David Price, Future Cardinal?

Last week, I wrote that the best suitors for David Price were primarily lower revenue clubs who might not be able to afford his 2015 arbitration raise, leading to the possibility that Price could be traded both this summer and again this winter. Then, on Sunday, the Cardinals made that column obsolete. On the same day, they placed both Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia on the disabled list, with Wacha’s injury having a pretty open-ended timeline and raising the question of whether or not St. Louis can count on him returning this year.

Suddenly, the team with the most buying power of any team in baseball now has a glaring and immediate need for an impact starting pitcher. And David Price ending up in St. Louis almost feels inevitable.

Now, of course, many things in baseball that seem inevitable from the outside don’t actually end up happening. As outsiders, we don’t have access to the kind of information we would need in order to determine whether or not the Cardinals are actually going to acquire David Price. We don’t know what Tampa Bay is going to ask for in return. We don’t know much about Wacha’s injury, or whether the Cardinals are willing to count on Garcia still being held together by duct tape in October. We don’t know how much their organization likes Marco Gonzales, who is being recalled from the minors to start on Wednesday. We don’t know if there’s another team determined to come away with Price at all costs.

But we do know that the Cardinals should be incentivized to make a significant move. Their 4.5 game deficit in the NL Central isn’t insurmountable (is surmountable?), but our Playoff Odds now project the Brewers as slight favorites for the division title. Avoiding the Wild Card game is a big deal, and acquiring Price would probably make the Cardinals favorites for that spot again, even with their deficit. And of course, once they get to October, a Wainwright-Price tandem at the front of their rotation would be formidable indeed.

Additionally, Price fits the Cardinals window pretty well. While this is a team with some good young players, the Cardinals core is mostly on the wrong side of 30. Adam Wainwright isn’t going to be this good for that much longer. Yadier Molina already has spent over 10,000 innings behind the plate. Matt Holliday is showing signs of aging. This team is a contender this year, and will be again next year, but there is going to be a bridge-year (or two) coming, where the team has to shift away from their current stars and transition into a new era. Signed through next year, Price would be around to help this core make two final runs, and then they could let him walk away while they enter their transition.

And there’s one other factor that should make the Cardinals more interested in Price than some of the other available arms: Ben Zobrist. While the Rays don’t have the same incentives to move Zobrist as they do Price — his $7.5 million salary for 2015 is much more manageable — he’s still thought to be available, and he’d also be a significant asset for the Cardinals. St. Louis’ second baseman have a .241 wOBA this year, and while you could expect positive regression from Kolten Wong and Mark Ellis, Zobrist would give them an upgrade at second base and some versatility that they lack since entrenching Matt Carpenter at third base.

Acquiring Zobrist wouldn’t necessarily block Wong, since he can play the outfield and even shortstop if needed. Right now, the Cardinals are basically praying and hoping that Jhonny Peralta stays healthy, because he’s the only thing keeping them from reliving the Pete Kozma experience. Acquiring Zobrist would essentially make Wong the back-up shortstop, creating a higher floor and avoiding the chance that a replacement level scrub has to play a prominent role in October. Between second base, shortstop, and right field, there would be plenty of playing time for Zobrist, and he could prove just as important an acquisition as Price.

And a Price/Zobrist package is the kind of upgrade that should put Oscar Taveras in play for the Rays. While the Cardinals will certainly be reluctant to give up their top prospect, he’s the kind of trade chip that other teams would struggle to outbid. He’s the kind of potential star that the Rays are going to want to acquire. He’s the kind of guy who theoretically would make Andrew Friedman pull the trigger.

You don’t want to give up elite, near Major League ready talent for short-term expensive veterans. Considering his 2015 salary, Price’s trade value is probably not high enough to demand Taveras. Put Zobrist in the deal, however, and now the Cardinals short and medium term future is upgraded enough to justify the long term downside of giving up a player of his skills. Price and Zobrist could add three wins to the Cardinals ledger this year, and maybe as many as seven next year. Even with the salary commitments required in taking on both player’s 2015 contracts, they still would be valuable enough to justify giving up Taveras.

The Rays would likely ask for some filler as well, and maybe a final deal would look something like Taveras, Greg Garcia, Tyler Lyons, and a low-level arm or two. Maybe it would take a little more if there’s a bidding war. But putting Taveras in a deal gives the Cardinals an advantage over every other buyer this summer, and the Rays ability to include Zobrist in a deal for Price gives them the best leverage to extract St. Louis’ top prospect in return.

