Braves could deal Craig Kimbrel

Given Atlanta's long-standing payroll constraints, Kimbrel could become a luxury, not a necessity. AP Photo/David Tulis

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays have been collecting information this week in their trade conversations about starter David Price, because eventually they will have to trade him. They drafted Price, they developed Price, they love Price, and he is a team leader, but they will move him because of a simple math equation: He will soon make too much money for them to afford.

If they trade him this offseason, they will get strong value in return. If they wait, their trade return -- as well as their payroll flexibility in 2014 -- will be diminished, because Price is moving closer to the time he can become a free agent, after the 2015 season.

The Atlanta Braves should be taking notes on all this, because they have a player who fits this description and these circumstances. Someone they drafted and developed, someone they love, a team leader -- and someone who is soon going to be too expensive for their relatively modest payroll: Craig Kimbrel, the best closer on the planet.

They should be looking to trade him, and right now might be the best possible time