FG on Fox: Why David Price Might Get Traded Twice

While the trade deadline in recent years has proven anticlimactic and at times outright boring, this year is going to be different. This year, the best pitcher moved at the deadline won’t be Jake Peavy or Matt Garza. With no offense intended to either, neither one is a real frontline arm like the crown jewel of this summer’s trade season: Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price.

With the Rays all but officially out of playoff contention — they currently hold just a 1.7% chance of reaching the postseason — it’s essentially a guarantee that Price will be moved before the trade deadline. And Price is going to be the best pitcher traded mid-season in years.

Sure, Zack Greinke was dealt from Milwaukee to Anaheim in 2012, but Greinke wasn’t quite at the level that Price has established over the last few years. Not only has he been one of the game’s best pitchers, but Price has done it in the AL East, and while the division might not be what it once was, teams won’t have to worry about whether Price can handle pitching against the best hitters in the American League. Left-handed #1 starters don’t hit the market very often, and Price even comes with an extra bonus; he’s not an impending free agent.

Often, players of this caliber are only traded with a few months to go before they reach free agency. Greinke was shipped from Milwaueke to Anaheim with just a few months left on his contract, for instance, and the mid-summer market is often flooded with rentals who will only be around for half a season. Price, however, won’t be a free agent until after the 2015 season, and so any team acquiring his rights won’t just get him for this playoff race, but for next year as well. And that extra year of team control is going to allow the Rays to ask for the moon.

If your favorite team wants to acquire David Price this summer, I hope you’re not too attached to any or all of their best young players, because the Rays are going to demand a king’s ransom in exchange for a year-and-a-half of Price’s services. But there’s a catch, and it’s one of the reasons why the Rays didn’t accept of the offers they received for Price over the off-season. While any team that acquires him will own his rights for 2015, the arbitration process has ensured that a large percentage of teams wouldn’t be able to afford him next year anyway.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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tz
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tz
2 years 2 months ago

The Rays probably know they won’t get comparable value for Price, and they’ll probably hold onto him as a result.

Especially based on how the last two AL East cellar-dwellers did next season. This team’s not fundamentally way worse than the one that was expected to contend this year.

John C
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John C
2 years 2 months ago

I bet he goes to Oakland. The A’s will rent him for 2014, then Beane will flip him for more prospects after the season. He wants to bring a championship to Oakland while the team can still afford the current core of the roster, and having David Price for October will help a lot.

AK7007
Member
AK7007
2 years 2 months ago

To use your example, I’m not totally buying that a team like the A’s would avoid a 1yr/20 deal for Price. They seem to have so totally embraced the “no such thing as a bad 1yr deal” philosophy, that I could see them try to swing it. Last year, they had a payroll of 60ish million, and jumped that to 80ish this year. They have done this once before, and then dropped down to 60ish again the next year (2007 high, rebuilt before the 2008 season). So I’m not so sure they could do it again and stay at 80ish million. But if they do, Price could fit in considering the impending free agency departure of Johnson + various relievers and infielders after the 2014 season.

Cots contract info: https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tfsGfyq6KIc3zP01PEsy-Kw&output=html

I guess the question is, are we discounting the value of a one-year deal too highly, even if that one year is at 20 million?

hittfamily
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hittfamily
2 years 2 months ago

I agree, if Price was a free agent, they’d love to give him a 1 /20 mil deal. However, I doubt Beane gives up his 3 best prospects to pay that contract.

Tim A
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Tim A
2 years 2 months ago

I could see the A’s being willing to talk if the deal didn’t include Russel. I could see Oak giving a 5-1 or 6-1 deal, of mid lv prospects for him, then unloading him in the offseason to re-up since they have several starters returning. I could see Beane making this type of play, and breaking even on players, since he could have many more suiters in the winter, and might not have a ton of competition right now. The main problem with this is Addi is untouchable with Lowrie FA, and I just don’t know if they have what the Rays want to make it happen.

hittfamily
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hittfamily
2 years 2 months ago

“a large percentage of teams wouldn’t be able to afford him next year anyway.”