Maybe it won’t happen. The Taveras-for-Jurickson Profar trade seemed to make a lot of sense for both sides and never materialized, so this one may not either. But from an outside perspective, it makes sense. The Cardinals need to get better, and they have a new-found need for starting pitching. They could also use a multi-dimensional utility player who could shore up second base. The Rays have almost a perfect package of non-rental players to offer. The Cardinals have an elite prospect with no obvious role on their 2014 team. The pieces fit. Now we just have to see if John Mozeliak and Andrew Friedman see it the same way.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


124 Responses to “David Price, Future Cardinal?”

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  1. tz says:

    Almost makes too much sense. Just like Taveras for Profar did last year.

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  2. gandriole says:

    Seems pretty reasonable for the Cards, but I think the Rays could get more for each in separate deals.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      A higher quantity of prospects, sure. But neither Price nor Zobrist, by themselves, will get the Rays a top five prospect. If the Rays are more interested in getting back one elite young talent rather than a higher number of good prospects, combining them is the way to do it.

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  3. semperty says:

    Maybe I’m undervaluing Taveras, but even as a Cards fan this seems lopsided in St. Louis’s favor

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    • David says:

      1.5 years of a top-level pitcher, plus half a year and an option on a 2B/RF (who can’t actually play SS anymore with that fork beginning to grow out of his back), in exchange for five years of control of a ready now, potentially elite OF? How is that lopsided in favor of StL?

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      • Dayton Moore says:

        Should I explain it to him?

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        • Andrew says:

          this Cardinals team isn’t close to being the 2004 Cardinals, with or without Price. The way the playoffs have worked for the Cardinals lately, its best just to go with what you have (or make some medium sized moves) and hope you get hot at the right time. How else do you explain the Cardinals winning in 2006 and 2011 but not 2004, 2005, 2012?

          While “fair” or close to fair, the Cardinals don’t seem to be a team to go “all in”

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        • Babyspittle says:

          I doubt you can.

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        • Babyspittle says:

          emphasis on YOU

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        • Bip says:

          How else do you explain the Cardinals winning in 2006 and 2011 but not 2004, 2005, 2012?

          With a series of coin flips.

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        • fan favorite says:

          Cardinal fan is always delusional.

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        • a eskpert says:

          As far as winning in 2011 is concerned: Chris Carpenter.

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      • Baltar says:

        Losing both Price and Zobrist would leave a couple of huge holes for a team that will probably be competitive next year with the players they have and a strategic FA signing or 2.
        I don’t think that’s worth Taveras and change, though I admit I don’t know anything about the other players Dave suggested.

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  4. RMD says:

    I agree. The Cardinals realize that if they had been aggressive last summer in acquiring a shortstop, they would have won the World Series.

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    • paperlions says:

      Right, because the SS was why they couldn’t win those last 2 games, not then entire lineup failing to hit for 3 games in a row, including a Buccholtz that had no business being on the mound.

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      • Andrew says:

        absolutely right, you just need a team that meets a certain threshold. After that, its kind of a crap shoot. Look at all the 100+ win teams that haven’t won the WS. 2001 Mariners and 2004 Cardinals come to mind immediately

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      • Sam says:

        The Pete Kozma effect cost them at least one game. Besides being useless at the plate he also committed a huge error and forced them to use Descalso at shortstop, shortening an already short bench.

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  5. Johnny says:

    It’s a tough call. Price/Zobrist will cost $25-26 million next season so the opportunity cost of that money could be the deal breaker for the Cardinals. It’s really Taveras, fillers and $24 million in 2015 space for Price/Zobrist.

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    • Catoblepas says:

      The fact that it’s a tough call for both sides, to me, suggests that this is in fact a reasonable deal.

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      • Andrew says:

        definitely is reasonable. I’d rather be the Rays and receive Taveras (and save Price and Zobrists salaries, even though they are below market)

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      • hittfamily says:

        I doubt the Rays would do this. They have had a lot of top 20 prospects bust. Delmon, Brignac, Wade Davis, and others to a certain extent in Moore, Hellickson, and Jake McGee.

        Even in the Myers deal, they made sure Odorizzi, Montgomery, and Leonard were involved. Odorizzi is top 10 in MLB in k/9, Montgomery is dominating AAA, and Leonard is fin a A ball.

        Zobrist isn’t garbage yet. He’s still a 4 win player, signed for another year and a half for 10 mil over that span. Why is he just a throw in? He’s got 20 mil in excess value.

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    • Bip says:

      There are a few factors counteracting the opportunity cost of that $24 million. In Zobrist’s case, there is no better 2B likely to be a free agent next year, so without him, there is no amount of money they can spend to obtain a comparable upgrade. In Price’s case, they actually have the benefit of only having him for one more year. The alternative, if they want another starter of comparable quality, is to give Max Scherzer an 8-year deal, something I’m sure they don’t want to do.

