david priceMore 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.

  • Yoga Master

    “Anonymous GM Says”
    I think Billie Beane is behind this fairy tales.

    • tony macaluso

      The Cubs are hitting .151 with runners in scoring position which last in all of baseball and 50 points lower than the 29th team. It would be amazing to have David Price at the front of our rotation but not at the cost of giving up our top hitters of the future.

      • demz

        there is absolutely no way we are giving up our big hitting prospects.

  • David

    There are a lot of maybes… MAYBE Baez, Soler& Almora will pan out and be impact players in the majors.

  • Eric

    The idea that the Cubs are going after price flies in the face of everything we think they are doing. Epstein has said he wants to build the core like a natural growing thing, I really doubt he’s gonna trade Almora, Baez, and Vogelbach in one fell swoop for a guy that’s about to get paid. Now he MIGHT trade one of those guys if there is a trade that nets us a near MLB ready player at a position of need. Say if another team needs a top SS prospect and has a top 3B or OF prospect they don’t need due to their MLB roster.

    • Gcheezpuff

      You are missing the point. Prospects are prospects until they succeed at the major league level. For every Mike Trout there are 20 Felix Pies. It is great to speculate on Beaz and Solar, but David Price is probably a top 5 pitcher in all of baseball. He is a true Ace that the Cubs would lock up for many many years to front the rotation (and yes, PAY). Look at all the hitting the Angels have and how thier season has gone so far. Pitching is the most important piece when building a winner. The Cubs should absolutely try to trade for Price even if that means Beaz, solar … And especially Vogelbach (who projects as a DH) Prospects are used in multiple ways.. Develop to play or trade for parts you need. The Cubs need an Ace and David Price is not only an Ace, but one of the best pitchers in all of baseball.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    The more I think about it, the more I think trading for Price is a bad idea. We need offense, not pitching…

    #1. Samardzija
    #2. Garza (if we extend him, it costs us zero prospects)
    #3. Wood (L)
    #4. Jackson [’14] Vizcaino [’15] Appel/Gray [’16]
    #5. Raley/Rusin/Jokisch/Kirk (L)

    Johnson, Maples, Underwood, Hendricks, Rhee, Beeler, Peralta, Scott.

    • On the Farm

      You are placing a lot of faith in Vizcaino who is coming back from a elbow injury (I think his future will be in the pen ultimately, but it is still early.) And guys like Appel/Gray, and all the guys listed on the bottom have not even seen a full season at AA. Raley/Rusin do have a pretty good shot at being #5 or a good lefty out of the pen (a la Marshall or Russell). It just seems like a lot of hope on young guys, when you can acquire a 28 year old CY young winner.

      • willis

        I think our pitching is and will be a strength. But, if Price is dangled and it doesn’t just blow the farm to hell, you take a shot. His arm could transform this rotation (and future rotation) from formidable to freaking awesome. And it all starts there.

        And I agree, don’t hold out Vizcaino hope. He’s recovering from serious elbow injuries and a Cub, that never works out. IF he ever pitches at this level for the Cubs, it’ll be as setup or closer. Not in the rotation.

        • YourResidentJag

          And if that’s the case, it makes this a TERRIBLE TRADE. Cubs should have kept Malholm and extended him instead of signing Jackson.

          • EuroCub

            I though that getting rid of Malholm who absolutely running over the opposition was the worst trade in a while by the Cubbies.

            And then we signed Jackson…

            • Oswego Chris

              It’s a bit early to give up on Jackson…but I sympathize with the Maholm frustration…one area where I think most GM’s make a mistake is that many pitchers don’t start ‘getting it’ until there late 20’s…

              The Cards have made a living off of this..Cris Carpenter didn’t become a good pitcher until 29…he helped win 2 titles…

              • MichiganGoat

                The Maholm trade is also too early to tell, if Vizcainocomes back from TJS and is a solid piece for the next five years it is a win for the Cubs. When trades involve prospects it really takes about five years before a true winner/loser is determined. As for Maholm’s success part of it may be due to now being a Brave, like the Cardinals, pitches thrive there.