At least they will claim they can’t. There is no reason why the Rays should not be #30 in team payroll. They are If the Rays can afford an $82 million payroll, then everybody else should at least be at 95, with no exceptions. And yet 14 teams, many expecting to compete, are below 95 mil. The Rays should have a bidding war between the Marlins, Pirates, Mariners and Royals, but instead it will likely be between the 2 LA teams.

Mets fans: Your payroll is 1 league minimum salary from being behind the Rays. I am not in favor of a salary cap. Rather, I think there should be a salary threshold.

Sawxin6
Guest
Sawxin6
2 years 2 months ago

David Price can get you to the playoffs. But you better slot him at #3 when you get there.

Come playoff time, he turns into Wade Davis: Great in the pen, awful starter.
2010: 12.2 IP, 17 hits, 1.34 WHIP, 4.97 ERA
2011: 6.2 IP, 7 hits, 1.20 WHIP, 4.05 ERA
2013: 7 IP, 9 hits, 1.57 WHIP, 9.00 ERA

Anyone remember the magical game 162 in 2011? Dan Johnson’s 2 out 9th inning game tying homerun? Longo’s walkoff in the 12th? The greatest day in MLB regular season history? None of that would have been possible without David Price, coming up big in crunch time once again: 4 innings, 6 hits, 3 walks, 6 runs.

Small sample size or not, some guys have it in big moments, and some guys don’t.

Babyspittle
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

clutch factor is my favorite stat too

Sawxin6
Guest
Sawxin6
2 years 2 months ago

I don’t like the argument either, but you do it enough over multiple seasons, and it becomes true, small sample size be damned. His last 3 huge starts: Shellacked by the Yanks in game 162 for 6 runs in 4 innings. Then Cleveland in game 163, he did great, allowing 2 runs in a complete game. The his start in Boston: 7 innings, 7 runs. He’s allowed 6 runs or more in 2 of his last 3 big game starts.

We put him in the same league as Kershaw, Felix, and Verlander (prior to 2014). How often do they give up 6 runs? I’m sure they have (I’m not going to look it up), but I doubt they did it 2 out of 3 times when the world was watching.

Dan Johnson has 6 career walkoff homeruns in his MLB career. There is a reason the smartest manager in baseball pinch hit him (with a .108 batting average) with 2 outs in the ninth. “Clutchiness” may not be quantifiable, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Will
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Will
2 years 2 months ago

Sawxin6: Small Sample Size be damned

Anyone with intro level knowledge of Statistics: No

Sawxin6
Guest
Sawxin6
2 years 2 months ago

I shouldn’t have said that. Obviously, the larger the sample, the more accurate the reading. We can’t get a large sample for starting pitchers in the post season though, as they will only make a maximum of 6 starts in any post season, and that’s assuming 2 starts per series and his team makes the world series. Most good players only make the post season a few times in their career. Even fewer make it all the way to 6 starts in any post season.

What I should have said is “in 6 seasons in the majors, David Price never allowed 6 runs or more in 2 out of 3 starts. However, the exception is when the games counted more than his regular season starts”. Is 6 years enough?

In college, I could chug a beer when no one was looking. I’d puke all over myself everytime in a chugging contest though. David Price pukes when in a chugging contest.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
2 years 2 months ago

The Tigers or Angels might try to acquire Price just to keep him out of the hands of the A’s. A Price-led A’s team would be hard to stop, and that is an understatement.

Tim A
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Tim A
2 years 2 months ago

Yeah Price, Gray, Kazmir, with Chavez Pom as long guys would be kinda scary.

hittfamily
Guest
hittfamily
2 years 2 months ago

I’d put the A’s chances of getting Price below the Astro’s chances of getting Price. It’s not the money either, it’s that they’d have to decimate their farm system to get him.

