Deal to Land David Price is too Costly
I know, I know.
Unless GM Chris Antonetti were to pull a rabbit out of his hat, there was little to no chance of the Indians being able to pry left-hander David Price away from the Rays.
But the trade package Tampa Bay could be seeking pretty much obliterates any chance (however small it was) of that happening.
On Tuesday, a report from Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk details how much Tampa Bay is seeking for their 28-year old ace. According to Calcaterra, the Rays wanted both catcher Carlos Santana (if you still label him as a catcher) and ace-in-training Danny Salazar.
Those two alone should be an intriguing option for Rays GM Andrew Friedman to consider for Price. As it turns out, it may not be. Santana and Salazar are said to have been “starting points,” with Tampa Bay also wanting at least one top minor league prospect — most likely shortstop Francisco Lindor.
I have to admit, I don’t think I would give up a package like that for anyone. I know that the Rays are probably just gauging the market for Price (and seeing if another team will give them what the Royals did for James Shields), but that seems like an extremely lofty price tag for the Indians to pay — even if they likely wouldn’t have made the move in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, Price is certainly one of the game’s top starters. His career ERA stands at an impressive 3.19 that is fairly well-supported by a career FIP of 3.39 and an xFIP of 3.53. He’s a good strikeout pitcher while also having impeccable control, as his career K/BB rating is 3.06 — including a masterful 5.59 in 2013.
Price, like Shields at the time of his trade from Tampa Bay, has two years of team control left. That makes him an attractive trade target for a variety of teams. However, the Indians shouldn’t be one of those teams.
While adding David Price would certainly help the rotation, it might not do too much to help the Indians in the short-term, let alone the long-term. Price would instantly become the Tribe’s ace and form an intimidating top-of-the-rotation duo with Justin Masterson, but losing Santana would create a hole in the middle of the lineup. Losing Salazar, who has the potential to be a top-of-the-rotation starter, as well as a potential impact shortstop in Lindor doesn’t seem to do the Indians much help.
Throw in Tampa’s apparent ability to know things that the rest of us don’t (they sold high on Scott Kazmir), and I’d become pretty intimidated by dealing with the Rays.
David Price will almost certainly be traded this offseason, but even if he isn’t, the Rays can still afford to wait until Spring Training (a desperate team could pony up if a starter becomes injured), the Trade Deadline, or even next offseason to trade Price. There’s also the possibility that the Rays can just keep him, but that doesn’t seem too likely given the team’s payroll constraints and the recent extension for third baseman Evan Longoria.
Friedman has a reputation for being one of the better GMs in the game, and I could never doubt his ability to land premium talent for Price.
I just don’t think the Indians should be the team that gives up that talent, even if there was only a miniscule chance that would happen to begin with.