Owners and general managers from all 30 MLB teams will convene in Orlando, Fla., starting on Monday for the four-day winter meetings that could include more big deals.
This past week has been a busy one for offseason MLB player movement, and there are still many high-profile trade candidates who could be moved in the near future. Here are the latest rumblings regarding three of the top pitchers available on the trade market.
LHP David Price
After reportedly agreeing to a 10-year, $240 million deal with Robinson Cano on Friday, the Seattle Mariners still have big things in mind this offseason. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times spoke to an MLB executive who told him Seattle has now shifted its focus to acquiring Tampa Bay lefty David Price via trade.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports also commented on the possibility of Price going to Seattle, via Twitter:
Mariners believe they have the prospects to acquire David Price from Rays. We will see if they can shock us twice.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 6, 2013
Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times cited sources who said the Mariners would have to include a top pitching prospect in the deal:
According to a source, any trade for David Price would have to include Taijuan Walker— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) December 6, 2013
Taijuan Walker is a 21-year-old righty with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, per Rick Randall of Scout.com. In 25 starts between Double-A and Triple-A this year, Walker went 9-10 with a 2.93 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 ratio before making his MLB debut in September.
Will David Price end up in Seattle?
Walker would step right in Tampa Bay's rotation in 2014 and be a nice return for Price, who already has a Cy Young Award under his belt. The Rays are in no position to sign Price once he becomes a free agent following the 2015 season. They also fared well in last year's trade of James Shields, receiving 2013 AL Rookie of the Year Wil Myers in return, and should receive an even bigger haul with Price.
Adding Price to a rotation that already features Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, who finished third in the AL Cy Young voting this past season, would give Seattle one of baseball's best starting trios.
Ben Badler of Baseball America took it a step further, speculating the team can sign Japanese star righty Masahiro Tanaka to a free-agent deal later this winter:
If the Mariners really do have more money to spend, would be fun to see them trade for David Price and sign Masahiro Tanaka. Let's get nuts.— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) December 6, 2013
It's all just a dream right now, but the Mariners have a new $2 billion TV deal that gives them the wherewithal to make it a reality.
The Philadelphia Phillies owe a lot of money to a lot of aging stars, but now it sounds like they are trying to shed some salary.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Philadelphia is actively shopping veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon:
Sources: #Phillies trying to trade Papelbon.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2013
But Rosenthal also mentions Papelbon's big salary figures for the next few seasons, which may put him out of many teams' price range unless the Phillies include cash in the deal:
Papelbon is owed $13M in ’14, $13M in ’15 with $13M vesting option for ’16. #Phillies could sign another closer for less.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2013
The first team that comes to mind as a fit is the New York Yankees, who now have a bunch of cash to spend after Cano left the Bronx for his big contract with Seattle. The Yankees have since added Carlos Beltran and have a void at closer following the retirement of Mariano Rivera.
Papelbon, 33, has a combined 67 saves with 2.67 ERA and 1.09 WHIP the past two seasons in Philadelphia. It's unknown if the Yankees are one of the 12 teams on his no-trade clause list, but he's an option take over the ninth-inning duties if the team isn't ready to hand the reins over to David Robertson.
LHP Brett Anderson
Ever since the A's signed Scott Kazmir to a two-year, $22 million deal earlier this week, Anderson has been a hot name on the trading block since Oakland has a surplus of starting pitching. Besides Kazmir, the team's other top options like Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, Dan Straily, A.J. Griffin and Tommy Milone are much cheaper.
Anderson's an active Twitter user, so he's seen his name linked to various teams via reports. Jane Lee of MLB.com recently spoke to Anderson, who maintained his sense of humor about the swirling trade rumors:
Spoke to Brett Anderson, who says: "I think I've been linked to every team -- the Dallas Cowboys, to your dad's adult softball team."— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) December 6, 2013
Oakland talking with multiple teams about Brett Anderson, an attractive option among the starting pitchers available. Owed $8m for '14.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 4, 2013
Anderson is a talented 25-year-old lefty who has been riddled with injuries, making just 24 starts the past three years. For his career, he's 26-29 with a 3.81 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 7.1 K/9 ratio, and would be an intriguing option for any team that wants a middle-of-the rotation contributor.