Tampa Bay’s pitching ace David Price is on the market. The Rays are going nowhere this season and are looking to re-stock their organization with young players.
Buster Olney of ESPN is reporting the Rays are ready to trade Price “right now”. Clearly the Cardinals have a need for a starting pitcher with Jaime Garcia, Michael Wacha and Joe Kelly all on the disabled list. But the price tag for Price may be too high.
Price currently leads the major leagues with 133 strikeouts. He’s walked only 13 hitters. But his earned run average is nothing special at 3.81, and he’s given up more hits than he has innings pitched (116-115). Don’t get me wrong. David Price is an outstanding pitcher and any team would love to have him, including the Cardinals. But acquiring him via trade would likely be very costly. The Rays would no doubt ask for some combination of Oscar Taveras, Carlos Martinez and Matt Adams.
Price would add a lot of weight to the Cardinals payroll. He’s due the rest of his $14 million salary this year, and next year his salary could climb to $20 million. He’ll be a free agent after the 2015 season. He’ll be 30 years old after the 2015 season and will probably be looking for a new contract in the $100 million range for five years. The Cardinals aren’t likely to sign a pitcher of that age to that kind of deal. If the Cardinals make a trade for Price he’d probably only be here for a season and a half, and then sign elsewhere.
It certainly makes sense to talk with the Rays about Price. He could be the missing piece that puts the Cardinals over the top this season. Or, maybe not. He could come here and get hurt (like most every other starting pitcher on the staff) and not be much of a factor the rest of the way. Joe Kelly should be back in another week and may be capable of putting up similar numbers as Price.
I don’t think it makes much sense to part with Taveras, Martinez and/or Adams for pitcher of Price’s profile. If the Cardinals could assemble a lesser package of young players to rent Price for a year and a half then sure, why not? But they shouldn’t sacrifice multiple elite prospects for David Price.