Will lefty ace David Price stay, or will he go?
Price's name has been a constant in trade rumors dating back to at least last October. He's the top available talent potentially available on the trade market, a front-of-the-rotation arm who could impact two pennant races this year and next.
But Price's talent and performance has helped bring the Rays renewed hope for their chances this season. They've gone from 18 games under .500 to just two down. They would still face a steep uphill climb in both the American League East and AL wild-card races, but Tampa Bay has displayed a flair for the dramatic in the past.
The question is: Is it worth keeping Price for the rest of this season if the return will only get worse in the offseason? And is anyone willing to meet the team's demands in the first place?
Furthermore, what happens to the Rays if Price doesn't walk through the home clubhouse door at Tropicana Field on Friday?
"We need David. We're not going to get where we want to be without him," fellow starter Jeremy Hellickson said. "We need him, and I hope to see him Friday."
Right-hander Alex Cobb said it would mean it's "go time" if the Rays elect to keep Price and that "it's not going to be easy for us to handle" if he's traded.
After his start Wednesday, Price said his gut feeling is he'll remain with the Rays. Manager Joe Maddon agreed, adding that it "takes two to dance" -- seemingly a hint that nobody has met the Rays' understandably high asking price.
But what if somebody makes the right offer to Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman before 4 p.m. ET on Thursday?
"Obviously if you were to lose some really important players and some friends, that would be difficult. But we are in a business. We've done it before, and we've survived," Maddon said. "Regardless of what happens, I still believe that we're in this thing."