The Tampa Bay Rays might have gotten some nice assistance from the Chicago Cubs this week when it comes to the trade market for David Price. With that in mind, it becomes a little clearer which teams can actually afford a deal for the ace lefty.
The Rays should be able to tell their counterparts, ‘I need the same value for Price that the Cubs just got: A top-20 overall prospect, the next-best player in your minor-league system, and another valuable piece that helps us right now.’
Morosi then lays out four teams that would have the goods to offer such a trade package to the Rays: the Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, and St. Louis Cardinals. All four teams have been linked to a deal for Price, and all four teams have a blue chip prospect along the lines of shortstop Addison Russell, the central piece of the A’s-Cubs deal.
There is significant risk for all of these teams in such a deal, but they can proceed with the knowledge that they are one of a small number of teams that can actually make a run at Price.
One exec observed there aren’t many premium prospects (eg Addison Russell) in “buyer” farm systems; so, few teams have pieces to get Price.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 6, 2014
One consideration for these teams has to also be the known versus the unknown. As an example, it seems unfathomable that the Mariners would trade top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker. Then again, Price is already the pitcher that the Mariners hope Walker will become: he currently owns a 2.94 FIP (fielding independent pitching) and is striking hitters out at a devastating 10.5 K/9 clip.
Prospects, especially pitching prospects, are the currency of Major League Baseball. Then again, sometimes the infatuation with prospects overlooks the uncertainty that often sets in once they reach the big leagues.
That is the balancing act that these four teams (and more) will ponder as they craft offers for Price.