A David Price trade is pretty much inevitable; the question is: When? And with which team?
The reigning Cy Young award winner could leave Tampa as early as this summer if the Rays fall out of contention, but he could possibly stick around for two or even three more years. My guess is that he's dealt this offseason, but when GM Andrew Friedman decides to pull the trigger depends on many factors.
After mammoth contracts signed by other elite pitchers recently (Zack Greinke, Justin Verander and Felix Hernandez), the Rays clearly won't be able to afford Price long-term, which is why it's time for the Rays to search for potential trade suitors.
Here are a few potential trade packages that should be able to pry Price from Tampa Bay.
The Cardinals definitely have the capability to acquire David Price with the extremely deep farm system they have.
The question is whether the Red Birds will want to take a huge chunk out of their talented pool of prospects, giving up some depth they might need in the future.
Their top prospect list is highlighted by phenoms Oscar Taveras and Shelby Miller, but the Cardinals might not need to trade away either of the two in order to get Price. Matt Adams—who has had a terrific start to his MLB career this season as St. Louis' first baseman—is one player who needs to be included in this deal.
Right-handers Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha could also be possibilities, as well as Triple-A second baseman Kolten Wong.
Here are two different Rays-Cardinals trades I think would be fair:
Price to St. Louis in exchange for OF Oscar Taveras, 2B Kolten Wong and RHP Seth Blair or Price to St. Louis for Wong, 1B Matt Adams and RHP Michael Wacha.
Like St. Louis, Texas has a stacked organization that should be able to bring it a superstar even of Price's caliber via trade. So even if it decides to hang on to Profar, it could probably still put together a deal.
Touted Triple-A slugging prospect Mike Olt has already been subject of many trade rumors this offseason. His high offensive potential is something that should be very appealing for the Rays.
Tampa's also going to want a high-ceiling arm in the package. Southpaw Martin Perez, another top prospect whose name has come up in multiple trade rumors, is a good fit.
Catcher Jorge Alfaro is one prospect who should be essential for this deal, as the Rays could really use a talented backstop like him in an organization that seriously lacks it.
Again, here are two different trades that might work:
Price to Texas in exchange for SS Jurickson Profar, C Jorge Alfaro and RHP C.J. Edwards or Price to Texas for 3B Mike Olt, C Jorge Alfaro, LHP Martin Perez and OF Roland Guzman.
Yet another organization loaded with minor league talent, the Cubs have a very impressive trio of top prospects to offer in shortstop Javier Baez, outfielder Albert Almora and outfielder Jorge Soler.
Right-handed pitching prospects Arodys Vizcaino, Dillon Maples and Pierce Johnson are all potential pieces to consider in a Price-to-Cubs trade.
First baseman Dan Vogelbach is another player the Rays would like to include in the package. He's a good well-rounded hitter with great plate discipline and raw power.
Here's a swap I think the Rays would go for:
Price to the Cubs in exchange for SS Javier Baez, RHP Arodys Vizcaino, Dan Vogelbach and OF Jae-Hoon Ha.