Could Price be Chicago-bound in 2014?
He mentions that the Cubs, in his opinion, are the most likely team to acquire him while the Red Sox have the payroll to keep him long-term, and the Cardinals have a deep enough farm system to entice the Rays.
Now that Buster’s given us his thoughts on where he thinks Price might land in a trade, let me take a shot at the potential trade packages it would take to get a deal done.
The payroll flexibility afforded by the blockbuster deal with the Dodgers last August allowed the Red Sox to go on a shopping spree this offseason, although they didn’t handcuff themselves with any contracts longer than three years.
If they were to acquire Price, they're in a great position to sign him to a long-term extension.
A solid farm system with potential stars in shortstop Xander Bogaerts (pictured), center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and starting pitcher Matt Barnes, along with two very good young pitchers acquired in the Dodgers trade—Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, give the Sox a strong starting point in a deal for Price.
A deal of Bogaerts, Bradley Jr. or Barnes, and one of De La Rosa or Webster should get the attention of the Rays, who are likely to ask for more talent from a division rival.
Pitching prospect Henry Owens is intriguing with 146 strikeouts in 116.2 innings between Low-A and High-A.
Add another high-end position player prospect like switch-hitting catcher Blake Swihart, a 21 year-old playing in High-A this season, and the Sox should be in the mix for the 2012 AL Cy Young winner.
In first place and looking strong in 2013, they could make a push to land Price in July.
Here’s my trade proposal: David Price to Boston for SS/3B Xander Bogaerts, C Blake Swihart, RHP Allen Webster and LHP Henry Owens.
Unlikely to be anywhere near playoff contention in 2013, let’s assume that the Cubs would try to get a deal done after the 2013 season.
For two years of Price, they’ll have to start by including one of the “big three” in the farm system.
Last year’s first-round pick Albert Almora, shortstop Javier Baez or outfielder Jorge Soler would likely be the centerpiece of any deal involving Price.
Price would figure to lead a rotation that includes Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood and possibly Arodys Vizcaino (pictured).
Vizcaino, however, would be the type of high-caliber pitching prospect the Rays would seek in return. We’ll add him to the package, along with another young pitching prospect who cracked Baseball Prospectus’ Organizational Top 10 in the preseason, Duane Underwood, who has a ceiling of a No. 2 starter in the big leagues.
Lastly, with Anthony Rizzo expected to hold down the first base job for the next several years, the Rays could ask for Dan Vogelbach, a second-round pick in 2011 who is one of the top power-hitting prospects in the minor leagues.
The 20 year old, who is in Low-A this season, had a 1.051 OPS in 61 short-season games in 2012. His bat is very advanced and he could move quickly, even in the Rays’ system with their patient approach.
So here’s the deal: Price to Chicago for OF Albert Almora, 1B Dan Vogelbach, RHP Arodys Vizcaino and RHP Duane Underwood.
The Cardinals’ farm system is so deep that we'll totally eliminate top prospect Oscar Taveras from this equation and I can still put together a strong deal for the Cards to go after Price.
If their pitching depth continues to hold up, they could wait until after the season to pursue Price. They certainly have the resources to go after him in July, though, if he was available and if they needed help in the rotation.
Without Taveras, it’s almost certain the Rays would need first baseman Matt Adams (pictured) to be included in the deal. The 24 year old, who is 11-for-21 with three homers on the year in the majors, would almost certainly be the Rays’ starting first baseman from day one.
Top pitching prospect, not in the majors, Carlos Martinez, or last year’s first-round draft pick Michael Wacha, would also likely need to be part of the deal.
The 21 year old Martinez could be a top-of-the-rotation starter or a shutdown closer. Wacha is a pretty good bet to be a solid mid-rotation starter by 2014.
Instead of a four-player package proposal as is the case with the Cubs and Red Sox, I’m going to cap it at three but the third player has to be second base prospect Kolten Wong, who is hitting .345 in Triple-A and could be in St. Louis by midseason.
So here’s the deal: Price to St. Louis for 1B Matt Adams, 2B Kolten Wong and RHP Michael Wacha.