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  6. Tom B says:

    The Cardinals seem to me like the least likely team to take on $25mil worth of players… If there was one franchise that doesn’t participate in knee-jerk reactionary trading like this… it’s the Cardinals.

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    • MLB Rainmaker says:

      Yup, 100% agree. It does just doesn’t seem to fit Mozeliak’s MO, and in reality, the Cardinals don’t really need to do anything now.

      If you actually look at their stats, their problems are on the offensive side of the ball not pitching, and I don’t think the Rays have anything to offer in terms of offense. The Cards are 4th in the league in pitching WAR and 26 in Runs scored. The problem is they haven’t gotten much from Craig or Holiday, 2B has been a black hole all season, and until Recently Adams hasn’t been hitting for power like they expected. Adding Price doesn’t solve those problems.

      If I were Mozeliak, I’d let the season play out and see how the youngster develop, and worst case find a rental hitter at the deadline. I mean who’s on that 2015 free agent list that could fill a hole — Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Josh Willingham — all could add a little pop and probably not cost that much.

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      • Andrew says:

        the Cardinals are in need of an impact bat. Holliday and Craig have taken steps back from last year and Beltran is gone. Taveras is the most realistic shot at an impact bat. He won’t be at that level this year, but would come in handy over the next 5 years

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      • Wobatus says:

        They are 4th in pitching WAR but just lost Garcia (who hadn’t pitched all that much) and Wacha (who had). But I don’t think they’ll do the deal.

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        • Brian says:

          Agree. Also, the point of the game is to outscore your opponent – whether you’re adding runs on the offensive side or subtracting them on the defensive side is largely* immaterial. (* – not 100% true mathematically, but still true for the most part.)

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        • Blow says:

          Yep Wacha and his 1.7 WAR are potentially out of the equation…..

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    • mario mendoza says:

      You guys are right on it.

      The Cards pitching is fine. The fact that they can turn to Martinez and Gonzalez is good, especially since Wacha isn’t disappearing off the face of the earth. Initial reports on his injury are actually encouraging.

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    • arc says:

      What would be “knee-jerk” about this move that wasn’t knee-jerk about e.g. the Matt Holliday trade?

      Holliday was making $14M that season and was subsequently signed to a big-money contract. He was also worth less by himself (~5 WAR) than Price & Zobrist are likly to be combined (~7 WAR)

      I don’t think it’s an outlandish idea by any means.

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    • Sam says:

      You’re right about that. The last (and only) time Mozieliak made a deal like this was to trade for Holliday way back in 2009.

      However, the time is right for this deal if only because the Cardinals have a glut of high level outfielders now. Something has to give between Grichuk, Piscotty, Ramsay and Tavares.

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      • Ben says:

        The Holliday deal was not “knee-jerk.” The Holliday deal was made to fill a long-term need on the offensive side of the ball instead of throwing a Chris Duncan or Rick Ankiel or Jonathan Rodriguez out there every day. They believed they could sign him long-term. They also had time to look and see if Brett Wallace could play a position other than 1B and it seemed he could not (in their eyes).

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  7. ms says:

    I think the Zobrist inclusion is unlikely, they spent 5 mil on Ellis and still have Wong…they could also acquire a 3b and move Carpenter back to 2nd. I suspect the Cardinals offer something more like Adams/Piscotty/Reyes for Price, move Craig to 1st and give Tavares RF.

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  8. mario mendoza says:

    This would be a gross overreaction to Wacha’s injury, which is supposedly a “bone” injury from which he should return just fine. Heck, they were never counting on Garcia to begin with. Assuming Waino is healthy, their rotation is hardly in shambles.

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    • Brian says:

      It is highly debatable whether or not Wacha will be just fine. Bernie Miklasz has the lowdown in today’s Post-Dispatch, but basically Wacha might be fine, but he also might be in some serious trouble.

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  9. tz says:

    Any chance the Cards stretch Maness into a starter and try to pick up a lefty reliever to fill that void?

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    • paperlions says:

      No. No chance.

      Kelly is close to returning. Lyons is rehabbing. Gonzales is being called up. Cooney is in AAA. ALL of those guys are FAR superior options to Maness as a starter.

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  10. nico says:

    Great thinking, Dave. Pretty airtight case.

    But, on behalf of >90% of fans, we’re tired of seeing these Cardinals in October. They don’t need your help, too.

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  11. Phil says:

    The Cards don’t always do the mid-season add, but when they do, it’s usually for a superstar. Price would follow in the Rolen, McGwire, Holliday tradition.

