We're still far enough away from the trade deadline for it to not officially be "trade season" quite yet. Those winds don't start really blowing 'til the All-Star break. But business is already picking up on the David Price front. Arguably the best player who will be available and the type of difference maker in the rotation that any contending team could use, Price is the talk of the trade town both locally and nationally. TB beat writer Marc Topkin wrote over the weekend that there are already some teams with scouts following him and the Rays' preference is to trade him to the NL, and earlier today Buster Olney suggested (Insider-only) that a trade could materialize as soon as this week.
The Yankees have not been involved in any of the early rumors, outside of Jim Bowden's trade proposal from last week. Price would fill a huge need for them though, and it will come down to how serious the Yankees are willing to get about what they'll have to give up to get Price. If you're Cash and the rest of the front office, that's a move you have to be willing to make, right?
Of course it is. Anybody who wants to convince you that the Yankees shouldn't try to trade for Price if the Rays are willing to listen to offers is out of his or her mind. Price is in his prime, owed a very reasonable salary for the remainder of this season and is under team control next year in his final year of Super Two arbitration eligibility. He's not just your typical mercenary deadline arm, he's a guy who you'll have around for at least 2015 and will have the opportunity to negotiate an extension with if you choose to do so.
And don't give me the lame concern about his early-season velocity decrease. His fastball has been trending in the right direction since April and he's been living 93-95 over his last 4 outings, outings in which he's allowed 9 ER in 31.1 IP and struck out 43. Price has been altering his pitch mix for the last few seasons to throw fewer 4 and 2-seamers while working in more cutters, curveballs, and changeups. It's very likely that he's taking a proactive approach to adjusting his game to an eventual decrease in velocity rather than waiting until he's lost it, and at age 28 there's no reason to expect that velocity to drop to CC Sabathia levels in the next year and a half.
The guy is a stud, one of the best and most reliable starting pitchers in the game. Yeah, his HR rate this year is a concern pitching in Yankee Stadium and he's had some injury hiccups, but he's light years better than the Nunos and Whitleys of the world even on his worst day. CC and Big Mike aren't coming back anytime soon and the Yankees need to upgrade their rotation now if they want to hang around the playoff race into August and September. It'll take more to than Sanchez-Severino-O'Brien to get the deal done, that's for sure. For the return of Price, there's nobody in the Yankee system that should be off limits and the front office needs to put a serious effort into making the Rays an offer. Call them up, see who they like, and attempt to make this move. If they aren't interested or find a better deal, so be it. After all the money spent in the offseason, the front office owes it to itself to at least try.
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