While no deal is imminent at the moment, rival officials tell ESPN’s Buster Olney that the Rays are prepared to move David Price “right now” if the right offer presents itself (ESPN Insider subscription required and recommended).
Olney notes that the Rays’ litany of injuries and surprisingly poor performances from Evan Longoria and Wil Myers have buried Tampa in the AL East cellar. Waiting for another month or more to move Price presents the Rays with a great risk, he points out, using Matt Garza as an example. The Cubs intended to trade Garza two summers go but waited too long and saw their No. 1 starter go down with a season-ending injury. Olney goes on to write:
“The expectation of rival officials is that sometime in the days ahead, some team is going to call Rays GM Andrew Friedman with the right offer, with enough pitching included to fill Tampa Bay’s organizational need.”
Olney also highlights Price’s improved performance and velocity of late, noting that the league-wide need and his resurgence have made the conditions almost perfect to move the former Cy Young winner. Indeed, while Price’s velocity has been anything but consistent, Fangraphs’ velocity chart on him shows a gradual increase from the beginning of the season, and he’s averaged 93.4 mph or better in five of his past eight starts.
Tampa is said to prefer to trade Price to the National League — or at the very least out of the AL East — but the suitors for Price will be plentiful. Olney speculates on the Giants, Dodgers and Cardinals as possible fits. Other clubs that have been connected to Price in recent weeks have been the Blue Jays and the surprising Marlins. Miami’s NL East rivals, the Braves, are reportedly unlikely to join a pursuit of Price. That’s not surprising, given how much the team had to stretch payroll simply to accommodate Ervin Santana in Spring Training.