    And of course the stars usually love it enough to sign long-term at rates not quite as astronomical as one would usually guess.

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    • Andrew says:

      and Larry Walker (although he’s definitely 4th place on your list)

      But somehow, the Cardinals managed to not give up much talent (even judged at the time. using hindsight, not even close)

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  12. El Duderino says:

    I dunno, it seems to me that the Rays should be getting back another MLB ready piece. Perhaps Carlos Martinez? It’s not like the Cards are hurting for cash, or as if Martinez is in a position to really help them in a significant way over the rest of the year. I really think that Taveras and Martinez plus filler for Zobrist and Price is a fair deal. Perhaps Zobrist isn’t as good as he once was, but he’s still solid, can play a plethora of positions, which, like Dave said, gives them a much needed boost at several positions. I think that that flexibility is being highly under rated in the comments though.

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    • paperlions says:

      That’s crazy.

      They would already be paying twice for Price/Zobrist, who will cost over $27M combined next year and about $10M for the rest of this year. You don’t trade players, you trade contracts. 6+ years of Taveras is already similar value to 1.5 years of Price/Zobrist before you consider the costs involved.

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    • a_fink says:

      oh lord no. You speak as if you were someone who has not seen Carlos Martinez pitch.

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      • BirdoInBoston says:

        Tell ‘em, fink!

        Not so sure the Cards need Price…my guess is that IF this deal happens, it will be because Wacha is still ailing in three weeks time AND Price is still available then.

        The report out today that Price could be moved “imminently” is likely just posturing because they think the Cards might knee-jerk (which we don’t….)

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      • El Duderino says:

        You speak as if you never saw Zobrist play. He’s still a top 11 2B right now, but can play SS if needed, and in the OF. Can we really expect Taveras to sustain a 100 wRC+ in the OF for as long as Zobrist has this season? Is anyone that the Cards can play at 2B even competitive with his 1.6 WAR so far this season? Add in Zobrist’s great contract and I see no reason why a deal of the two of them shouldn’t command more than Taveras and some middling crap on the side. We’re talking about 1.5 years of one of the greatest pitchers of this generation and a solid 2B/OF for a prospect that may be mostly helium and some scraps. No thanks.6

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        • Jason B says:

          “Top 11?”

          (I’ve never seen such a precise ranking. It’s a top-26 comment on this article.)

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        • Ben says:

          The Rays would not be doing it for this season. They’d be doing it for the additional 5 seasons they would have Taveras, and the additional 6 seasons they’d have the filler prospect or two, and the additional 4-5 seasons they’d have Tyler Lyons, and the additional 5-6 seasons they’d have Greg Garcia. That’s between 20-28 seasons worth of players for 2-3 combined seasons of Price and Zobrist.

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  13. TJV says:

    Acquiring Zobrist wouldn’t necessarily block Wong, since he can play the outfield and even shortstop if needed.

    My only qualms with this article. If Wong could play SS, he would have been called up to do so in 2013.

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  14. SickRick says:

    Can’t see how Zobrist would make any difference to this swap… especially since he looks like toast thus far. I also thought the Rays would want a high filing arm or two in any Price deal.

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  15. Dave says:

    This makes a ton of sense for the Cards… with Price and the Zorilla, they instantly become the favorites in the NL.

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    • Andrew says:

      if Holliday, Craig, and Carpenter can get closer to last year, the Cardinals wont need to make a trade. The Cardinals have plenty of good bat pieces, but not the one star. You can’t really trade for that one star. Best bet is to find a 2B/3B option who doesn’t cost that much and hope for the best.

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  16. Bobby Melody says:

    Over last 39 PA Matt Adams- .342 OBA .816 SLG 5 HR

    My only complaint about him is he has only walked 6 times so far in 240 PA.

    Wonder if he will play tonight against a lefty?

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    • bdhudson says:

      Over last 39 PA*************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

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      • Well-Beered Englishman says:

        That was a lot of asterisks.

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        • A Real Lot of Asterisks says:

          ****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

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        • bdhudson says:

          It didn’t format like I had hoped. Apologies for making the page annoyingly wide.

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  17. bdsparty32 says:

    Dave, I’m surprised to hear you say that Price alone wouldn’t net the Rays a top tier prospect. If a proven ace pitcher with a year and a half of team control won’t get you a top tier prospect, then what will? I could definitely see Price being flipped for Taveras straight up.

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    • mario mendoza says:

      ” I could definitely see Price being flipped for Taveras straight up.”

      Wrong Missouri team.

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    • bdhudson says:

      Nobody wants to be the next version of the Myers deal.

