Stark’s Latest: Price, Phillies, O’s, Royals, Pirates

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com has a new Rumblings & Grumblings column posted in which he runs down a plethora of trade-related topics. You’ll need to read the full post to get all the information and analysis, but here are some of the highlights …

  • The Rays are waiting until next week to make any decisions on whether or not to trade ace David Price. However, as Stark points out, it could still be a difficult judgment call as to whether or not the Rays are close enough to go for it or far enough back to sell. Tampa is currently seven games back of the division lead and four and a half games back from a Wild Card berth.
  • One executive tells Stark that he’s convinced the team will move Price if they get a big enough offer. Said the exec, “They’ve really built their team by making these kinds of deals. But if the return they can get now is something they think they can get this winter, they’ll hold him.” Another exec tells Stark that waiting until the winter could reduce the return in a trade by 30 to 40 percent.
  • Stark runs down the possible landing spots for Price, calling the Dodgers the favorite, but noting that L.A. has said it will not part with both Joc Pederson and Corey Seager, even in a Price trade. The Mariners are the second choice, he notes, with the Cardinals listed third followed by the Giants and Blue Jays (both of whom are painted as long shots by Stark).
  • If the Rays do sell Price, they’ll be open for business and listen on a number of other players, including Ben Zobrist, Matt Joyce and Yunel Escobar. Their preference is to deal Price and Zobrist in separate trades, if that comes to pass.
  • The Phillies are the next team that everyone is watching, with nine players that could be moved but contractual problems surrounding many of them. Most execs feel the Phillies will eat money to facilitate deals and aren’t looking to just dump players on other clubs. Specifically, the team is in need of position-player prospects, one exec who has spoken with Philadelphia tells Stark.
  • Marlon Byrd is the most likely to be dealt, with the Mariners, Royals and Reds scouting him. The Reds, however, may not be able to take on Byrd’s remaining $3MM in 2014, and the Mariners and Royals are on his no-trade list.
  • Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee aren’t likely to be dealt, executives tell Stark. In Lee’s case, they feel he’s a lock to clear waivers. One exec tells Stark that he’d be more inclined to take a chance on Lee were he a free agent, but his contract is too risky at this point.
  • Cole Hamels isn’t likely to be dealt either. It’s not that the Phillies aren’t willing to move him, it’s just that the prices they’ve specified consist of packages “that no one would possibly give up.”
  • A.J. Burnett‘s preference is indeed to return to the Pirates, but Pittsburgh would need assurances that he’s not going to exercise his player option for 2015. The Orioles‘ interest is said to be lukewarm, while the Phillies asked the Yankees and were told, “No thanks.”
  • At least half a dozen teams are in on Antonio Bastardo, whom Stark concretely says will be traded in the next week.
  • The Orioles aren’t looking for a closer upgrade over Zach Britton, but they’re looking for a rotation upgrade and a lefty reliever that’s more than just a left-on-left specialist. They’ve shown no interest in dealing Hunter Harvey or Dylan Bundy.
  • The Royals have called on virtually every right-handed hitter on the market, but they’re look specifically at right fielders, including Byrd, Alex Rios, Chris Denorfia and Dayan Viciedo. The first two of those options still look most likely.
  • Stark would be surprised if the Pirates didn’t add at least one pitcher, if not two in the next week, but it’d have to be at least a No. 3 option in terms of starters. On the relief front, they’re looking at seventh-inning arms, as they’re content with Tony Watson in the eighth and Mark Melancon in the ninth.


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55 Comments on "Stark’s Latest: Price, Phillies, O’s, Royals, Pirates"


Erik Trenouth
1 year 11 days ago

I have a hard time believing that a team like the Yankees wouldn’t make a claim on Lee.

Mike1L
1 year 11 days ago

I don’t think they will. with luxury tax he would cost $40M a year. They have enough old pitchers with health problems.

vtadave
1 year 11 days ago

They won’t if they saw him pitch last time out.

cardinalsfan27
1 year 11 days ago

Judging a players first start after coming off the DL isn’t real smart.

sourbob
1 year 11 days ago

You’re not entirely wrong. But trading for a wildly expensive player coming off injury before he’s proven he’s healthy or effective is maybe not smart either.

vtadave
1 year 11 days ago

I’ve seen plenty of Cliff Lee and he just didn’t look right last time out. Hopefully for the Phillies sake, he was just a bit rusty.

mrnatewalter
mrnatewalter
1 year 11 days ago

Teams aren’t going to go all in or fold on one performance.

Bleed_Orange
1 year 11 days ago

Way to much money and risk involved to straight up make a claim. Especially if there is structural damage and the Phillies just let him go for nothing.