                • Oswego Chris

                  Yeah…those teams just might have a bit to do with guys success…I don’t second- guess getting Vizcaino for Maholm…you are right Goat…way too early…

                  The Dempster saga just made the Braves thing a mess…

                  • MichiganGoat

                    Argh… Dempster & Braves- too early to have a beer

  • sven-erik312

    The Price is not right, forget him. Now that we are committed to developing our farm system, do we want to give up part of it for a guy they want to get rid of. No, Forget Price. When the farm system has depth from top to bottom, such a deal could be considered, but not now.

  • ssckelley

    I do not see any reasonable way for the Cubs to make a deal for Price. Honestly right now the starting pitching is not the reason why the Cubs are 10-15, it is the lack of consistent production from the offense and a spotty (at best) bullpen. Giving up the farm in order to acquire Price does not make a lot of sense at this point given what their weaknesses are.

    IMO, if you are going to give up the likes of Baez, Soler, Almora, and Vogelbach then the Cubs need to get someone along the lines of a Giancarlo Stanton in return. All this starting pitching does no good if they cannot score runs.

    • Cyranojoe

      Note that the bullpen’s had an ERA of 1.03 over the last 10 games of April.

      They’re not doing as badly as you’d think. And I bet if you take Camp out of those stats — much as I liked the guy last year and hope he rebounds soon — they’d be even better.

      • On the Farm

        I agree, guys like Russell, Bowden, and Rondon (although limited innings) are having very good seasons and Gregg has come out strong out of the gate.

      • On the Farm

        I should have said they are having good Aprils considering it is only about 20% of the season in the books

      • ssckelley

        I understand the bullpen has been better as of late but my main point is the lack of an offense as the main reason to not make this deal. Fixing the bullpen is the least of the Cubs worries right now, you don’t have to give up Baez, Almora, Soler, and Vogelbach in order to fix it.

        If the Cubs are going to give up their top prospects then go out and get someone who can help this offense.

    • On the Farm

      2007 Red Sox – Beckett and Wakefield
      2008 Phillies – Cole Hammels
      2009 Yankees – CC Sabathia
      2010 Giants – Lincecum and Cain
      2011 Cardinals – Carpenter
      2012 Giants – Cain

      What do all these teams have in common? The have bonifide aces and WS rings. Shark is 28 and is not a top 5 pitcher in baseball (which is what Beckett, Hammels, CC, Lincecum, and Cain all were in the year their team won). Batting gets you through the regular season, but once the playoffs start it has always been about pitching.

      • David

        Im with you, On the Farm.

      • ssckelley

        How about the 2012 Tampa Bay Rays? I can argue they had one of the best starting rotations in baseball last year with the mentioned Cy Young award winner David Price. But because they did not have the batting (as you mentioned) to get them through the season they did not even make the playoffs.

        Look if the Cubs were a David Price away from going to the World Series I would give up Baez, Almora, Soler, Vogelbach, my car, my house, my truck, my wi……….errr, you get what I mean.

        • On the Farm

          So trading away Baez (never played a professional game above A+), Almora (A-), and Vogelbach (A) is trading the farm? And Pierce Johnson is another player who has never pitched above A. Think about what you are saying, these guys haven’t proved themselves on the highest level and they are all at least two seasons from reaching the bigs on a full time basis.

          Even then they would be rookies, I think you are asking too much if you think a team that plays three rookies in the field to win a WS. I say pull a trigger for a proven player, is Price that guy? In my opinion he is, do I think Stanton could be that guy, maybe even more valuable than Price…… maybe, but as I said, its the pitching that gets you there. How many WS has Stanton played in?

          • ssckelley

            So you give up the farm to improve the 1 area the Cubs have actually been pretty decent this season? It isn’t about trading away the prospects, I understand the likely hood of any of them becoming a star is slim but my point is if you are going to give up all the top prospects then get something back that will improve the area the Cubs need the most help in, the offense. If the Cubs ever hope to make the playoffs and win the World Series they have to score more runs. If they get Price the prospects you had that might have improved the offense are now gone so that means the Cubs are down to improving the offense through free agency.

          • Capitol Cubbie

            I’m all for putting more emphasis on now than is common here, but I think the point is more “if we’re going to trade away our best prospects it should be for the right guy” than “we shouldn’t trade our prospects, period.”