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      • bdsparty32 says:

        True, and I guess his proximity to the Show is what will probably keep this deal from happening. But you’re telling me that if the Rays offered the Rangers Price for Gallo, Texas would say no?

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        • They would say yes, because Gallo entered 2014 as a #60-80 range prospect, while Taveras was top-3. Gallo is far from being a “top-tier prospect”.

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        • bdhudson says:

          That wasn’t what I was telling you at all. Murphy got it right, Gallo’s shot up some lists this year but he’s no Taveras or Myers/Odorizzi. If you were talking about an uninjured Profar, there might be something going there, but, he’s a Ranger, and therefore on life support.

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        • bdsparty32 says:

          Gallo is going to be in the top 10 on some mid-season lists though, I would say thats top tier

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        • arc says:

          Gallo’s stock has skyrocketed this season.

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        • tz says:

          Gallo has 67 HR in 647 AB the last year and a half in the minors. He’s 20 right now playing AA.

          At worst I say he’s the next Russell Branyan.

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        • bdhudson says:

          I’m aware of Gallo’s stock. I saw him play in Hickory and I’ve seen him in Frisco. He’s my favorite player in the Ranger’s system. However, Taveras is read to contribute now, and no matter what you think about Gallo’s trajectory, you cannot say that he is major league ready. The Rays aren’t in the habit of multi-year reloading plans – when they make a deal they expect it to help them now.

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        • bdsparty32 says:

          If they wanted to win now, they would hold Price. If they do deal Price and others, they are basically punting this year and 2015. If Gallo continues on his current pace, he will be in the MLB at some point next year, and be ready for a full time gig in 2016, when the Rays are reading to make another run. Now obviously this won’t happen because they have Longo, but I used Gallo as an example to show that Price alone should net them a top tier prospect. I honestly think he will be traded to the Mariners for Walker and Franklin.

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      • Mike says:

        The Myers deal isn’t looking too bad for the Royals at the moment. Myers couldn’t hit anything this year before he got injured, and is now on the DL for 2 months. Odorizzi has looked good at times, but is never going to be more than a 3 or 4 starter. Montgomery doesn’t look like he is going to make the majors any time soon, if ever.

        Shields has been Shields, and Wade Davis is currently one of the best relievers in baseball.

        Maybe Myers gets back to doing what he did last year and has several all star years with the Rays, and maybe Jake becomes a solid #3 starter for a few years. But those are 2 maybes, while KC has 2 guys excelling at the major league level. It is also possible that Myers turns into Delmon Young or Ben Grieve, and Jake flames out and becomes a long reliever. Prospects, even top prospects, have some uncertainty, and I think this discussion evidences how much prospects have become overvalued in baseball.

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        • paperlions says:

          Except that the Royals would have been as good last year and this one with Odo and Myers on the team instead of Shields and Davis….AND they would STILL have Odo and Myers on the team (and cheaply) AFTER this year instead of having just Davis.

          The trade didn’t work in the short term and it is a horrible one in the long term.

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        • Shankbone says:

          Paperlions with a paper (thin) argument. Shields gelled that pitching staff. They would NOT be winning without him. And you have no idea how Myers/Jake O will work out. And the Royals will either re-sign Shields or get a draft pick for him. After they get done having a fun season, tasting sweet victory.

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        • Bip says:

          Shields gelled that pitching staff.

          Explain what this means and give some evidence that it’s true.

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        • Ken "Rawk-Hawk" Harrelson says:

          @Bip

          #TWTW…All the evidence you could ever need

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        • Shankbone says:

          Bip the evidence guy… When you go from Bruce Chen starting 34 games to James Shields, you’ll have better results. Everybody moves down a slot with him as the #1. And you can look up the stats yourself.

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        • Ruki Motomiya says:

          You mean Wil Myers with his -0.4 WAR? Odorizzi has been quite good by FIP/xFIP but his ERA is quite bad and he doesn’t seem to have huge luck indicators for why this is (BABIP, LOB% and HR/FB are all basically normal or better) and insight into him suggests his K rate will probably not last, due to a large part of it being tied in iffier parts of strikeouts (Foul balls and called punchouts).

          You can argue they’re better for the future with Myers + Odo, but Shields + Davis combine for 2.7 WAR to Odorizzi + Myers’ 1.9 with almost all of that from Odorizzi. In addition, they are the top competitirs against the Tigers in a year the Tigers have looked to have some pretty big vulnearabilities in them.

          The theory behind the trade was sound (Go for it before Gordon + Butler, who at the time was looking really good, leave) and while they aren’t the Athletics in W/L they’re executing fairly well.

