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David Price trade rumors: Rays could enter trade market early

Tampa Bay could get out ahead of the market by fielding offers now.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays are the worst team in baseball. They're worse than the Cubs and the Astros and those two teams aren't even trying. It's kind of amazing that they've gone as long as they have without bottoming out like this. The organization has posted four consecutive 90-win seasons and hasn't finished below .500 since 2007 -- and the entire time they've had one of the lowest payrolls in the game. It was a hell of a run, but it looks like it's over. For now, anyway.

Who knows, maybe they'll win the World Series in 2015, but they aren't join to in 2014. Or at least, it really, really doesn't look like they will. Which is why many people around the game believe David Price will be traded this summer. Of course, that was this case last winter as well, but then they had a logical reason to hand on to the former Cy Young winner -- to compete this year.

Now that that dream is probably dead, they could look to move Price, and by shopping him earlier than the trade deadline, the teams they negotiate with will have fewer other targets with which to garner leverage. MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince points out that many teams still believe themselves to be buyers at this point, which may not be the case in a month or so.

The Marlins and Mariners have been linked to the market for starters recently, but really any team still in contention could benefit from acquiring Price. This season he hasn't put up the diminutive numbers he has over the last four years, but he's proven himself enough to draw interest despite a 3.97 ERA. His peripheral stats (FIP and xFIP) indicate that he's pitching as well as he typically has, so many teams might not care about his ERA much. The Rays will set the bar high if they put Price out there. They should be able to add significant pieces in a deal, but Price is under contract for one more season, so if the Rays don't find a deal they like, they might just hang on to him and make another push next season.