            It’s impossible to deny that those three are among our best prospects regardless of level and so trading them would be to move some of our most valuable assets (“trading the farm”) which we could (a) let develop, (b) trade for the right guy, or (c) trade for the wrong guy.

            ssckelly makes a good point that using those assets to get Price, from this vantage point, looks like the wrong call. As of 4/30/13, our pitching (incl. a shaky bullpen) is top-ten league-wide in ERA (7th), WHIP (5th), and BAA (2nd!). If our OBP wasn’t 29th — even just league-average — we could probably contend for a wild card.

            So, should we use our assets to improve the area we’re already quite good at? Or should we use those assets to get better at an area of weakness (either by waiting on them to develop or by moving them for better hitters)?

            You could argue that our starting pitching has overperformed (I’d agree) and you could argue that dominant starting pitching is more important than dominant hitting (again we’d be on the same page). But to move some of our limited resources of high-value (and potentially-offensive) assets to make an area of strength even stronger gets us only marginally closer to the playoffs (where that strength, i.e. starting pitching, matters most). Our offense would remain anemic with even less hope, as resources we could spend (or develop) to improve that area are now gone.

            Then, the expenditure on Price bears little fruit — we still have limited success in his tenure because we score no runs in 2014 or 15 and by 2016 (taking as given that we have an advantage in re-signing him as part of our value from the trade) he’s 31 years old and with 1500 IP on his arm.

            All told, as exciting as it would be to have such a dominant pitcher in Cubbie blue, we’re probably better off making a different move.

            • Capitol Cubbie

              He says, 15 minutes after ssckelly had already made the point much more succinctly. (Sorry, was afk at times and didn’t refresh!)

            • ssckelley

              ^ I need to learn how to post like this. Exactly the point I was trying to make, I just suck at expressing it. 😀

            • Cyranojoe

              An excellent point, except…

              we’re talking about an ace pitcher. These guys don’t grow on trees, and as solid as our pitching has been, this guy’s better. As Brett often notes, you can only get the guys when they’re available. Miss out on Price now, we might not have many other opportunities (if any) to get another ace. Even if you think Shark is on the verge of breaking out into ace-quality, it’s hard to argue against having two aces on a staff. Many teams win WS on the strength of that.

              That’s not to say I disagree with you, or at least very strongly. Such a trade as has been proposed would wipe out a lot of the progress we’ve seen in the minors in terms of increasing the odds of producing quality hitters. Hard to imagine this team doing well without at least one more big bat, especially after Soriano goes.

              • Capitol Cubbie

                I think “ace pitcher” is somewhat overdone; it really only matters once you’re in the playoffs. I don’t think that Price alone gets us to the playoffs.

                Let’s say Price replaces Feldman and otherwise things are static. Feldman’s worst season is -1.2 bWAR; Price’s best is 6.9. That means that even in the most extreme situation, Price adds 8 wins.

                Our projections for this year have been what, 72-74 wins? Add Price and we hit .500 — and that’s assuming Price is Cy Young-caliber every year (he’s not; see that 2.8 WAR one year before getting CY) and whoever he’s replacing is sub-replacement level (hopefully not). A more realistic situation probably adds 4.8 bWAR (still very very good) over 0 bWAR, putting us at 77-79 wins after the deal.

                Of course, things don’t have to remain static — we can sign other players, we can deal more minor leaguers for hitters, our minor leaguers can improve the lineup. But (1) is cut down by increasing tendency of teams not to let players walk and a moneyball approach in our FO (especially constrained by Price’s high price tag); (2) is diminished when we ship a good portion of our best minor leaguers; (3) is diminished by same, not to mention our best players are still a few years out — i.e. they won’t be really valuable until Price is 30 (and likely no longer ace-caliber).

                Even though you have to grab players when they’re available, the timing here just isn’t right; what we’re grabbing today won’t be nearly as valuable when we need it, compounded by the fact that it will postpone the day when we need to add that very value.

            • On the Farm

              You guys keep hammering how we have good SP right now… The Cubs aren’t winning the WS right now, and they aren’t winning it next year. Price comes in a proven pitcher in the AL and a Cy Young to his name. Look at the current Cubs rotation and what do you see? Only Shark and Wood are under team control after two years. We would need journey man Carlos Villanueva to resign, we would need to resign Garza, and hope Shark and Wood continue to progress toward their peaks.

