PORT CHARLOTTE – It finally sank home for David Price that he was going to be with the Tampa Bay Rays this season when he crossed Price Boulevard in North Port this week as he drove into Charlotte County.
“I’m definitely the happiest person in Port Charlotte,” Price said Friday morning. “I know there’s not a whole bunch of people too pumped up to come here, but I was definitely very excited to be in Port Charlotte.”
Price, the center of much trade talk during the offseason, was one of nearly two dozen players who worked out Friday at the Charlotte Sports Complex. Pitchers and catchers reported for spring training Friday. The first workout is Saturday.
Price said he felt certain he would be traded this offseason since he was due a hefty raise and has two years before he reaches free agency.
But the Rays signed him to a one-year, $14 million deal as part of a salary drive that will push the team payroll above $80 million this season — uncharted waters for this franchise.
“I feel like we have everything,” Price said. “I feel like a Tampa Bay Rays team ever since I have been here has always been very versatile. The team that we have on paper, right now, is pretty darn good.”
Price said he followed all the offseason rumors. He felt he might be moved the week after Mashiro Tanaka signed with the New York Yankees. But that week came and went and Price was still a Ray.
“Once I get into the season, it will kind of go away,” Price said of a possible trade. “But up until Opening Day, anything can happen.”