Billy Beane is too smart to give up his top future talent to add an extra 2 wins to this team’s win total.

tz
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tz
2 years 2 months ago

But he might bid him up anyway just to force his rivals hands. Then he can snag Samardzija as an affordable rental.

hittfamily
Guest
hittfamily
2 years 2 months ago

The A’s best prospect is a, Addison Russel, is a middle infielder. The A’s biggest need now and in the future is middle infield. In order to get Price or Samardzja, you can’t start with your second best prospect. Especially the A’ssecond best prospect, who isn’t very good. McKinney is stinkin up the joint in A-ball, Alcantrera just had Tommy John surgery, and Ynoa is repeating A-ball after getting lit up for an ERA over 7 last year. A 22 year old repeating A-ball is never good. What’s even worse is that his ERA is still over 5. Even worse, is that he has now been converted to a reliever. Combine this with the fact that he’s already had TJ surgery, and he’s now a non-prospect.

The Mariner’s wouldn’t include Walker, BA’s 11th rated prospect, so the Rays declined the deal in the offseason. Without Russel, the A’s have nothing to offer the Rays, and the A’s won’t be including Russel in the deal.

Tim A
Guest
Tim A
2 years 2 months ago

The A’s move would be trade whatever non Addi package the Rays want now, and flip him in the offseason to re-coup the prospects since they will have more starters next year with griffen parker returning, and could maybe score a starter when they deal him again.

John C
Guest
John C
2 years 2 months ago

Would he, though, if it meant adding two extra wins to the team’s October total? I can think of a LOT of times that Billy Beane really could have used two more wins in October…

Plus, he could just flip him in December for someone else’s top prospects, and Beane is very confident in his ability to sniff out talent in trades.

Go Nats
Guest
Go Nats
2 years 2 months ago

Price gets a couple of World Series wins and he is worth more than he is right now!

BigSteve
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BigSteve
2 years 2 months ago

The Cardinals seem like a likely destination to me. They have a huge glut of outfielders and a decent glut of young arms. They also have the financial flexibility to absorb that salary. Another front line starter would be one of the less complicated ways to improve their roster for the playoffs.

johnnytwotimes
Guest
johnnytwotimes
2 years 2 months ago

yes, this is one of the only teams that makes sense and can meet all criteria

Mark L
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Mark L
2 years 2 months ago

Agreed – they could lose two of Grichuk, Bourjos, Jay, and Craig, and still have enough outfielders.

Sawxin6
Guest
Sawxin6
2 years 2 months ago

John Jay? Allen Craig? Peter Bourjos?

Why not throw in Shane Robinson if we are trading Price for a bunch of scrubs. Jay stinks (think that .370 BABIP is holding up all year?). Bourjos is always hurt, and carries a pretty light stick (plus Kiermaier probably equals his defense, if they want a defense only CF). Plus Kiermaier doesn’t strike out 30% of the time. Craig is a massive defensive liability and hasn’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag through 300 PA this season (with a not so small contract).

The Rays are loaded in the outfield. Who of the 5 gets bumped for Craig, Bourjos, or John Jay: Myers, Jennings, Dejesus (7 mil salary, currently a much better player than any), Loney (in the case of Craig), Kiermaier (defensive marvel, hitting very well)? This doesn’t even include Matt Joyce and Brandon Guyer.

It starts with Tavaras and likely includes Shelby Miller, plus a few more low level prospects if David’s going to St Louis. Not a bunch of hand-me-downs. Price is a top 10 pitcher with 50 starts left, not Matt Garza with 15 left. I love rosterbating with the best of them, but at least be serious in what the Rays will expect in return.

Johnnytwotimes
Guest
Johnnytwotimes
2 years 2 months ago

Taveras and Miller plus? Please, pass over whatever you’re smoking.