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        • Wobatus says:

          8.9 WAR to 4.6 WAR for Shields/Davis to Odorizzi/Myers for 2013-14. It’ll sting by next year. Wasn’t quite enough for last year and may not be this year, although they’ve been pretty good over their last calendar year. Moose never came around, Hosmer and Butler fell back big time.

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        • Bip says:

          When you go from Bruce Chen starting 34 games to James Shields, you’ll have better results.

          This is true, but I don’t see how it relates to what you said.

          Everybody moves down a slot with him as the #1.

          What slots? The same guys are getting the same number of starts.

          And you can look up the stats yourself.

          What should I see? That Shields performed better than Chen, thus improving the staff overall, or that the other pitchers on the staff improved with Shields in the rotation? Because the latter is a case of mistaking correlation for causation.

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  18. Drew J says:

    This article way, way underestimated the value of Zobrist and Price. There is no chance that Taveras and a couple of minor pieces is going to get BOTH of them.. The Rays are set at outfield, and while they’d love to get Taveras, they’re fine without him. If the Cards want both, it’s going to take Taveras plus Kaminsky plus two lower level, high upside guys at the very minimum. For Price alone I can see the Cards not wanting to include Taveras, but 2/3 of Kaminsky, Gonzalez, Wacha, and Martinez would be necessary, plus one low level upside guy and a project type player.

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    • mario mendoza says:

      …you DO know that Zobrist is toast, right?

      How does he tip the scale from Taveras>Price to Taveras + 2 good pitchers = Price + Zobrist.

      And the fact that you even mentioned Wacha… wow.

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      • Andrew says:

        if the Rays could get Taveras and even ONE of those pitchers for Price, they couldn’t care less about “one low level upside guy and a project type player”

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      • Atreyu Jones says:

        Why do you think Zobrist is toast?

        He certainly has positive trade value.

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        • Dan Greer says:

          I initially read your name as “Andruw Jones,” who certainly knows a thing or two about toast.

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      • Baltar says:

        If the Rays had 6 more pieces of toast like Zobrist, they would be closer to 1st place than last.

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      • Drew J says:

        The trades I presented were very reasonable. The Rays get max value for all their players, and getting Taveras and Kaminsky for Price AND Zobrist is more than reasonable. As far as Zobrist being a piece of toast… that’s just not true. Is he the same guy who hit 25+ homers? No. But he hits (bit of a slump this year admittedly), plays everywhere, and plays great defense. Seems pretty valuable to me.

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    • Sam says:

      I have a feeling that if you were a real-life GM you would set some sort of record for having other GMs hang up on you and then block your calls.

      Zorilla’s value is very minimal at this point. I’m sorry that you’re just learning this.

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  19. Corey says:

    As a Cardinals fan who has seen Mozeliak operate, there is no way he gives up Taveras. The only prospects he ever seems to trade are guys the team is not a big fan of, such as Brett Wallace. He has historically been more willing to deal from the big league roster. I could see him making a separate deal where he trades Craig to another team which makes Taveras the right fielder. Then using what he gets for Craig and other pieces (such as Randal Grichuk) to try and land a starter if he determines it is necessary. With Carlos Martinez, Joe Kelly, Tyler Lyons, etc. I would be surprised to see him make a huge move.

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    • Bip says:

      Trading amazing prospects is very risky business. The guy who trades Taveras could be the guy who is responsible for a whole generation of fans growing up wondering “what if?” Basically imagine Dodger fans and Pedro Martinez.

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  20. olethros says:

    Wow, this is the Tulo for everyone in the farm system conversation from last winter all over again. Taveras for Price doesn’t make sense, because as mentioned above, pitching is not the Cardinals area of need. Hitting is.

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    • Brian says:

      I think the point of the article is that, with the recent losses of Garcia and Wacha, pitching may well be an area of need for the Cardinals. What’s more, a run saved is equal to a run scored. Even if we presume full health for Wacha soon (i.e., even if we remove pitching as an “area of need”), a rotation of Wainwright-Price-Wacha-Lynn-Miller/Kelly/etc. would make up for a LOT of poor hitting.

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  21. JeremyR says:

    Trades like this are how GMs get fired. Giving up a potential superstar for a rental of a player who used to be good, but is fading.

    This is one of the big dangers and I would say fallacies of FIP. It just judges pitchers on their strike outs, ignoring what sort of contact they give up.

