MLB Trade Rumors: Buzz Surrounding David Price, Blue Jays' Next Move

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIIDecember 29, 2014

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Most of the offseason's biggest trades come prior to the flipping of the calendar, but there could still be a blockbuster or two in the works as the MLB offseason continues on through January.

Despite the calm associated with the holidays, there are still a few MLB trade rumors to analyze. The rumor mill is done churning out bit after bit like it did during the winter meetings. That said, the buzz that comes out now can still have an impact.

Take the recent string of rumors, for example. They can have a major impact on the rest of the league if they come to fruition. Find out more about them below.

David Price

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Acquired at last year's trade deadline to aid the playoff push of the Detroit Tigers, left-handed ace David Price shouldn't get too comfortable in the Motor City this winter.

Tweets from Fox Sports' Jon Morosi on Sunday evening suggest that Price could be dealt yet again in order for the team to re-sign free agent Max Scherzer:

Jon Morosi @jonmorosi

The Tigers and David Price have had no conversations on a long-term contract this offseason, source says. @FOXSports

Jon Morosi @jonmorosi

So the Tigers -- for now, at least -- have retained the ability to sign Max Scherzer and trade David Price.

A free agent after the season, Price was just OK for the Tigers. He was 4-4 in 11 starts with a 3.59 ERA, though his 2.44 FIP suggests that he was actually a bit better, per Baseball-Reference.com. Price also lost his only start of the playoffs, although it was a successful outing (two earned runs in eight innings against the Baltimore Orioles).

It seems strange that the Tigers would consider trading Price so quickly, but it makes a lot of sense when you consider that he is only under contract for another season. Moving him now to re-sign Scherzer would guarantee that the team at least gets to keep one of its starters.

Detroit can't afford to let Scherzer walk and then risk Price walking as well at the end of the season. The team needs at least one of them in the fold to be successful, especially if Justin Verlander doesn't bounce back in 2015.

In an ideal world, the Tigers would be able to both re-sign Scherzer and keep Price next season. By not giving Price an extension now, that would free up the necessary funds to ink the right-hander.

Scherzer's market has been slow to develop, despite him being head-and-shoulders the best pitcher left on the market. It could take a major move for the dominoes to start falling.

Trading Price qualifies as a major move.

Not that many teams would have the necessary prospects to get something done. The Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs do, so they would likely be players.

Of course, we know that Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski generally seeks major leaguers in trades who can help immediately. Even fewer teams can supply enough of that talent to pique his interest.

Detroit is completely in the driver's seat with Price. There's no immediate need to deal the ace. Locking him up to a long-term extension comes down to a matter of preference—it's Scherzer or Price.

Toronto Blue Jays

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 04:  Tyler Clippard #36 of the Washington Nationals celebrates a call in the tenth inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game Two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 4, 2014 in Washington,
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

In the midst of a busy offseason that has seen the Toronto Blue Jays acquire Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin and Michael Saunders to boost the lineup, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets that the organization will now shift all of its attention to the vacancy at the back end of the bullpen:

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

ever-improved jays prioritizing closer. looking at trades 1st, then will consider free agents.

Casey Janssen closed games last year, saving 25 of 30 ballgames. He's a free agent, though.

It makes sense that the Blue Jays could look to pass on him given the value of other relievers like Andrew Miller and David Robertson. They locked down massive contracts. Janssen would likely fetch half their value, but that's still a lot for a reliever who is merely average.

That's why it makes sense to approach other organizations with a wealth of relievers. Two teams come to mind immediately—the Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals.

The 2014 postseason proved to the nation that the Royals have a plethora of incredible arms finishing off games. The unit was headlined by Greg Holland, who has been one of the best closers in baseball the past three seasons.

Despite K.C.'s success with the current formula, Fox Sports' CJ Nitkowski thinks the team must trade its closer this offseason:

One of those players who should be on the move is closer Greg Holland. Holland has been magnificent in his Royals career, particularly in the last two seasons. In those 144 games, post season included, Holland has posted a 1.28 ERA, earned 100 saves, and struck out 208 batters in 140 innings. Incredible numbers.


In a a trade, the return of a well-regarded prospect or two is likely. He has an incredible streak of 151 straight games of throwing one inning or less. The Royals aren't a team that should pay $8 million for that kind of reliever.

Toronto has prospects that could pique Kansas City's interest.

The Nationals are a more likely trade partner because the target, Tyler Clippard, won't come with the value of a closer. He has the pedigree to possibly blossom into a shutdown closer, but the Nationals have yet to show the willingness to entrust him with the job.

He'll likely pitch the eighth inning in Washington in 2015, but GM Mike Rizzo hasn't ruled out trading him (or any of his players) just yet, via James Wagner of The Washington Post: "We’ll listen to any deal for any player we got. If it’s the right deal, increases productivity and helps the ballclub, we’re all in."

Clippard is exactly the type of pitcher Toronto must target. He's cheap given his lack of recent closing experience (just one save the past two seasons), and if he pans out, the team can look to re-sign him following the season.

Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @kennydejohn