According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, the Tampa Bay Rays are likely going to give David Price some more time to cook down at AAA Durham at the start of the season.
If the Phil Hughes experiment has taught me anything, it is that calling up a young pitching phenom before his command is completely settled can do nothing but bruise his confidence. As much as Price has dominated along every step of the way [including spring training and the 2008 Postseason,] the Rays feel that he still needs to learn to be more efficient. And apparently he is making strides with his changeup that could turn it into another excellent pitch to add to his sick repertoire with some more time.
There is also wisdom with trying not to increase his innings from 129 1/3 straight to the 200 threshold. The bottom line is that this guy is as close to a sure thing as you get with pitching prospects. One of the only things that could get in his way is injury, and the Rays are right to move with trepidation.
Their pitching staff returns the big three: Scott Kazmir, James Shields and Matt Garza. Andy Sonnanstine will be back as well. And the talented Jason Hammel or Jeff Niemann will get a shot at the fifth spot until Price reaches for the baseball. It's a good situation to be in, if you're Tampa.
Andrew Friedman continues to prove himself an outside-the-box General Manager. He knows what he is doing, and seems to operate entirely unemotionally. Kudos to the kid for having the stones to send down the presumptive pre-season AL Rookie of the Year Award. It may frustrate some folks who saw him blow J.D. Drew away last season in the playoffs, but in the long run, I am not sure that this can do anything but help Price