Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wrote an article recently about the trade market for the Tampa Bay Rays lefty David Price, noting that the Seattle Mariners seem to have the inside track. Price, a 28-year-old left-handed starter, has two more years of team control and the Rays are trying to maximize their return for him before he reaches free agency. With Price being a super-two player, his arbitration salary has already reached levels that put a strain on the low payroll Rays and they're looking to cash in on him now. MLB Trade Rumors predicts a 2014 arbitration salary of $13.1 million for Price, which would make him the most expensive player on the Rays by a little bit.
The Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams that not only have an interest in Price but believe they can put together the sort of package to pry Price from the Rays, sources said.
The popular rumour at this time is that the Mariners are willing to include top prospect Taijuan Walker in the deal as well as major league players. That's a significant offer for two years of David Price, especially in a division where both Oakland and Texas are also going all in for the next few seasons. Seattle has been linked with every big time free agent this offseason as well including Jacoby Ellsbury and Robinson Cano. Although paying for both Price and Cano would be a huge financial commitment, it would at the very least make Seattle a possible playoff contender.
From the Blue Jays point of view, it's questionable whether Alex Anthopoulos would be willing to match that deal. Trading for a Cy Young pitcher didn't go so well last year after all. To beat the Mariners deal, you'd have to imagine that either Aaron Sanchez or Marcus Stroman would have to be included in the deal along with other prospects or established big leaguers with affordable contracts. Sending Adam Lind to the Tampa Bay to replace James Loney is a possibility, but Lind's contract wouldn't exactly be considered cheap in the Rays' eyes.
It seems that the Blue Jays being included as players in this deal is just another case of Alex Anthopoulos making sure he at least inquires about every available player. It's debatable what it actually takes to get Price north of the border, but I don't think I'd be too upset if it was along the lines of Aaron Sanchez, Ryan Goins and Anthony Gose for David Price, possibly with Jose Lobaton thrown in. I'm still not sure if the Rays agree to that deal considering the type of players that the Mariners are rumoured to be throwing at them.
What do you folks think about this Thursday morning rumour?