COMMENTARY | The Los Angeles Dodgers' season came to a disappointing end on Oct. 18, but the offseason has already been full of intrigue and drama. That intrigue could continue through the winter, and a potential trade target for the Dodgers could be Tampa Bay Rays' ace David Price.
Price, 28, is a year removed from winning the American League Cy Young award, and is getting a bit pricey for the Rays' liking. Yes, they'd like to sign him long-term, but they're still the Tampa Bay Rays and still don't have the necessary money to make such a move.
Rumors started circulating in the media a few weeks ago about Price's availability and the Dodgers' potential interest. I had heard of said potential interest a couple months ago when a source told me the Rays were going to heavily scout Dodger prospects -- specifically shortstop Corey Seager and left-handed pitcher Julio Urias.
Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons spoke with an assistant general manager from a team (presumably not the Dodgers or the Rays), and that executive came back with this trade proposal:
"'They can afford him, and having Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Price would be unbelievable. I could see a deal with (SS) Corey Seager, (OF) Joc Pederson (17-year old LHP) Julio Urias and Chris Withrow. Tampa might do that.'"
You lost me at Seager and Urias. Price is worth a nice return, but the Dodgers cannot really afford to trade both Seager and Urias under any realistic scenario.
Price is great. He's in the middle of his prime and is one of the best control pitchers in the game. He's two years away from free agency, which maximizes his value. Still, trading Seager and Urias in a deal for him would be too much.
Of the two, I'd trade the 17-year-old lefty before the 19-year-old future third baseman. Pitching prospects, especially young ones, are extremely volatile. Despite Urias' polish, projecting a 17-year-old is an inexact science.
Speaking of polish, Seager is one of the most polished young hitting prospects the Dodgers have ever drafted. He's mature beyond his years at the plate and the complete package is there for him to be a perennial All-Star at the hot corner. That, and the Dodgers traditionally have a more difficult time developing hitting prospects compared to pitching prospects.
Pederson is the Dodgers' best and most attractive trade chip. He's close to the majors and is getting better as he plays against advanced competition. The Rays could definitely use a guy like that. Tampa is also good at developing young, power bullpen arms, and Withrow fits that mold. If the Rays need another chip (and they would), Zach Lee could be that guy. He's nearly major-league ready and has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter. The Rays have a lot of good pitching, but one can never have to much of it.
Dodgers' vice president of amateur scouting Logan White drafted Price out of high school in 2004, but he declined to sign and went to Vanderbilt University. He was drafted No. 1 overall by Tampa in 2007. White is very much entrenched in the Dodger organization, which only increases the chances of the Dodgers pulling the trigger on a potential trade.
This is a situation to monitor until Price is eventually moved. There will be plenty of teams calling Tampa general manager Andrew Friedman to inquire about Price's price. The main competition for his services -- and this is just my speculation -- would be the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. The Braves lack a true ace, the Yankees' true ace (CC Sabathia) regressed this season and the Rangers always need another good starter to pair with Yu Darvish.
The Dodgers acquiring Price would be an embarrassment of riches. Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Price would form one of the best pitching trios in the last 25 years. But another front-line starter might not be atop the Dodgers' shopping list. If it is, then Masahiro Tanaka might be a better option than Price. Tanaka would cost money, of which the Dodgers have plenty. Price would cost prospects and money. Dodger president Stan Kasten is intent on not gutting the farm system, which is exactly what acquiring Price would do (even if they keep one of Seager or Urias).
Then again, I wouldn't exactly be heartbroken if the Dodgers traded for Price. But locking up Kershaw should be the team's No. 1 priority (as I wrote on my blog today). After that, the Dodgers can start exploring outside options to upgrade the club.
Dustin Nosler has followed the Dodgers from Northern California all his life. He's the founder of Feelin' Kinda Blue, a Los Angeles Dodgers' blog. He also co-hosts "Dugout Blues," a weekly Dodger podcast and writes about the St. Louis Rams for the Yahoo Contributor Network. Find him on Twitter @FeelinKindaBlue.
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