June 27th, 2014

The David Price Sweepstakes

There is no doubt several clubs would love to add Rays left-handed starter David Price to their rotation. He may be the final piece of the puzzle for a number of teams in contention.

Price is coming off a start in which he just missed a complete game shutout. He gives his team a chance to win every time he steps on the mound. And that’s what several teams need right now-a chance to win.

I have examined every club I feel has a good chance of trading for the year and a half left before Price becomes a free-agency. He would give his new team two good chances to get to the postseason and possibly win a World Series.

There are several factors that come to play when discussion Price. It all comes down to …price. What is the cost to add David Price to a pitching staff? If a team has a chance to win NOW-they have to take that chance. It is very, very difficult to win a championship Just ask the Texas Rangers.

If I am a team looking to deal with the Rays, I have the following condition: I must have several days to try to pound out a contract extension with Price to keep him from going to free-agency. If I can get the extension, I am willing to add a 3rd prospect and perhaps a Major League player (3 to 4 players) for Price.

If I can’t get Price to sign an extension, I am less willing to forfeit more than two prospects to obtain his services for a year and a half. I can not deplete my farm system for less than several years of David Price.

Price is 28. He will be 29 in August. That’s a factor for me. He has thrown 1097 Major League innings on top of the 151 innings he threw in his 3 season Minor League experience. He has some pitches on that left arm.

So here’s what I would do if I’m the Yankees:
I would offer one from among catchers Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine or John Ryan Murphy. Each has Major League potential and can stabilize the catching position for years to come. Each is an upgrade to their existing catching corps. Ryan Hanigan would be my backup catcher with one of these three the primary receiver. If I were the Rays I’d choose Murphy. He can really hit. So can Sanchez, but I really like Murphy.
Then I would have to sacrifice Dellin Betances. He has closer potential and could be very attractive to the Rays. Their closer issues would be settled for years to come.
So my deal would be a catcher and Betances. If I had to throw in a third player, it would be pitcher Ivan Nova. But I’d hate to throw in another player for Price. The two guys I’ve offered are top prospects. Nova is more than a journeyman. He can become a 5th starter for the Rays. They would yield a starting catcher, a closer and possibly a starting pitcher for a star quality pitcher they will lose in 2016 anyway unless he signs that extension. Price could provide a championship for the Yankees. And I think he would extend with New York for the right money.

Here’s what I would do if I’m the Cardinals:
I would offer the Rays the outfielders they need to contend. Outfield has been a need for the club for quite some time. I would offer one from among Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, or James Ramsey. The second player I would offer would be a pitcher. I would give them a choice of either right-handed pitcher Carlos Martinez or lefty Marco Gonzales. Both of those are quality pitchers with upside remaining. Each would really be the focal point of the deal, not the outfielder. Each can fit with the Rays sooner than later. If I had to offer a third player, it would be outfielder Peter Bourjos and not the other outfielders or another pitcher. It would be Bourjos. That would be a tremendous package of players for Price. It gives the Rays a much needed injection of fresh players and it provides the Cardinals with the starting pitcher they need while they face injuries to Michael Wacha and Jamie Garcia.

Here’s what I would do If I’m the Astros:
The Astros aren’t in contention, right? Why would they need him? If they could sign David Price to an extension, he could be a piece to the puzzle that helps them complete their organizational makeover. He could be the ace they seek to compliment a great group of up and coming position players. But there would be a steep cost to pay in addition to the extension money. I would offer one from either Mike Foltynewicz, Asher Wojciechowski or Lance McCullers. Each of those are outstanding pitchers and I could understand if the Astros would be reluctant to give any of them up in trade. But Price might be the guy worthy of such a deal. The second player would be outfielder Domingo Santana, an outstanding corner outfield prospect. Those two players would be a terrific duo for Price. If I had to add a third player, I’d let the Rays choose from among outfielders Marc Krauss, Delino DeShields or Robbie Grossman. It would be a great deal for both clubs.

Here’s what I’d do if I were the Cubs:
The Cubs need pitching more that anything. But their chances of landing Price are minimal because they don’t have pitching to offer in return. I would offer these two players for Price-the focal point of the deal would be outfielder Jorge Soler. He has a big future and would play well on the Rays club. The other player in the deal would be Arismendy Alcantara an outstanding prospect that can play either shortstop or second base. He could become a star and isn’t spoken of in the same conversations with Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler or C J Edwards. Alcantara could fill an infield need for the Rays. Especially if they plan on dealing Ben Zobrist. if a third player is needed to complete the deal I would offer either third baseman Christian Villanueva or pitcher Jason Hammel. This deal is not as deep in “can’t miss” prospects, but it gets Price out of the American League and yields two potential stars in Soler and Alcantara with a good third player in the mix.

Here’s what I would offer if I were the Orioles:
If I knew for sure that Dylan Bundy will return to form after Tommy John surgery I might include Kevin Gausman in a deal. But I don’t know that and I need Gausman for the future. Even if I can get Price. If Bundy were healthy, I could give up two very high quality pitchers to get one back. As it is, I am willing to give up huge upside in Eduardo Rodriguez, a lefty with big upside. I would offer either Hunter Harvey or Mike Wright as the other pitcher in the deal. The Rays would be getting two quality starting pitching candidates in Rodriguez and either Harvey or Wright. I am holding on to lefty Tim Berry and Bundy. Especially if I’m dealing Rodriguez. I would not offer a third player in this deal. Two quality pitchers, one of them my best left-handed prospect is enough.

If I were the Marlins I would offer:
The focal point of my deal would be Justin Nicolino. He’s a crafty left-handed starter with a great ability to get sink on his fastball and induce ground balls. I would add pitcher Nick Wittgren to the package as a reliever that could become a closer for the Rays. He’s got a big fastball with the mound presence to take the ball in the 9th inning. I would also add outfielder Jake Marisnick as a third player in the deal. I’d include him right off the bat in a 3-for-1 package of two pitchers and an outfielder. Marisnick has some upside. If a 4th player were needed for me to get David Price, I would reluctantly add Anthony DeSclafani, a right-handed starting pitcher. The Rays would get 3 quality arms and an outfielder. And Price would put the Marlins in position to win the NL East by next season. No-I would not give up Jose Urena or Andrew Heaney. This is a very deep package, but the Marlins have enough organizational depth to withstand the loss of prospects provided they can sign Price to an extension.

There are other teams that covet starting pitching. I don’t think clubs like Texas, Kansas City, the Angels, the Giants or the Indians have enough in their system right now to fetch Price. The Rangers are so depleted they have to hang on to their able bodies and not trade them away for one pitcher. But they may need him for the future more than any other team in baseball. Texas has been torn apart by pitching injuries.

Those are my projected deals for David Price. Each comes with a caution sign: He must be signed to an extension to give up the quality prospects I am proposing.

Thank you for reading my work at MLBPipeline.com and MLB.com and for listening to Short Hops on iTunes. Please follow me on twitter @BerniePleskoff.

That’s it. I’m done.