    But not all contact is bad. Yes, sometimes the defense won’t reach a ball, but more often than not, a ground ball is an out. Price isn’t giving up many ground balls. He’s giving up a lot of line drives and fly balls. Some would say he’s just “unlucky”, but all those line drives and fly balls are why he’s giving up so many hits and so many home runs. Not bad “luck”

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    • Bip says:

      Price’s batted ball distributions are about the same as they have always been. His line drive rate actually dropped 3% from last year to this year, and his ground ball rate is virtually the same as it has always been, except for an odd spike in 2012.

      You’re talking about a pitcher who is striking out more batters than he ever has while walking fewer than he ever has. Hardly fading.

      There are many resources on this site that explain why your argument is shaky, but to sum them up: how often a batted ball goes for a hit is usually not much within a pitcher’s control. It is also the type of thing that routinely varies from year to year, without saying anything meaningful about the pitcher. The fact that Price has given up a high BABIP says nearly nothing about whether he will continue to do so.

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    • bdsparty32 says:

      “used to be good, but is fading.”

      are we talking about the same David Price?

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    • Jordan says:

      This is just completely wrong and not true at all to put it nicely.

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  22. Ghost of Bing Devine says:

    “Additionally, Price fits the Cardinals window pretty well. While this is a team with some good young players, the Cardinals core is mostly on the wrong side of 30. … This team is a contender this year, and will be again next year, but there is going to be a bridge-year (or two) coming, where the team has to shift away from their current stars and transition into a new era.”

    This is why they *shouldn’t* make this trade. That transition would be a whole lot easier with Oscar Tavares than without him. The Cards don’t do win-at-all-cost trades because a) given their division they are in contention every year, so selling out for that one shot isn’t necessary; b) that’s a silly way to run a team, which is why organizations like Kansas City and Pittsburgh and Milwaukee are the ones that try it.

    Even this year I wouldn’t rely on both of Holliday and Craig to remain healthy and/or effective so Tavares may be needed. (Unlike SP, the Cards don’t go 8-10 deep in power-hitting corner outfielders.) If they do stay healthy the 2-win improvement that Price would give you over Kelly (say) could probably be made up just as easily by playing Tavares every day and platooning Craig and Adams. PLUS you’re not paying Price prorated $14mn this year and probably $20mn next year. PLUS you keep Tavares for another 5 years. PLUS you’re not depending on a pitcher who looked hurt earlier this year to stay healthy and deliver max value.

    A more sensible deal is a smaller one for Zobrist headlined by guys like Piscotty or Kaminsky. Not sure if TB is interested in that but the Cards should be.

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    • Ben says:

      I would agree. The core of this team moving forward is much more likely to be:

      1B – Adamsm, 25 years old
      2B – Wong, 23
      3B – Carpenter, 28
      INF – Garcia, 24
      CF – Bourjos, 27 and Jay, 29
      RF – Taveras, 22
      OF – Grichuk, 22

      P – Lynn, 27
      P – Miller, 23
      P – Wacha, 22
      P – Garcia, 27
      P – Martinez, 22
      P – Kelly, 26
      P – Rosenthal, 24
      P – Lyons, 26
      P – Siegrist, 24

      Rather than that 30+ group – and in the near future, if not now.

      That doesn’t mention Gonzales, Piscotty, Kaminsky, Cooney, Stoppelman, Petrick, or other guys under 25 high on prospect lists.

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  23. Spit Ball says:

    Price should be a frontline starter in the NL over the next 5-6 years. I really think the Cubs are not that far off. It’s a tough division with the talent in St. Louis, Pitt, Cici and we have seen what the Brewers have done this year. The Cubs obviously have some offensive mojo on the way and C.J. Edwards looks good. I could see the Cubs trading Samardziga to the Rays for Stroman+Sanchez+young A prospect. They could then turn around and ship Stroman+Sanchez+Baez/Alcantra to the Rays for Price given he will sign with the Cubs long term. The Cubs would still have plenty of plus offensive prospects plus CJ Edwards on the way. Plus the Cubs would definitely have an NL number 1. The Cubs have to make a move at some point here and I think this is it. The Cubs are one of the few teams in the NL that have the pocket change to lock him up. Just a thought, he’d be the face of the franchise.

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    • Eric says:

      why in the world would the Jays trade Stroman+Sanchez++ for a year and a year and a half of Samardzija. That’s practically zero sum.

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    • Stan Gable says:

      If Toronto traded Marcus Stroman, then they’d be subtracting from the major league rotation in a pennant race. Doubtful to say the least.

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      • Spit Ball says:

        Good point on Stroman/Sanchez but my point stands. It doesn’t even have to be the Jays, could be some other team for Shark. My point is the Cubs could flip whatever they get for Samardziga and supplement it in a deal for Price. The Rays could even let the Cubs now who they want from another team knowing Baez/Alcantra will be the additional piece to get Price. Not a Cubs fan, the whole thing just seems like something Friedman would angle for and I think Price would fit well with the Cubs going forward.

