up trading Price to the Detroit Tigers, a team that now boasts a starting rotation consisting of three Cy Young Award winners as well as the American League's 2013 ERA leader. Meanwhile, as the Yankees battle for the final American League wildcard spot, the Rays say they won't "fold" and "don't regret trading Price."
Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged the Price trade was "expected" and that his players have the "maturity to understand the economics of the whole thing."
Whether or not they have the ability to make up a six-and-a-half game deficit in the American League wildcard race, however, remains to be seen.
- Will Green