The Mariners are one of a handful of teams that could put together a strong enough package to acquire David Price..
Of all the teams in baseball, a majority cannot put together a strong enough package to acquire David Price. Many can't afford the likely $30 million he'll make in arbitration over the next two seasons—his current team, the Rays, need to trade him because they are one of the teams in this category. Others just aren't willing to pay the high price. There are a handful of teams that will give it a shot, though.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams that are likely to submit, or have already submitted a bid, for the former Cy Young award winner.
Of those seven potential destinations, I've ranked them according to the team's odds of landing him—least likely to most likely with the Angels and Blue Jays not included due to lack of prospect talent—and have also included some analysis on the state of the team's starting pitching and what kind of trade package they might be able to put together.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported earlier today the the Diamondbacks were interested in trading for an ace this offseason. While General manager Kevin Towers stopped short of saying that his best prospect, right-hander Archie Bradley (pictured), was untouchable, it sounds as if he won't be going anywhere.
"I don't see that happening," said Towers of the 21-year-old Bradley. "Not that anybody is untouchable, but we're hoping he's our David Price, and we can control him."
In other words, two years of Price isn't worth giving up six years of a potential ace.
The D'backs have strong rotation depth, although they lack the one proven No. 1 starter to lead a staff that will likely include Pat Corbin, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and either Randall Delgado or Tyler Skaggs.
If not Bradley, it's very likely that Skaggs, their second-best prospect, would have to be included in a potential deal just to start the conversation. Shortstop/second baseman Chris Owings would be a nice secondary piece. It would take much more, though, and it's uncertain if the D'backs have enough.
The bottom line is that it will extremely difficult for any team to acquire Price without giving up an elite prospect of Bradley's caliber.
Unless the plan is for the Texas Rangers to sign Robinson Cano to replace the recently-traded Ian Kinsler as the team's starting second baseman, it's highly unlikely that Jurickson Profar (pictured) is headed anywhere this offseason.
And that decreases the likelihood of the Rangers landing David Price, unless the Rays are really big fans of catching prospect Jorge Alfaro or second baseman Rougned Odor, the team's top two prospects, according to Baseball Prospectus.
The 20-year-old Alfaro, who has huge potential with well-above average tools across the board, could be the centerpiece of the deal with Mitch Moreland also heading to Tampa Bay to take over as their starting first baseman.
Including Alfaro and Odor, however, would be a major hit to their minor league system. That's expected if they want Price to join Yu Darvish at the top of their rotation in front of Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Martin Perez, but it's still a tough pill to swallow for a team that was regarded as having one of the top farm systems in the game for a few years in a row.
Adding Perez to the package, with the intention of allowing Alexi Ogando to start or adding another starter in free agency, could sweeten the pot.
With a current starting five of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, Dan Haren and Josh Beckett, and Chad Billingsley a possibility to return later in the season—he's currently recovering from Tommy John surgery—the Dodgers' pitching staff already appears to be in pretty good shape heading into 2014.
But the high expectations that come with a $200 million-plus payroll could have the Dodgers making the bold trade that they believe will push them over the top. Trading two of their top prospects, and more, for Price would be quite a statement and would solidify their place as one of the best teams in baseball.
The Dodgers have the prospects to make a deal happen, including shortstop Corey Seager (pictured), outfielder Joc Pederson and pitchers Zach Lee and Julio Urias. One of their young relievers, Paco Rodriguez and Chris Withrow, would also be of interest, but the farm system thins out quickly after that aforementioned quartet of prospects.
So while the Dodgers might be willing to give up two of the four, they might not have enough to fill out the package to meet the Rays' demands. And giving up three of the four would deplete the system. But that might not be very important for the "win-now" Dodgers.
Trading away top prospects isn't the Pirates' style. At least it hasn't been. But these aren't your father's Bucs and maybe the timing is right to finally make a splash.
After breaking a 20-year streak of losing seasons, the Pirates are a team on the rise with a roster of young talent. But as of now, they're probably not quite ready to be a legitimate World Series contender.
Trade for David Price to lead a rotation that includes Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, Wandy Rodriguez and either Jeff Locke or Charlie Morton and that will change instantly.
With three elite prospects in the system—outfielder Gregory Polanco (pictured) and right-handers Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon—and a decent amount of good secondary minor leaguers to fill out a trade package, the Pirates certainly appear to have the pieces.
But with Polanco and Taillon on the verge of helping the major league team, it would be very difficult for general manager Neal Huntington to pull the trigger and deal either one of them. Failure to include one of those players, though, would result in a failure to acquire Price.
Giving up one of the two, along with Glasnow and a few other pieces—shortstop Alen Hanson and right-hander Luis Heredia are possibilities—could get the job done.
In order for a player of David Price's caliber to get traded with two years left of club control, it usually takes a bit of desperation from the acquiring team. In the case of the Seattle Mariners, they may have reached that point.
Since an amazing run when the team won 116 games followed by back-to-back 93-win seasons from 2001-2003, the M's have lost 56% of their games and have finished in last place seven times in 10 seasons. After being outbid on top free agents several times in recent years, this could be the offseason they ensure that a splash or two is made.
It might be Robinson Cano. It might be trading for David Price. Maybe it's both. General manager Jack Zduriencik, in an interview with Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, sure did make it seem like they were ready to get the next level and weren't going to hold back.
”I always felt there would be a time where we would have to augment this club," said Zduriencik. "I think we are at that time. I do think I have a lot of support.”
Signing Cano would require ownership to stretch the budget. Acquiring Price to be the team's No. 2 starter behind Felix Hernandez and in front of Hisashi Iwakuma would likely require the team to give up top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker (pictured).
If there's any way possible that it can be done without including him, the M's would prefer that route. Lefty James Paxton could be in that package, as well as second baseman Nick Franklin, and some of the team's better low-level prospects.
And if it's not enough, the Mariners might just be desperate enough to send Walker to Tampa Bay.