David Price admits the thought has crossed his mind.

These are likely his final days with the Rays. Wednesday night's start against the Yankees was likely his last regular-season start for the only team he has ever known.

When this season ends whenever that it the Rays are expected to explore trading their Cy Young left-hander. By the time spring training begins Price will likely be wearing a new uniform.

The reason is simple. The Rays can't afford to sign Price to a long-term contract. By the end of this season he'll be two years from free agency.

If they want to maximize his value this is the time.

General manager Andrew Friedman won't discuss Price's future saying his entire focus is on the Rays' effort to make the playoffs.

But in discussing the Rays' overall strategy this week Friedman talked about "not allowing ourselves to fall off a cliff." In other words while the Rays will at times stick with a player all the way to free agency (Carl Crawford in 2010 B.J. Upton last year) more often than not they need to make an earlier decision and move on (as they did last winter with James Shields).

The Rays were able to turn Shields into Wil Myers and you can bet that they'll be looking for just as big a return (or bigger) for Price. Price is younger than Shields (he'll still be 28 when next season begins) and he's won a Cy Young award.

And while Price's overall numbers this season don't match what he did in his Cy Young year he has been outstanding since coming off the disabled list at the start of July.

"Since then his season has been A-plus" Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey said. "He's also been a great influence on our other pitchers. It's no coincidence that we started our roll when he came back."