              Right now Villanueva is stranding an insanely high amount of base runners, that is bound to regress toward his career average. Shark has already started moving back to his last season average after a real good start. We keep assessing our needs by looking at our current Major league roster, in some aspects that works. For instance, we know that we have Castro and Rizzo under team control for the next 4+ years, so we don’t need to find a 1B or SS for a playoff run. We don’t have Garza, Villanueva, Scott Baker, or even Scott Feldman signed past 2015. Pretty soon we are going to have to spend on a SP again anyway, why not trade for one of the best?

              Since 2010 Stanton’s average WAR is 3.7. While Price has a WAR of 4.3. Pretty close to even, with Price being worth about a half of a win more than Stanton. (I am not sure what you were looking at but what I found had Price’s 2011 WAR as 4.3.) Another thing to take into account is that quality SP doesn’t hit the market very often. You have to acquire SP when you can get it because the odds are you can’t count on signing one every off season.

              • Kyle

                We also have Jackson under control for three more years.

                I don’t deny that starting pitching is a massive need. I do deny that we need to trade a massive haul of prospects for the priviledge of paying a pitcher hundreds of millions of dollars for his age 28 through late 30s seasons.

              • Capitol Cubbie

                Dude, you’re proving my point: “The Cubs aren’t winning the WS right now, and they aren’t winning it next year.”

                As I’ve said, I’m all for a more now-focused approach than most are content with taking (you have to get better today to be even better tomorrow), but why would we ship a large portion of our assets for a guy who will be going downhill — and getting increasingly expensive — by the time we’re a good team, and the cost of whose acquisition decreases the likelihood we are a good team at the time he would be useful.

                • Capitol Cubbie

                  (Where I differ from many BNers, though, is that I don’t think dealing prospects qua dealing prospects is bad; I just think we should use our assets to our benefit (by improving an area of massive weakness) rather than our detriment (by spending a lot for a relative little).)

            • jdblades

              Also, we would have Price for two years 2014-2015. I think we should wait until we have a team that is closer to making the post season. We need to be the sellers not the buyers right now.

      • Jed

        I’m sorry. Wakefield was a good pitcher, but is in no way, shape, or form a “bonafide ace.”

        • On the Farm

          Wakefield was a bit of a reach for ace I agree, but I included him in the names because he was a 17 game winner that season and had a pretty darn good postseason for the Sox and was a big part of why the won the title.

          • Featherstone

            Wakefield was bad in 2007. I have no idea where you are getting your information from.

            Wakefield 2007 Season:
            4.76 ERA 1.381 WHIP BB/9 3.0 SO/9 5.5

            Wakefield 2007 Post-Season
            9.64 ERA 4.2 IP

            Yes he won 17 games in the regular season and his 1 start in the post-season not because he was a good pitcher, but because Boston had a ridiculous offense behind him.

      • Kyle

        The definition of “Bona fide ace” in this case is sort of like “elite QB” or “elite goalie.” They get redefined pretty generously when someone wins the championship.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    what’s in the pipe for this pipe dream? It should be shared….. The Cubs have no semblance of a middle of the order and now we are right back to Jim Hendry mode of operation? Really?

    The concept of the day: The more things change the more they stay the same!

    • Nmints

      How effective is our offense going to be in Chicago in late October where temperatures are dipping down to the 40’s? Our offense is going to have to rely on timely and clutch hitting to go along with a small ball approach. The way to win a championship, especially in a climate like Chicago is through pitching and solid defense.

      I realize you have to have batters who are threats in a lineup. There is no way we can send someone like Luis Valbuena out there every day and expect him to be part of a championship lineup. At the same time we don’t need all-stars at every position to be on that elite level.

      Having a dominate rotation can cover up so many weaknesses in our bullpen and offense.

      • hansman1982

        We have had a dominant rotation thus far. We are 10-15.

        • willis

          Dominant is a little strong when you are running Feldman out there every 5th day and Jackson has been worse than his career stats. But, the rotation has been very good overall.

          • ssckelley

            Keep in mind Feldman would not even be in the rotation if Garza and Baker were healthy. Other than his defense, he has not been that bad for a 5th starter.

            • willis

              Maybe, but think about sliding a healthy Garza into that spot and EJax stepping up a little bit, now that’s a damn fine rotation.

  • BD

    I don’t think they will hold back just because they aren’t in it this year. If he’s available and they want him they’ll go hard aftee him.

