Price gets $14M deal ahead of arbitration exchange
NEW YORK (AP) — Tampa Bay left-hander David Price got a big deal Thursday, a $14 million, one-year contract. That will be just a small fraction of the mega-contract Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are likely to finalize Friday on one of the busiest days of baseball’s offseason calendar.
Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, agreed to the biggest single-season salary in Rays history. The three-time All-Star, eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, hopes he remains with the budget-minded franchise.
“I still have the mindset moving forward that I want to be with the Rays,” said Price, who at the end of last season seemed resigned to an offseason trade.
If he’s traded, Price believes it wouldn’t be before Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka decides where to sign. Teams have until Jan. 24 to reach an agreement with Tanaka, a 25-year-old right-hander who was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year for the Japan Series champion Rakuten Golden Eagles.
“I want to be part of it. I think we’re going to have a really good season,” Price said.
New Oakland closer Jim Johnson, acquired from Baltimore last month, agreed to a $10 million, one-year deal with the Athletics, who also struck a $2.3 million deal with catcher John Jaso. Johnson’s 50 saves tied for the big league lead last year, when he was 3-8 with a 2.94 ERA.
Others who agreed Thursday included Philadelphia right-hander Kyle Kendrick ($7,675,000), Mets first baseman Ike Davis ($3.5 million), Colorado right-hander Wilton Lopez ($2.2 million), Cincinnati outfielder Chris Heisey ($1.76 million), Kansas City left-hander Tim Collins ($1,362,500) and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli ($700,000).
By Thursday night 16 players had agreed to contracts among the 146 who filed for arbitration Tuesday. That doesn’t include Kershaw, who had a pending $215 million, seven-year deal set to be announced by the Dodgers. Los Angeles scheduled a Friday news conference.
Kershaw’s deal is the largest for a pitcher and has the highest average salary of any player at $30.7 million.
Players in arbitration who haven’t reached agreements will exchange proposed salaries Friday. Among those scheduled to swap are Detroit pitcher Max Scherzer, Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez, Cincinnati pitcher Aroldis Chapman, Arizona outfielder Mark Trumbo, Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters and Washington pitcher Jordan Zimmermann.
Of the 133 players who filed last year, none went to hearings — the first time since the process began in 1974 that every case settled.
Among free agents, catcher John Buck finalized a $1 million contract with Seattle on Thursday. Cleveland gave a minor league deal to outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who played in Japan last year. Brad Penny and Guillermo Mota agreed to minor league contracts with Kansas City.
AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall in St. Petersburg, Fla., contributed to this report.