David Price Should Not Sign a Long Term Extension with the Detroit Tigers

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Aug 16, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price (14) fist bumps with Paws as he enters from the bullpen before the game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It is rare that someone actually thinks about a player’s needs on a team before we think of the team’s needs, but let’s take a look at David Price’s needs now. David Price would be foolish to sign a long-term extension with the Detroit Tigers before he tests free agency next offseason.

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Price is easily going to be the most pursued free agent in next year’s class. He is a top 5 left handed starting pitcher in the baseball. A top of the line lefty is more prized than a top of the line right handed pitcher like Max Scherzer. The Tigers tried to get a deal done with Scherzer, but he decided to test free agency and was rewarded with $66 million more than his original offer.

Reports surfaced earlier this week that Price would be open to signing a long-term deal with the Tigers and he would be excited if the Tigers signed one of Price’s closest friends in baseball, James Shields. Price also acknowledged one free agency’s perks (and it’s not just the money):

"“More or less being able to pick where you play. It’s kind of like a video game; you create your player and you’re like, ‘All right, I’m going to play for this team; that’s always enticing. I guess I’m about a week short of six years [in Major League Baseball] now, so at the end of the year I’ll almost have seven, and I guess that’s 32, 33 starts away from being able to pick where you play.”"

Price hit the nail on the head and basically told Tigers fans in that quote that he will not resign with the team before testing free agency. He is going to be able to go out and pick where he wants to play, where he wants to live, and how much money he wants to make. Even if the Tigers sign Shields, Price would most likely go out and test the open market.

For all of those who complain about the lack of loyalty by players, the teams have no loyalty to players either. They are chips in a game and the team with the most chips at the end of the day walks out with a World Series trophy, it doesn’t matter how they got there and if they were “loyal” to a certain groups of players.

The Tigers are in the same place they are with Price that they were with Scherzer. They should do everything they can to keep one of the top starters in the game. The Tigers can offer Price a contract below market value (which will be around $220 million over 7 years with some kind of deferment plan), but Price would be foolish to accept the deal, especially after watching Scherzer get a $210 million deal in what seemed to be a weak market.

Don’t get me wrong, I want Price to stay a Tiger as much as anyone, but I do not think it is best for business for Price. Scherzer went out and did what was best for business for him, and Price will most likely do the same. The Tigers can only get the most out of Price in 2015 and make him a luring offer for the future or he will walk out the door, much like Scherzer and it would be easy to understand why both walk.

Next: New & Improved Tigers for 2015

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