David Price admits he is not immune to the speculation. It's beginning to affect his mood, but not his preparations.
The left-hander has been the source of increasing trade speculation as the Tampa Bay Rays' season sinks into morass and each day brings the 28-year-old closer to arbitration eligibility this offseason and free agency after 2015. The media hum grew louder on Monday as ESPN's Buster Olney proclaimed the "climate" primed for the club to deal the 2012 American League Cy Young Award-winner "right now."
Price, who is 5-7 with a 3.81 ERA this season, is scheduled to start on Wednesday in the conclusion of a three-game set against Pittsburgh and has worked in front of a bank of opposing scouts in recent outings. He's impressed, striking out at least 10 in four consecutive starts, and he leads the majors with 133 strikeouts while walking just 13.
Price is set to earn $14 million this season and would expect a huge increase through arbitration next season. He deflected a question about whether Wednesday could be his last start at Tropicana Field, saying he thought he would have been traded in the offseason. But he admitted to thinking about things.
"That's why I've been in a bad mood the last week and a half," he said.