NEW YORK — Tampa Bay left-hander David Price got a big deal Thursday, a $14 million, one-year contract. That will be just a small fraction of the mega-contract Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are likely to finalize today on one of the busiest days of baseball’s offseason calendar.
Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, agreed to the biggest single-season salary in Rays history. The three-time All-Star, eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, hopes he remains with the budget-minded franchise.
“I still have the mindset moving forward that I want to be with the Rays,” said Price, who at the end of last season seemed resigned to an offseason trade.
If he’s traded, Price believes it wouldn’t be before Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka decides where to sign. Teams have until Jan. 24 to reach an agreement with Tanaka, a 25-year-old right-hander who was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year for the Japan Series champion Rakuten Golden Eagles.
“I want to be part of it. I think we’re going to have a really good season,” Price said.
New Oakland closer Jim Johnson, acquired from Baltimore last month, agreed to a $10 million, one-year deal with the Athletics, who also struck a $2.3 million deal with catcher John Jaso. Johnson’s 50 saves tied for the big league lead last year, when he was 3-8 with a 2.94 ERA.
Others who agreed Thursday included Philadelphia right-hander Kyle Kendrick ($7,675,000), Mets first baseman Ike Davis ($3.5 million), Colorado right-hander Wilton Lopez ($2.2 million), Cincinnati outfielder Chris Heisey ($1.76 million) and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli ($700,000).
By Thursday night 15 players had agreed to contracts among the 146 who filed for arbitration Tuesday. That doesn’t include Kershaw, who had a pending $215 million, seven-year deal set to be announced by the Dodgers. Los Angeles scheduled a Friday news conference.