It wouldn’t be a Cubs off-season without Starlin Castro trade rumors to the Mets. Last winter, the question was if Chicago would sell low to clear space for a plethora of near ready shortstop prospects. For New York, Zack Wheeler was the clear cut second fiddle to Matt Harvey and destined to become a star in his own right. 12 months later and every scenario discussed prior to the 2014 season has proven wildly misguided at best and sheer idiocy at worst.
With Thursday’s MLB trade deadline quickly approaching, contending teams have been afforded as much time as possible to determine if a “rental” player is worth acquiring. Since both pitchers are performing admirably this season, Jon Lester and David Price’s, ahem, prices are largely distinguished by the extra year of team control for Price. Lester, on the other hand, is a free agent at year’s end and is analyzed by (1) how much he costs to acquire and (2) how much better he makes the team for the rest of the year. A third consideration, his financial cost, is mostly negligible for 2014 if the acquiring team makes the playoffs. Though both are squarely on the hot stove, Lester is a different acquisition than Price.
Jon Lester is in the midst of a career season. With 4.6 WAR, the left-hander is a top target at the MLB trade deadline for a handful of teams. David Price has been worth 3.7 WAR, good for eighth best in baseball to date. If asked who’s the better pitcher, my answer would have been David Price up until last week when Baseball Prospectus’ Harry Pavlidis (HarryPav) suggested the opposite. Turns out the Brooks Baseball maven was right and ROTOscouting’s piece idea of Price to the Cubs for a bounty of young positional talent made little sense given the ability for Chicago to sign Lester as a free agent and keep its young talent.
Troy Tulowitzki trade rumors have become commonplace for Colorado Rockies fans. Ownership claims a reluctance to trade Tulowitzki and teammate Carlos Gonzalez. However, rumors continue to fly. Tulo fueled the rumor mill further by taking in a Sunday matinee at Yankees Stadium. In nearby Philadelphia for a surgical consultation on a thigh injury which forced him to the disabled list last week, Tulo made the short drive to the Bronx “to see (Derek) Jeter play one more time.” Even the most cynical Rockies fan didn’t see this coming.
The Boston Red Sox are on the periphery of a David Price trade, but have the good to enter the running. Marred in last place six games below .500, the Red Sox do not appear to be a logical destination for the Tampa Bay Rays’ ace hurler. Throw in the ongoing feud between the left hander and David Ortiz and a match seems ridiculous. However, the 2013 World Champions are in retool mode. Feuds diminish when championships are at stake. It’s exciting to envision a Jon Lester-Price one-two punch in the Sox’ rotation if able to retain Lester’s services. If not, the Red Sox system is a strong example of what the Rays need to acquire.
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?
Rays ace David Price is having a career year. A 6-7 record masks how dominant the left-hander has been, but a 2.55 xFIP and 10.29 K/BB ratio tells the story. With his value peaking and free agency looming after the 2015 season, it’s time for Tampa Bay to explore a David Price trade. St. Louis is rumored as a frontrunner for the soon-to-be All-Star and pairing him with Adam Wainwright would form a knock out pairing capable of carrying a terrible hitting Cardinals team through to the World Series. But can a trade happen without including top-3 prospect Oscar Taveras [SCOUTING REPORT]?
The Tigers trade of 25-year old utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi for veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez has become a running joke on Twitter. Nobody understands why a player with perceived value was dealt for waiver wire fodder. In a vacuum, it makes perfect sense. A look around baseball at this time of year tells an entirely different story.
This week, MLB Trade Rumors mentioned both a potential Ryan Lavarnway trade and the Astros being in the market for a first baseman. With Lavarnway taking reps at first base, striking a deal makes sense for both teams. This isn’t to say Lavarnway hits enough to start at an infield corner. He does not. But the rebuilding Astros have a history of acquiring players like the Red Sox catcher/first baseman as reclamation projects for pennies on the dollar.
Before Greg Holland navigated the ninth inning for the Royals, Joakim Soria closed games for Kansas City. The former Rule 5 pick surprised with a 17 save rookie season in 2007. Having won the job, Soria averaged 38 saves with a 1.84 ERA from 2008-2010. But while he dominated, the Royals floundered, leaving writers questioning the utility of a top closer when dealing him would help build a bright future.
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