If the Tampa Bay Rays trade David Price this summer, it won’t necessarily be a traditional mid-season deal. Price isn’t a free agent until after the 2015 season, meaning that the Rays will play the long game as they assess the market for their ace pitcher and pursue the best possible return for him.
Could those efforts to play the long game, looking beyond this season, actually present a scenario where they trade Price within the American League East? Jim Bowden of ESPN suggests that it is a real possibility in a column in which he lists five possible trade partners for Price (subscription required). Bowden writes about five trades for Price that he believes could happen that involve the following teams: the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago White Sox.
Before moving on to the AL East teams under consideration here, we should acknowledge the rather terrifying possibility of a White Sox rotation that would boast Price and Chris Sale. Yikes.
In the abstract, it is not impossible to envision the Rays trading Price to the Yankees or Blue Jays if they believe it will yield the best return. There is the fear that Price would then haunt you for years in divisional games, of course, but that fear would go the other way as well if the Jays or Yankees gave up some of their top prospects.
Both teams would struggle to put together a strong enough package, however. While they both plan to be active in the trade market this summer, it will require creativity on their part given their relative weaknesses in their farm systems. As such, it probably suits both teams better to make more traditional deadline deals. But if they did put together an enticing enough package for Price, it would present an interesting philosophical decision for the Rays.