More smoke on the Cubs-really-want-David-Price fire …
An anonymous GM told Jon Heyman that Tampa Bay lefty Matt Moore “will be Tampa’s No. 1 starter once they trade [David] Price (to the Cubs or Rangers).”
Price, who has previously been connected to the Cubs, has two more years of arbitration left with the Rays after 2013, a season in which he’ll make $10.11 million. For that reason, everyone around the game believes the Rays will shop Price heavily after this season, understanding that they could get a huge haul for him, and that he’s going to be very expensive for the next two years. If the Rays do shop Price after the season, there is a 0% chance that the Cubs won’t at least be involved in those discussions.
It’s still so very early, but if you’re hoping the Cubs have a serious chance of landing Price, here are the things you want to hope for:
(1) The Rays stay in the race through July, and aren’t compelled to deal Price at the Trade Deadline. If they do shop Price in July, the Cubs are likely to be at a disadvantage when compared to other teams. That’s because, if the Cubs are themselves sellers, Price will not offer as much value to the Cubs as he would to a team going for the playoffs this year – to the Cubs, Price would be worth the 2014 and 2015 seasons, only; but to other teams, he also provides the value of a 2013 playoff push. That’s a huge difference. Thus, other teams will be willing to pay more for Price in July than would the Cubs, in all likelihood. Yes, the Cubs could still pony up, but we’re talking about what you should be hoping for. (Edit : And, yes, thanks to Butch in the comments for the note – if we’re hoping for things, we might as well hope the Cubs are in the race come July.)
(2) Price has a good, but not great 2013 season. This one is pretty self-explanatory. You don’t want him to fall off of a cliff, but the better he pitches, the higher the price goes.
(3) The Rangers deal Jurickson Profar before Price is traded, or deal a player or two on the big league roster that open up an obvious long-term spot for Profar. If the bidding came down to the Cubs and Rangers, it seems pretty clear that Profar would be the difference maker in the negotiations – if the Rangers are willing to include him in a deal for Price, it’s game over for the Cubs. If he’s no longer on the Rangers, or is no longer a tradable piece, that’s good news for the Cubs.
(4) A bunch of Cubs prospects take huge leaps forward this year. Once again, this is pretty self-explanatory. A package for Price is necessarily going to require at least three or four of an organization’s top 10 prospects, and more than one of those prospects is going to be a top 100 overall type. If I’m the Rays, and everyone still looks good after this season, my demand starts with two of the Javier Baez/Jorge Soler/Albert Almora trio. And I’m probably asking for Dan Vogelbach and someone like Pierce Johnson, too. I’m not saying the Rays will get that, but that’s where the conversation starts.
Normally I don’t like to play the “let’s talk about trades six months in advance” game, but Price to the Cubs still does make as much sense as any other blockbuster of which you could conceive for the post-2013 offseason. He’s going to be on the block, the Cubs are going to be in the market for an ace, and the Cubs will theoretically have the prospects to make a deal.
That said, Price to several other teams makes as much sense as does Price to the Cubs. There’s only one Price to go around. Keep that in mind.