COMMENTARY | The rumor mill is buzzing again about a certain star player coming to the Texas Rangers. This time, according to MLB.com, it's Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price, who pitched brilliantly against the Rangers in a Game 163 tiebreaker to eliminate them.
An ace starting pitcher never hurt any team. But what will the Rangers have to give up in order to get Price? Is he worth it?
The Rays will likely ask for Jurickson Profar as part of any trade package for Price. And the Rangers just traded away their second baseman to open a spot for Profar, who was rated the No. 1 prospect in baseball as recently as the start of the 2013 season. The Rays could also ask for Martin Perez, a 22-year-old stud left-hander that the Rangers just locked up relatively cheaply for four years.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels should think this one through long and hard before pulling the trigger on a deal that will send Profar and/or Perez to the Rays for David Price. Here is why:
* Pitching rich: As soon as the 2013 season ended, Daniels stressed the team's need to upgrade the offense and said they were fine pitching-wise. Assuming Matt Harrison is healthy in 2014, the Rangers already have four-fifths of their rotation set for next year with Harrison, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, and Martin Perez, with several candidates for the last spot.
* Give the prospect a chance: Profar never really had a chance to live up to the hype around him in 2013, because he didn't have a position and did not know where or even if he was going to play each day. They signed the Curacao native when he was only 16 and developed him; he is almost 21 now and the Rangers need to give him that chance to prove himself in the major leagues. The Rangers have two major middle infield prospects in Guilder Rodriguez and Rougned Odor, but neither has played above Double A .
* Keep Perez: The young lefty had a breakout season for Texas in 2013 and the Rangers have him for the next four years. Meanwhile, Price is eligible for arbitration for each of the next two years and he made $10 million in 2013. He will be a free agent in 2016 and will ask for the moon. A good pitcher, but very expensive. The Rangers are better off sticking with Perez.
If Profar is traded, it is assumed that the Rangers will enter the sweepstakes for free agent Robinson Cano. And the talk is that Cano is asking for a contract worth $300 million. He probably will not get it, but he might get at least $200 million from any one of a handful of rich teams.
The Rangers should not even entertain the idea of signing Cano; if there is one thing baseball teams should learn from each other, it's that a contract in excess of $200 million for a single player is always bad regardless of how good the player is (Alex Rodriguez, anyone?). Just ask the Tigers how that worked out with Prince Fielder. Fortunately, the Rangers got him two years into his contract and got $30 million from Detroit along with him.
The pieces are in place for the Rangers to have a successful 2014. The Rangers should not go after the high-dollar, bank-breaking free agents to fill positions that are already set for next season. They would get some good players, but the asking prices are simply too high.
Brian Honea is a freelance writer based in Dallas, Texas, and a lifelong follower of the Texas Rangers.
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