MLB trade rumors often stir up questions about team aspirations for the next season. Notable offseason questions include—are the Los Angeles Dodgers a piece away from winning the World Series? Could constant trade rumor subject David Price be that piece? Would the Rays deal him?
According to a report from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Price himself believes “quite possibly” and “yes” would be the answers to those questions.
L.A. already addressed its biggest offseason need in signing a second baseman with power.
Peter Gammons is hearing that the Dodgers’ next target could be former Cy Young winner David Price. After all, L.A. could use the depth. Projected fourth and fifth starters Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley were limited to a combined 10 starts due to injuries last season. Having two starters coming off of major injuries doesn’t exactly scream dependability, especially for a team with World Series aspirations.
Adding Price would not only give the Dodgers a dependable option, it would give them another Cy Young winner to count on every fifth day. While it seems ridiculous to pencil Price in as a No. 3 starter, that is what he would be in L.A. The potential of a rotation starting with Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Price and Hyun-Jin Ryu is limitless. The Dodgers could probably use anyone they want as a fifth starting pitcher (i.e. the stadium janitor, Cedric the Entertainer, Muggsy Bogues, etc.). The first four are that good.
Having Price in a Dodgers uniform will work extremely well for the team, but getting him may be the tricky part.
The asking price (please excuse the pun) will be substantial. Ken Rosenthal thinks the Rays will get a better trade return from Price than when they traded James Shields. It’s true; they got a good deal out of trading Shields. They could, and rightfully should, do even better in a trade for David Price.
Peter Gammons was told by an anonymous GM that a package of minor leaguers could get the trade done. In a nutshell, this involves L.A. sending nearly every notable, high-upside prospect in its system to the Sunshine State.
Los Angeles can certainly sustain its current winning ways with big spending, but the team can’t give out big contracts forever.
At some point it is going to have to rely on the minors for prospects to fill out and contribute to the team. As good as Price is, if you’re the Dodgers, you have to think twice about shipping all of your high-ceiling prospects out for one player.
That being said, Price would make the Dodgers a near-lock for the World Series, a hefty statement considering the equally superb pitching in St. Louis.
What if I told you the Dodgers could acquire Price and keep their farm system intact?
Here’s where it gets controversial. This is the part where you “casually” glance over your shoulder to see if anyone is watching.
The Dodgers should trade Yasiel Puig to Tampa.
There, I said it.
The Dodgers are going to be aggressive this offseason. Trading Puig is certainly that.
Faced with the dilemma of having four above-average outfielders, the Dodgers may find it advantageous to move one for an impact player. Price is that impact player. Let’s face it, despite Carl Crawford’s career resurgence in L.A., nobody wants his contract.
Andre Ethier could be moved to a team like Seattle or Texas looking for a bat. The return wouldn’t be in the same hemisphere as Price in terms of impact. Matt Kemp could be had, but I don’t think the Dodgers would be giddy about Ethier in center field long-term.
That leaves Yasiel Puig.
While it would be bittersweet for L.A., it would be fantastic for Tampa. An outfield of Puig, Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers would be the most dynamic MLB outfield. Forget dynamic, it could be the best outfield in the league, period. Now and in seven years.
There may be qualms about Puig’s salary for a cash-strapped Tampa ball club (after all, that’s why they’re trading Price; he’s too expensive), but it’s really quite manageable. According to Baseball Reference, the outfielder will make under $4 million dollars next year, $6 million and change in 2015 and isn’t arbitration eligible until 2016. Should he prove too expensive long term, the Rays can flip him for another astronomical return when the time comes.
Should Tampa Bay want to save more money in the trade, they could include the newly re-signed David DeJesus and his nearly $5 million salary in the equation. Trading DeJesus further clears an outfield spot for Puig. That, and the Rays sliding Matt Joyce to designated hitter, would give "Puigmania" a home with the American League club.
Overall, the trade should play out like this: the Dodgers acquire David Price and David DeJesus, and Tampa Bay acquires Yasiel Puig and relief pitcher Paco Rodriguez (the Rays will need him if they lose Fernando Rodney via free agency).
Call it a win-win. Los Angeles would have the extra piece they need to dethrone the Cardinals in the National League. Tampa Bay would then have the offense and pitching to do some dethroning in their division.