    • BD


  • When the Music’s Over

    For those that continue to talk up Stanton as worth so much more than Price (given the health risk inherent in pitching), he’s beginning to look like an injury prone player. Nagging knee injuries, sore shoulders, pulled hamstrings. Could all be coincidental, though I’d be worried given he’s having all these issues in his early 20s.

    • ssckelley

      Obviously I would not suggest giving up the farm to trade for an injured player. Assuming the Marlins do not try and rush him back and allow his Hamstring to heal properly I would not mind seeing the Cubs go after Stanton. I doubt Stanton will be a Marlin next season.

    • Kyle

      He’s still a position player not yet entering his prime, which >>> a pitcher nearly exiting his.

    • King Jeff

      He’s not beginning to look that way, he’s been injury prone his whole career.

  • Die hard

    That source had to have been Theo to defuse any remaining aspersions about Cubs books

  • gutshot5820

    The Cubs will never trade their top position farm players for Price. If they trade their farm for Price and he gets injured, that will be the end of this franchise. They will not have the resources in the draft and existing players to overcome that scenario. Too much risk in putting all your eggs in one basket, when you don’t have a base to withstand injuries.

  • DarthHater


    Something seems to be wrong with the site. Every time I type “bleachernation.com” into my browser I get sent to the Foxnews politics chatboard. Please help!

  • Dustin S

    I just don’t really see the Cubs outbidding some other teams that have a greater need for Price. If we draft Appel or Gray and Garza comes back ok, the rotation will already effectively be at a surplus of 2 SPs (even completely writing off Baker). Granted Appel or Gray will need a year or so in the minors, but Rusin or others could fill that slot until whoever they draft is ready and the Cubs don’t expect to be contending before then anyway. It would seem silly to build a rotation to rival the 90’s Braves but not be able to score 3 runs a game.

    This team would benefit a whole lot more from adding a young strong offensive player than Price. I’m not sure what those potential names might be though. I’ll be curious to see what names start popping up on the hot stove as teams fall out of contention. Change the core of the lineup to Castro/Rizza/(? stud – sorry Soriano, not him)/Castillo and it starts to shape up a lot better.

  • David

    Awesome points by all “general managers”. Good points by all. Wonder what the data would show if there was a poll taken: Would you trade 3 top prospects for David Price? Brett, can you arrange???

  • macpete22

    I don’t give up Soler or Almora for Price. Baez, Vogelbach and anyone else not named Jorge or Albert.

  • Marc N.

    I once used to enjoy my small little head fantasy that the Cubs would land David Price come the time the Rays trade price.

    These rumors take all the fun out of it. Not enough prospects have broken out for this to mean anything. The Cubs definitely have the seeds on the farm to dream big dreams, but there’s no buds yet.

    • Marc N.

      trade Price.*

  • Bill

    Who said the starting pitchers were so good we didn’t need Price? Jackson has not pitched well and I’ll take Price even if it means trading away a few of the better prospects. Number one starters don’t come available very often. We can always trade away a guy like Wood or Villaneuva to pick up a bat or two.

  • Tim

    Brett said he’s not saying the rays get 2 out of the 3 of Baez soler and Almora that’s only where the conversations start. The rays would be stupid not to have their starting asking price be over the moon. If theo and Jed were to trade for David price, I do not think they would hesitate to include Baez in the trade. I think a Baez plus 3 or 4 more guys such as vogelbach, Johnson, mcnutt, etc. could get that deal done. I wouldn’t say that depletes the farm. But trading 4 or 5 guys that have high ceilings but high risk is worth trading for a proven ace

  • Dumpgobbler

    Price is going to the Rangers if Daniels is willing to give up Profar, which I’d assume he is. I believe that Profar is the ammo the rangers will use for either Price of Stanton. There is no way we can beat Profar, Olt and Perez and still feel semi good about the deal. Nor should we really. I love Price, and I’d give Baez and Vogelbach + for him. But if it gets out of hand and they want Baez, Almora and Vogelbach, then I’d back out.

    Its looking like we’ll get either Appel or Gray right now. The minors is looking a lot more healthy with arms as it is. We’d have Appel/Gray, Vizcaino, Paniagua, Wells, Johnson, Maples and Underwood. Our ML staff is pretty bloated ATM as well. What we need to trade for is young impact bats.. or Price if its under control.

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