David Price Trade To Mariners Makes Little Sense
Will a David Price trade happen? It’s the million dollar question right now in MLB with no rumor greater than a deal to the Mariners for a package including Taijuan Walker and D.J. Peterson. On the surface, Seattle has the pieces to empty the cupboard and make a deal happen. However, does it make sense for the Rays to pursue a David Price trade with a team whose best trade chip is a pitcher considering their ability to develop and acquire young pitching?
A look at the top six Rays starting pitchers include four homegrown talents including David Price (1st round), Alex Cobb (4th round), Jeremy Hellickson (4th round) and Matt Moore (8th round). While Price was the number one overall pick in the draft, the other three have achieved results far beyond their respective draft slots.
From outside the organization, the acquisitions of Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi have been a success. Remember when Archer was a future bullpen piece and Odorizzi was a future fourth starter with limited upside? Both young starters have had issues with consistency, but have become quality MLB starters more quickly than prospects ranked higher on top-100 lists.
A healthy Rays staff sans Price features five quality starters with top-100 prospect Enny Romero lurking in Triple-A. Alex Colome and Nathan Karns round out a Durham rotation of pitchers capable of filling starting roles at the MLB level. The Rays have needs, but for as much as I adore Taijuan Walker, a David Price trade needs to be headlined a bat.
For Tampa Bay, the list of quality homegrown talents includes Evan Longoria and Desmond Jennings. Kevin Kiermaier is on his way to becoming a third, but 165 plate appearances are not enough to assume he’ll be a quality MLB player for years to come. Adding undervalued assets like Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist has been a boon for the organization, but a look at their first round draft picks since Longoria in 2007 reads like a dynasty fantasy baseball owners disaster scenario.
Player Name Overall Pick Career WAR Number of 1st Round Picks = 14 Combined Career WAR = 0.1 Tim Beckham 1 0.1 LeVon Washington 30 0 Josh Sale 17 0 Justin O'Conner 31 0 Drew Vettelson 42 0 Mikie Mahtook 31 0 Jake Hager 32 0 Brandon Martin 38 0 Tyler Goeddel 41 0 Kes Carter 56 0 James Harris 60 0 Richie Shaffer 25 0 Nick Ciuffo 21 0 Casey Gillaspie 20 0
The entire group has produced eight plate appearances a the MLB level — all from Tim Beckham. One may consider it unfair to count more recent draft picks in the mix, but they’re included for precedent. Of 19 draft picks since Price and Longoria in 2006-2007, 14 of 19 first round picks (73.7%) have been position players. Meanwhile, the system has tanked with the likes of Romero and Taylor Guerrieri (recovering from TJ surgery) propping things up. At some point, it’s time for the Rays player development team to raise the white flag, accept its limitations and pawn off pitching for the positions players it needs to compete. A David Price trade is the start.
A David Price Trade: Why D.J. Peterson Is Not Enough
With a triple slash line of .323/.378/.593 across High-A and Double-A, Peterson is a coveted prospect prize. As the second piece in trade discussions, he’s an upgrade over fellow first round pick Billy McKinney who was included in the Jeff Samardzija deal. If one considered Taijuan Walker and Addison Russell a wash in terms of prospect talent, then the prospect return in a David Price trade is more than what the Athletics dealt for “Shark”. Of course this is a simplified version of the trade considering Daniel Straily and Jason Hammel were also involved, but one can easily write off the pitcher swap as an exchange of immediate impact for long term control.
However, the Rays aren’t an organization with a balanced track record of developing talent. With successes heavily skewed towards pitching, a David Price trade is the equivalent of pressing the reset button as an organization in terms of player development. A pair of controllable, MLB ready bats to build around would take the sting out of failed picks and focus on pitching and lots of it. Tampa Bay is in need of THE offensive piece, not an offensive piece. One can sell the idea of D.J. Peterson as a contributor on a championship team, but not its clean up hitter. A David Price trade needs to return a true impact bat.
21 Jul 2014 / Mike Newman /
Categories: MLB Analysis
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