Jeff Miller
1 year 11 days ago

Don’t you think they’d know by now if there was structural damage to his elbow?

Bleed_Orange
1 year 11 days ago

I’m sure the Phillies do

Jeff Miller
1 year 11 days ago

If there was structural damage, pretty sure he wouldn’t be pitching.

Bleed_Orange
1 year 11 days ago

Plenty of players play with damage, they just can’t perform at the level they used to

Jeff Miller
1 year 11 days ago

Given the way Amaro has fawned over Lee, I doubt he’d let him pitch if he had a scraped knee.

Christopher Rioux
1 year 9 days ago

When it comes to Lee, I think it’d be RAJ with the scraped knees…

sourbob
1 year 11 days ago

If Lee put together a few good starts in August, there are definitely teams that would take a chance on a claim… IF it were only a matter of his remaining 2014 salary and his $25MM 2015 salary. But there’s also the matter of his $27.5MM option for 2016 and the $12.5MM buyout. That makes a minimum commitment in dollars for anyone claiming Lee of $46.75MM for a season and a third’s worth of pitching. That makes him effectively a $34.1MM a year pitcher for the rest of this deal. That is bananas, man. No one is going to claim that.

vtadave
1 year 11 days ago

I respectfully disagree.
– N. Colletti

Jeff Miller
1 year 11 days ago

If the Reds were to trade for Byrd, the Phillies could always take on Ludwick as he’s owed similar money. About $3M for Byrd and about $3.25M for Ludwick.

sourbob
1 year 11 days ago

Pederson has 20 HR, 25 SB, 71 BB, a .325 BA and a 1.039 OPS. It’s ridiculous he’s still waiting for his shot. The Dodgers need to figure out who they’re going to unload of their non-Puig OF and clear a spot for him.

Jeff Miller
1 year 11 days ago

How about this: Lee, Papelbon and Asche to the Dodgers for Kemp, Seager, Lee and Schebler.

Opens a spot for Pederson and while it would increase payroll for a couple years, they’d have Kemp’s $65M off the books from 2017-’19. Also gives the Dodgers another front of the rotation arm, a reliable closer and a young big league 3B.

Gives the Phillies some financial flexibility over the next couple years even though they’re taking on more money in the long run, but it also gives them prospects to build around.

Thoughts?

Gumby65
1 year 11 days ago

Clearing Kemp’s contact for Lee’s doesn’t look to flavorful right now, especially when Kemp has a better chance of recovering than Lee (albeit just one start, small sample size). Not that I am opposed to moving Kemp… Papelbon might get it done if Dodgers send some money along, without all of the other spare parts.

Jeff Miller
1 year 11 days ago

I can’t see that happening. Kemp is owed so much money that without getting good prospects as well in return it makes no sense. Unless the Dodgers are taking on like $80M or so of the $120M he’s still owed, that wouldn’t be worth it on the Phillies end.

Gumby65
1 year 11 days ago

Shhhh…. Reuben might see this though 😉

mrnatewalter
mrnatewalter
1 year 11 days ago

If this were any other club, I’d disagree… but when you throw Amaro’s name in there, you just never know what on earth he might do.

vtadave
1 year 11 days ago

I’ll speak for the Dodgers and respectfully pass. Only way I’m moving Seager is for MAYBE David Price. Even then…

Jeff Miller
1 year 11 days ago

I get that, Seager is highly regarded. It’s a scenario unlikely to happen, but one that helps both teams now and in the future.

LIMetfan22
1 year 11 days ago

That would be a MASSIVE overpay on the Dodgers part. The only one worth anything there is Lee and you think the Dodgers are going to give up Seager for him? maybe if the Phils literally eat Lee’s entire contract.

Jeff Miller
1 year 11 days ago

Guess you missed taking on Matt Kemp’s $120M.

LIMetfan22
1 year 11 days ago

you think they’re going to give up Seager just so someone takes Kemps contract off of them?

…wow.

Jeff Miller
1 year 11 days ago

Did you even read the proposal and reasoning behind it?

Sky14
1 year 11 days ago

“Phils literally eat Lee’s entire contract”

Do they have to eat it dry or can they at least put some sort of sauce/dressing on it?

LIMetfan22
1 year 11 days ago

dry bruh.

Christopher Rioux
1 year 9 days ago

I like the creativity.

Federal League
1 year 11 days ago

It’s hard to open up a slot when the major league club has committed the kind of dollars the Dodgers have in the outfield.

sourbob
1 year 11 days ago

Even if they feel that way, it’s still time to act. It’s [blank] or get off the pot time. They either need to cash Pederson in on a big trade before he starts to stagnate or make room for him.

Gumby65
1 year 11 days ago

100% for the latter.

