Every contender wants David Price. Not every contender can get David Price, but everyone does want him. Put Price on any roster and he makes them automatically better. That is why his name is the one to watch for as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. The former Cy Young award winner and four-time All-Star has had a fantastic season, but the Tampa Bay Rays, however, have not. Who is the most equipped to get David Price before the 31st?
The Cleveland Indians have the pieces the Rays covet. They are already in talks over the hurler, as Robert Murray of Sports Rumor Alert reported last week. As always, the Indians would have to deal a few top prospects to get Price. Outfielder Tyler Naquin, the Indians first round pick in 2012 and their fourth-best prospect (via MLB.com), is a trade target, as could be Carlos Santana, who's on-base percentage has been historically good. The Indians' top prospect, Francisco Lindor, is off-limits, per Murray, who's source told him, "No way we give him up."
Danny Salazar, who has not pitched in the big leagues since May 15, could also be apart of any David Price deal. However, his value is likely at its lowest right now. He was fantastic last season, going 2-3 with a 3.12 ERA and a 123 ERA+ in 10 starts, netting him a postseason start, but he does not look like a guy who could be a headliner in a deal for David Price. It would take Salazar plus a lot more to acquire him. The Rays want a lot for Price (who wouldn't?) and are content on keeping him if they cannot get a deal done. That's where I believe the Indians fall short.
While the Indians do have some intriguing pieces for Price, the two sides do not match up without Francisco Lindor. The Rays are beginning to contend, meaning that they are not in a hurry to deal Price. The Indians do have a lot to offer, but it is not exactly what the Rays are looking for, thus it seems hard to see Price headed out to Cleveland. If Price was in the final year of his contract, which he will be next year, the Rays would have more intentions to move him. If they do not move him this year, keep your eyes open on Cleveland next year if this does happen again.
St. Louis Cardinals
Nick Cafardo reported on Sunday that the St. Louis Cardinals would like a financial commitment before going all out on David Price. To translate that, the Cardinals would like Price, but his contract is too short for them to really go out for him. If they do decide to bolster their pitching staff, well, very nicely, David Price is definitely out there for them. The Cardinals might just have the minor league depth to go get the biggest prize at the July 31st trade deadline.
First there is Oscar Taveras. One of the best prospects in all the minor leagues, Taveras would be the highlight of any deal for David Price. However, just like the Indians, I doubt that there is any chance the Cardinals deal him. Actually, the chances are zero. Taveras will not be moved. If the Cardinals would like a "financial commitment" before committing to Price, there is no chance they will move perhaps their entire future in Oscar Taveras.
Besides Taveras, the Cardinals do have some intriguing minor league prospects. Lefty Marco Gonzalez seems to be on the fast track to the major leagues, as is outfielder Stephen Piscotty. Both are very underrated, which could make a great foundation for a deal with the Rays. However, the Rays probably want Taveras, who they are not likely going to get. And if the Cardinals do not budge, it is the same story, the Rays will be content on keeping the lefty. That is why this whole situation is even more interesting.
If we did not learn from Robinson Cano's $200 plus million contract, the Mariners are willing to overpay. Is it possible that they go out and get David Price? I do not know. Of the three teams, they likely are the most needy. They play in what seems to be the strongest division in baseball, including the three-headed monster of the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels, and them. In order to go capture a playoff spot, and go deep into the playoffs, the Mariners need to get some pitching.
David Price might be that option. However, righty Taijuan Walker, the Mariners top prospect, would have to be included in a deal for him. I believe that Walker, of the three teams' top prospects, is the most likely to be moved in the event of a David Price trade. Which is why the Mariners could be the best suitor for the starter. They do not want a financial commitment and they need to keep up with both their division rivals in the A's and the Angels, who have made some big trades already this deadline season.
Other players in a foundation for a deal could be lefty James Paxton or third baseman D.J. Peterson. The Mariners, while might not have the best prospects, may be the highest bidders for the Rays on David Price, which is why I think they ultimately go and get him. They are willing to spend and they want to continue to fight for the playoffs. This is the perfect match for the Rays and David Price.
Within the next ten days, we will find where David Price gets dealt, or even if he gets dealt. But for now, it is all speculation, as anything can happen during trade deadline season.