BigSteve
Guest
BigSteve
2 years 2 months ago

As with most things it would take something in between the two extremes suggested in this thread. Two of those outfielders listed would be a non-starter from the Rays perspective and the Cardinals would laugh the Rays out of the room if they asked for Taveras and Miller (unless the Cardinals question Miller’s long term viability). Taveras and non top 100 prospects, maybe Tyrell Jenkins, would get this done. Or two good non-Taveras players like Adams and Marco Gonzalez or Piscotty and Carlos Martinez. Offers like that would give a mix of upside and certainty, that the Rays would want, without the Cardinals completely mortgaging their future for the right to pay someone $20 Million.

Sawxin6
Guest
Sawxin6
2 years 2 months ago

I don’t think he’s WORTH Tavares and Miller, but I’m just going by past trades, and what the Rays will expect. Even taking the Myers deal out (which I don’t think is entirely fair seeing as how Dayton got exactly what he wanted out of it, {they are in first place}). Garza netted Olt, a BA top 100 for half a season of Garza. Beltran got the Mets Wheeler, a BA top 100 prospect. The Jays gave up their #1 and #3 in D’Arnaud and Syndergaard to get 42 year old Dickey. 2 years of Greinke got the Royals the Brewers’ top 2 prospects in Alcides Escobar and Jake Odorizzi + others. The Brewers then sold a half a season of Greinke for Segura, the Angels’ top prospect.

Now none of these players, with the exception of maybe Greinke is in Price’s league. None with the excpetion of Greinke the first time around came with more than 1 year of control. The bottom line is, your best prospect will be required to get him for half a season. The fact that he has another year at a discounted rate, makes him immensely valuable.

If the tables were turned, and Wainwright was made available, making 13 mil this year and 16-17 mil next year, would you accept a trade of your choice of 2 of the following 3 : Sean Rodriguez, Matt Joyce, or James Loney? That’s essentially the Bourjos, Craig, Jay proposal.

The Rays want an MLB ready arm, and I don’t see one in the Cards farm. It has to be Miller or Wacha, and I don’t think the Cards are parting with Wacha.

Swfcdan
Guest
Swfcdan
2 years 2 months ago

What I said below.

MrKnowNothing
Guest
MrKnowNothing
2 years 2 months ago

Good farm system. Needs pitching. If the money could work, the Pirates fit nicely.

Tim
Guest
Tim
2 years 2 months ago

I thought this was going to be a prediction of Price being traded to the Islanders.

NoSarcasmFontDetected
Guest
NoSarcasmFontDetected
2 years 2 months ago

Wrong sport pal.

Swfcdan
Guest
Swfcdan
2 years 2 months ago

Think a deal centered around Price for Oscar and x could happen? The Cards really don’t need Oscar right now.

Sawxin6
Guest
Sawxin6
2 years 2 months ago

I think it will come down to whoever includes more for their best outfield prospect: the Dodgers and Pederson, or the Cards and Oscar. It’s going to take either of the 2 to get him, and likely their best pitching prospect as well.

Swfcdan
Guest
Swfcdan
2 years 2 months ago

Forgot about Joc, yeah that’s a likely scenario.

NoSarcasmFontDetected
Guest
NoSarcasmFontDetected
2 years 2 months ago

Not gonna see action this year or next.

Johnnytwotimes
Guest
Johnnytwotimes
2 years 2 months ago

You Rays homers are priceless (no pun intended)! Cards don’t need Taveras so why not just trade a consensus top 5 prospect in baseball? Hey, you guys want Wacha too? How ’bout the whole farm system? Cards don’t need those this year either.

jdbolick
Member
Member
2 years 2 months ago

There’s a potentially interesting angle here as well in terms of selling high on prospects you don’t love as much as the market does, although I suppose there is a natural inclination to love your prospects more than anyone else does. I was cooler than almost anyone on Archie Bradley and Taijuan Walker, two prospects bandied about in off-season Price discussions. In theory those teams could have used arguably overvalued prospects to acquire Price and then flipped him after this season for undervalued prospects from someone else.

Aaron Sanchez is a prospect I labeled grotesquely overrated that could be in play for Toronto except that his star has probably dimmed to the point that he wouldn’t be enough as a centerpiece for Price.

0975921553
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1 year 2 months ago

hihihi

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