Federal League
1 year 11 days ago

I don’t know if stagnate is something I’d agree with. He’s 22 years old. Plenty of 22 year olds [and older players] spend more than half a season in AAA.

I admit it’s maybe more pressing with Pederson because he can actually play CF which nobody on Los Angeles’ 25-man can really do.

Gumby65
1 year 11 days ago

“If the Rays do sell Price, they’ll be open for business and listen on a number of other players, including Ben Zobrist, Matt Joyce and Yunel Escobar. Their preference is to deal Price and Zobrist in separate trades, if that comes to pass.”

Not necessarily true.
A Price trade can still bring them a couple of young arms and not totally wash out what they have going for them this year. They don’t have to have a purge if they remain competitive.

LIMetfan22
1 year 11 days ago

Loving this Phillie meltdown. They’re going to be in the NL East cellar for so long. Not like they’re gonna get any good prospects for anyone besides Lee and Hamels, who aren’t going to be traded.

sourbob
1 year 11 days ago

Maybe they could trade for Bartolo Colon.

(Kidding)

TommyC
1 year 11 days ago

Could still never top the 2007 meltdown.

LIMetfan22
1 year 11 days ago

Enjoy living in 2007, then. You’ll be seeing a lot of Harvey-Wheeler-Syndergaard the next 6-8 years.

Enjoy your day in philly ;]

Phillyfan425
1 year 11 days ago

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’ll take 20 years of awful, as long as we got that 1 year as champions. And we got that.

LIMetfan22
1 year 11 days ago

That’s true. But it’s gonna be a long 20 more years starting this year.

Besides, what other championships do Philadelphia sports even have lately? …

mrnatewalter
mrnatewalter
1 year 11 days ago

I guess I’d have to respectfully disagree… as much as I want championships, I’d rather be in contention and miss every year than to win it once and be awful for 2 decades.

Phillyfan425
1 year 11 days ago

I get that. I also know that a title is always there. When you can go back and look at the record books, your team’s name will always be there as champions. Nobody really cares about the team that made it to the playoffs every year and never won it all (except THAT team).
What’s the old Ricky Bobby saying…if you’re not first, you’re last. That’s kinda how I look at things (in the big picture) for sports teams.

stl_cards16
1 year 11 days ago

I really don’t care what other people remember about my favorite teams. 2004 was one of the funnest seasons I have ever watched as a Cardinals fan. The run in 2011 to make the playoffs would stand out to me even if it didn’t end in a championship. I don’t think a championship defines a season to most fans.

Phillyfan425
1 year 11 days ago

2007 stands out as a great season for me. But I’ll never forget 2008. Even though 2009-2011, we had better teams, 2008 is still the thought that replays in my head when I think about the Phillies (Lidge striking out Hinske on the nasty slider – with HK calling it in the background – and everyone piling up on Lidge just off the mound).
Never said it had to be a blanket thing that everyone agreed with – just that I’d take 20 years of awful if it meant getting that 1 championship.

Jeff Miller
1 year 11 days ago

Considering the price of relievers, that might cost something like Harold Ramirez/Jacoby Jones and Adrian Sampson.

Jeff Miller
1 year 11 days ago

Prospects would be included along with Ludwick, that’s a way to cover the cost on the Reds end.

TommyC
1 year 11 days ago

The Phils could just send $3 million in the deal.

Justin Reese
1 year 11 days ago

Id rather have Heisey over Dudwick

Jeff Miller
1 year 11 days ago

Or that.

stl_cards16
1 year 11 days ago

This isn’t true at all and still keeps getting thrown around. SP that are highly ranked are generally solid at the MLB level these days. Some turn into Aces, some are solid, some bust. Just like highly regarded position prospects.

Jon Edwards
1 year 11 days ago

Yeah I’ll pass on that. Have 2 LHRP in Wilson and Watson that are just fine

TheRealRyan
1 year 11 days ago

BA top 20 prospects who are pitchers bust about 60% of the time. Those ranked 21-100 bust about 80% of the time. To qualify as a bust, they average less than 1.5 fWAR over their 6 cost controlled seasons.

Only about 20% of top 20 pitchers become better than average and about 7.5% for those ranked 21-100. To be considered better than average, they need to average 2.5 fWAR/season over their cost controlled seasons. Or to put it another way, they need to become Edwin Jackson, who averaged 2.6 fWAR over his first 6+ seasons.

Position prospects have a higher rate of success, but it is still very unlikely. Overall, players in the top 20 have about a coin flip chance to average more than 1.5 fWAR/season and only about 1 out 4 in the 21-100 range will get to that 1.5 fWAR/season. The vast majority of prospects will fail, no matter how much we hope our team’s prospects will be different.

H/T to Scott McKinney who did this research over at Royals Review.