Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press
Cleveland Indians Get: SP David Price
Tampa Bay Rays Get: SS Francisco Lindor, SP Cody Anderson, SP Danny Salazar
The Cleveland Indians entered play on Monday 5.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central and 2.0 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card spot.
Not bad for a team that was 8.5 back of the Tigers on July 12. And they can thank an offense that ranks toward the top of the AL in several key metrics and a bullpen that is pitching to the tune of a 3.04 ERA and a 1.253 WHIP, per splits over at Baseball-Reference.
The rotation is a different story altogether. According to those same splits, the starters have a 4.45 ERA, 1.394 WHIP, .272 batting average against and have issued 187 walks in 561.2 innings pitched.
Simply put, outside of Corey Kluber, the group has underperformed all season and an upgrade is in order.
Now Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal recently put forth a few teams that could be a fit for Tampa Bay Rays left-hander David Price, including the St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners and Indians.
Let’s look at what it could take for the Tribe to land the former Cy Young winner.
At the top of the list would have to be Francisco Lindor, who was just promoted to Triple-A, per Fox Sports' Joe Reedy. Yes, he is one of the highest-rated prospects in MLB, but without him, there is no deal.
At Double-A this season, Lindor has a .281/.356/.393 slash line with six home runs, 48 RBI and 12 doubles in 338 at-bats going into action on Monday. He is a plus defender with incredible speed and an arm that won’t quit.
In addition to Lindor, the Indians would have to include Double-A right-hander Cody Anderson and Danny Salazar, who has bounced between the big leagues and the farm system.
Anderson is 4-9 with a 4.97 ERA and 65 strikeouts at Akron. True, those numbers may not inspire the most confidence, but MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo noted that he has an “easy, smooth delivery” which results in “solid command.” With a fastball that hits the mid-90s on a regular basis and a heavy curve, Anderson has a chance to make some noise.
Salazar has already found mixed results in the major leagues and could turn into a special pitcher based on the fact that he can throw three pitches well. He will need to find some consistency, but he is ready to assume a full-time role this season.
Will the Indians make such an offer, though? That is a question that may be hard to answer. A deal like this, however, would have to make Rays general manager Andrew Friedman seriously consider moving his ace.
It must be noted that this is simply an exercise in completing the rumor. That is said because it's looking less likely each day that Price will get moved. Friedman could put him on waivers and try to work out a deal after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but he'll need to be handed a proposal like this one to move his best trade chip.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate through Sunday, July 20. Transaction, injury, scouting reports, prospect rankings and game information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information was pulled from Cot’s Contracts.