Executives with some teams have not gotten a sense of urgency from the Tampa Bay Rays yet. They say David Price has not been pushed yet. Some other clubs haven't received a final call for a last, best offer.
"But they're preparing," one AL official said recently. "I don't think there's any question about that."
What that entails is identifying the young players who would become targets in other organizations if the Rays decide to move the All-Star left-hander, as they did before sending Matt Garza to the Chicago Cubs -- and getting a young pitcher named Chris Archer as part of the package -- and James Shields to the Kansas City Royals as the centerpiece of a deal for Wil Myers.
Rival officials continue to believe that the Rays won't have a lot of palatable choices when they do decide to trade Price, whether it's in the next 14 days or after the season. "It's a specialized market," one executive said. "I don't think a lot of teams have the kind of prospects they would require, and on top of that, how many teams can absorb a $20 million-plus salary for next year?"
Price is making $14 million this year and will be eligible for arbitration over the winter, before becoming eligible for free agency in the fall of 2015. He'll be in line for a record-setting award if he doesn't negotiate a deal before then.
It does not help the Rays that it appears a lot of the big-market teams don't appear to be in play.