Tampa lefthander David Price has been on the trade block since last fall, it seems. While there is no indication to the contrary, the cost of obtaining his services may be enough to chase teams off the scent.
They have the Oakland Athletics to thank for that. The A’s got two quality arms in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but they had to give up Addison Russell, who is a top five prospect, and former number one pick Billy McKinney, who is still only 19 years old. Oh, and they gave up 25 year old starter Dan Straily and a player to be named.
That is a huge haul for a team that already has the best talent in the minors according to most publications.
While Samardzija is a good pitcher, he cannot not be considered on the same tier as David Price. Price is in his prime, and is in the midst of the best stretch of his career right now. Over the last calendar year, he has 255 strikeouts to just 30 walks in 262.2 innings pitched. That is proof positive that his control has never been better.
Add to that the fact that the Rays are playing their best ball of the season, and you have a formula for Price staying in Tampa. The Rays have won nine of 11, and have pulled within eight games in the AL East.
There are a number of prospects that can be used as carrots to dangle in front of the Rays’ front office, but is a team like the Dodgers really going to give up Joc Pederson and Corey Seager? Would the Cardinals deal another prospect along with Carlos Martinez? Would the Giants give up another prospect along with Kyle Crick?
At some point the answer will be no, but that may be where the bar is set now.
The Samardzija deal set the bar that high. So don’t be surprised if the Rays hang on to price for another few months.