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  24. BMarkham says:

    This is an interesting trade from the Cardinals perspective but I just don’t see them doing it. You mention Price and Zobrist could be worth as much as 10 WAR over the next 1.5 years. Well, Taveras could be worth much more than that in his six years. Sure, discount that to net present value but the Cardinals don’t like windows, they like to be in contention every year. In that sense this trade just isn’t their style. The offense is aging and Taveras is a potential batting champ with 20+ HR/year power. Compare that to the mess that Craig looks like this year (in RF and at the plate) and I have a real hard time taking Taveras out of the picture.

    The Cardinals have been serious about drafting and developing guys because they want to play them, not trade them. Also Mo isn’t the type to make a desperate trade, witness last year where they went to the World Series with replacement level production from SS and 3B.

    I wouldn’t be interested in Price because Friedman is too smart. I’d rather try to underpay RAJ for Lee or someone like that.

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    • BMarkham says:

      Also wanted to add that to me a Price trade is less appealing to the Cards without Wacha and Garcia than with. A rotation of Waino-Price-Wacha-Lynn-Garcia (with Miller and Martinez as injury stand-ins) would be sick, and would make 4.5 games feel pretty easy to make up. A top 3 of Waino-Price-Wacha would be even more sick, and would match up well with ANY playoff rotation. Most my interest in Price comes from seeing that 3-headed beast in action.

      I think if Wacha went down for the season it would make the Cards even more hesitant to trade any prospects in the name of the 2014 season. Between losing a very strong number 2 (2.79/2.97/3.44 ERA/FIP/xFIP in 155 innings in the majors for 2.9 WAR) and already being back 4.5 games to a Brewers team that is looking more and more real, why would the Cardinals gamble a good chunk of future value on this season? No, I think they’d just make minor moves and hope to either come back against the Brewers with what they already got or hope to win a wild card game and back into an NLDS that way. And they already have an ace for the Wild Card game should it come to that. I guess it would be nice to then have another ace that could then pitch 1 and 5 of a NLDS but that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves.

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  25. Jeffrey.lage@gmail.com says:

    Viva la birdos sees a comparable offer to cc, lee, and Jimenez deals as either

    A)

    Piscotty, Kandinsky, Garcia and Jenkins

    Or

    B)

    Reyes, Gonzales, grichuk

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  26. Jeffrey.lage@gmail.com says:

    I just can’t see moz giving up Martinez, Taveras, Wong type of players for price.

    I can see some of the lower level guys, but price just isn’t enough of a need for a team that is, and should remain in contention.

    With the cards farm and young talent, I’m not seeing the window Dave is alluding to here. A few good veterans doesn’t mean a team has a limited window

    I can see the cards offering up someone like kaminsky, plus for a guy like zobrist though.

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  27. Mike says:

    Bottom line is there is no way that Friedman trades Price for less than what he got for Garza (Archer, Guyer, Fuld, Lee, Chirinos) or Shields (Myers, Odo, Montgomery). The deal would have to be a lot sweeter than what you suggest for the Rays to pull the trigger, and there better be some quality low level arms involved.

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    • Stan Gable says:

      Agreed fully. Recent history makes this all but a certainty really if David Price is, in fact, moved.

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  28. Ctownboy says:

    IF the Cardinals need pitching then why not wait for Cliff Lee to come back from the DL and show he is healthy and for the Phillies to go into the tank?

    If the Cardinals need offensive help then why not buy low on Mike Moustakas? The Royals have already demoted him once and seem to have given up on him. Meanwhile, the Cardinals production at second base and off the bench hasn’t been anything great. So maybe a change of scenery would help Moustakas.

    For those who don’t like this idea, which Cardinals’ team is better; Carpenter at third, Wong at second with Ells and Descalso on the bench OR Moustakas at third, Carpenter at second with Wong and Ellis on the bench?

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    • Ben says:

      The first one is better right now offensively. I see a lot more in Wong/Ellis/Descalso than Moustakas right now. This is from someone who lives in KC and watches Royals games as much as my home town Cardinals.

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  29. Ctownboy says:

    Thinking about it more, if the Cardinals think they need a pitcher and don’t want to give up the farm for one then why not go after Bartolo Colon?

    He eats innings (among other things), doesn’t walk very many hitters and has been on winning teams in the past.

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  30. g-bleue says:

    You want Price-Zobrist-Molina is nothing less than Taveras-Martinez-Grichuk

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