Welcome to Rum Bunter’s 12 Days of Trademas! On each day between now and the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, we will profile a player or two who may be a potential trade target for the Pittsburgh Pirates. We will highlight both the cases for and against that player in order to give you the full scope of what acquiring that player might entail.
The 2015 trade deadline is fast upon us, and with four days to go there is still a huge prize out there for the Pittsburgh Pirates and other teams who may be looking to upgrade their starting pitching. That prize goes by the name of David Price.
If you’re unfamiliar with Price’s work, shame on you. Price is a former Cy Young winner and four-time all star. The longtime Tampa Bay Ray now plies his trade for the Detroit Tigers after a huge trade deadline deal at last year’s deadline. By most accounts, the Pittsburgh Pirates were in on Price last year with a “great” offer.
Do the Pittsburgh Pirates stand a chance at David Price for the second straight year? Before we dive into that, let’s take a look at Price’s outstanding career-to-date.
The case for David Price
Price is one of the best in the game. Along with Evan Longoria and manager Joe Maddon, Price was chiefly responsible for turning the lowly smaller-than-small market Rays into perennial contenders in the AL East, including a World Series appearance in 2008. For many years, the Rays were an organization for Pirates fans to look up to. Fast forward to now and the Detroit Tigers – traditionally big-time buyers at the deadline – are teetering into seller mode. I believe that this more than anything is greatly affecting this year’s market for starting pitching.
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Sticking to on the field matters, there is absolutely nothing not to like about Price. The left-hander throws a strong variety of pitches, with a four-seam, two-seam and cut fastball in addition to a wicked knuckle curve. With the ability to hit 98 mph on the fastball with good movement, Price is equally adept at blowing folks away when he needs to or setting them up for a knee-bending curve. Price led the American League in strikeouts and innings pitched last year, and posts a very solid 3.65 strikeout-to-walk ratio for his career.
Adding Price to the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation would be advantageous beyond the obvious. Adding a third lefty – assuming Jeff Locke is not part of any potential deal – would give the Pirates the edge in matchups in three and four game series down the stretch run. Looking further ahead, in a potential playoff series, the Pirates could send out a murderer’s row of Gerrit Cole, Price, and Francisco Liriano/A.J. Burnett.
The case against David Price
Price’s …price tag, even considering his rental status, would be hefty. He is owed $19.75 million this year, which would put the Pirates on the hook for approximately $6-7 million before any possible cash considerations. While the Rays desired major-league ready players when dealing Price, the Tigers will likely desire prospects. One would expect that it would require a top-flight pitching prospect such as Tyler Glasnow, Nick Kingham, or Jamison Taillon. Glasnow has shown such promise recently that he is quickly approaching untouchable status. No matter how a Price acquisition is measured, it will carry a steep cost, be it money or prospects.
While the vision of Price joining the Pirates is drool-worthy, there is close to zero chance of it happening. One can easily see a scenario in which the Tigers become motivated sellers, as they have lost seven of their last ten and are fading fast. This could be so unusual of a situation that GM Dave Dombrowski may be forced into a deal he doesn’t want to make. Even still, Neal Huntington would do well to remain disciplined and stay out of the bidding war, looking to get better value at the middle of the starting pitching market.
What do you think? Let us know on twitter! You can tweet us here @rumbunter or use the #12DaysOfTrademas hashtag! You can also air your grievances in the comments section below or on our facebook page. Make sure to stay tuned tomorrow for the ninth day of Trademas!