The Tampa Bay Devil Rays felt that they got a lot better on Wednesday. Ending months of negotiation and days of concern about what could get away, the Rays signed top draft pick David Price, a left-handed pitcher, about six hours before the deadline.
"I think we had a chance today to add what we believe is a very important building block and a potential upper-echelon starting pitcher, and we were prepared to do what it takes to make sure he became part of our organization," said Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman.
The Rays are hoping it won't be long before Price -- the consensus college player of the year in going 11-1 with a 2.63 ERA for Vanderbilt -- takes his place in a rotation that will include Scott Kazmir, James Shields and possibly Jeff Niemann.
"That's something you definitely want to be a part of," Price said. "I think they have a good team now, but things just haven't been falling their way."
The Rays paid a heavy price; an $8.5-million guarantee that is the third-largest sum given to a draft pick, and a $5.6-million bonus that ranks as the second-largest. If he spends the next five seasons in the majors, he would make $11.5 million over the course of the six-year contract.
-- RHP Andy Sonnanstine's extra work paid off as he ended an eight-game losing streak Wednesday and earned his second big-league win. Sonnanstine had been hit hard in two previous starts and spent extra time watching video and meeting with pitching coach Jim Hickey to make changes, specifically to improve the location of his breaking ball, which he had been leaving up too often.
-- RHP Al Reyes' first save since June 23 was impressive. Reyes, who blew his first opportunity in more than seven weeks on Tuesday night in Boston, rebounded with an impressive and inspirational effort. After allowing one run and with the tying run on second, he struck out Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Manny Ramirez to preserve Wednesday's win. Reyes now has 18 saves in 20 chances.
-- LF Carl Crawford went 2-for-5, and has hits in 15 of his last 16 games. His .484 August average leads the majors, with 10 multi-hit games out of 14. He also tied a team record with 19 hits on a 10-game road trip.
--3B Akinori Iwamura ended an 0-for-15 slump with a 2-for-3 day and two walks.
-- 1B Carlos Pena had a homecoming at each stop of the Rays' road trip, having played in Detroit, Texas and Boston (where he also grew up in nearby Haverhill). But it wasn't much fun the way he played, going 4-for-35 with 12 strikeouts, including stretches of 0-for-11 and 1-for-19.
-- C Shawn Riggans, out for the season following elbow surgery, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for top draft pick David Price.