Ken Rosenthal: ‘Criticism Of Rays Is Unfair’

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David Price (Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

David Price (Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

FOX Sports and MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal broke the news Thursday that David Price had been traded from Tampa Bay to Detroit, and yes, Rosenthal was just as surprised as you were – for many reasons.

“One, I was surprised it was to the Tigers, and two, did we all expect a little bit more (in return)? Yes, I believe we did,” Rosenthal said on The John Feinstein Show. “That said, the criticism of Tampa Bay that you’re hearing – some within the industry and a lot from their fans, which is understandable – is a little unfair. Actually, it’s a lot unfair. These trades can never be judged the day they happen, the day after they happen or (even) six months or a year down the line. It’ll take time before we know how well Tampa Bay did or not.”

The Rays traded Price for shortstop prospect Willy Adames, 18, switch-hitting middle infielder Nick Franklin, 23, and southpaw starter Drew Smyly, 25.

“And (there’s) something to remember here, (which) is really interesting,” Rosenthal said. “Oakland offered Tampa Bay essentially the same package for Price that they did with (Jeff) Samardzija and (Jason) Hammel. And Oakland ultimately decided, ‘You know what? We’d rather have two pitchers instead of one,’ so that deal wasn’t available in the end for Tampa Bay. I shouldn’t say they offered it. That deal was discussed. So they lost one fervent suitor there – and obviously Oakland could be described as a fervent suitor since they were gobbling up everyone on the market.”

Indeed, aside from Detroit, no one else was in serious contention for Price.

“The Dodgers were never really in play,” Rosenthal said. “You didn’t have certain other teams that you would think might have been play – such as the Cardinals, but they didn’t want to lose their top prospects.

“So, in the end, Tampa bay had to decide, ‘Okay, do we do this now for the best deal we can? Or do we wait until the offseason when – with that $20 million salary for 2015 staring everyone in the face – it might have been even more difficult for them to (make a trade)? So the timing didn’t exactly work out perfectly for Tampa Bay, and I felt they did the best they could.

“And you know what? If the 18-year-old shortstop turns into a really good player, if Nick Franklin’s a solid guy and Smyly’s a good starter for them, that’s fine. I know you always think, ‘My God, David Price should bring the moon’ – and perhaps he should’ve. But it just didn’t turn out that way.”

Either way, fans should cut Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman some slack.

“This team has won 90 games (in) five straight years, okay?” Rosenthal pointed out. “They’re not going to do it this year, but 90 wins (in) five straight years with that payroll – and this guy doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt? I know in our world, nobody has an attention span longer than 140 characters, but it’s ridiculous.”

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