by Steve Carney
On the heels of David Price and the Rays reaching a one-year deal to avoid arbitration, outfielder Sam Fuld joined Tom Krasniqi on 620 WDAE to discuss Price's role in the clubhouse.
"He's maybe the biggest key to our team now that [James] Shields has departed," Fuld told Krasniqi. "He's unquestionably our leader of the pitching staff. I'm sure he's fully capable and ready and eager to take over that captainship, and we're going to lean on him as much as we're going to lean on anybody."
As for the prospects of keeping the 2012 American League Cy Young winner, the Stanford grad remains optimistic.
"It's going to come down to the Rays willingness to open their wallets a little bit more," Fuld said. "He's certainly going to reach unprecendented salary demands within our organization.
"I'm sure we're going to try as hard as we can to keep him. I know every one of us is dying for him to stay as long as possible. It would be awesome to see [the Rays] lock up David like they locked up [Evan] Longoria last month. I understand the nature of the situation being a small-market team, but I really do hope [the Rays] make him a big part of the future."
Fuld also said he knew a member of the starting rotation was leaving, but was as surprised as fans were when he learned both James Shields and Wade Davis were going to the Royals.
"I think we all anticipated somebody leaving, one of those six or seven starters that we have. It's tough to lose two guys of that caliber, but you just trust that the decisions that Andrew Friedman and everybody are making are the right ones."
He's also excited to see how the American League East, which seems to get tougher every single year, plays out in 2013.
"The division is as tough as it's ever been. Any one of us could win the division and any one of us could finish last. It's going to be kind of wild, but I'm as optimistic going in to this year as I was last year."
Click below to listen to the entire conversation, which includes his thoughts on new Ray Wil Myers, what he believes his role will be for 2013, and his thoughts on his alma mater Stanford winning the Rose Bowl!