COMMENTARY | The Oakland Athletics have won the American League West the past two seasons, only to fail once the playoffs came around.
Oakland, not having won a World Series since 1989, is used to these types of successful campaigns before postseason disappointment. Since that title, the A's have made the playoffs nine times, winning a series only once.
In 2013, Price went 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. After posting an ERA over 5.00 in April in May, Price went on the disabled list. After coming back on July 2, Price was beyond dominant. In the subsequent seven starts, the southpaw walked one batter and struck out 40 while going 5-1 with four complete games.
Price is almost sure to be dealt in the offseason with his contract expiring after the 2014 season. The Rays cannot afford to keep Price long-term, and will look to dump him for a bevy of prospects as they did with James Shields. The A's should step up and make a very serious offer.
Oakland has one of the best young prospects going in shortstop Addison Russell. Russell, 19, hit .275 in high-A Stockton this year, while stroking 17 home runs and stealing 21 bases.
On top of Russell, 23-year-old outfielder Michael Choice would be on the top of Tampa Bay's wishlist. Choice is a fine fielder who tore up Triple-A with a .390 on-base percentage and 44 extra-base hits in 132 games. The A's would not have to give both up in a deal, but one would certainly have to be jettisoned along with a few other minor leaguers.
On the surface, it is easy to say the A's should not make such a sacrifice for a rental. Truthfully, though, that is flawed logic. The main objective is to win the World Series. If Oakland was able to secure Price and put him in a rotation featuring Sonny Gray and Jarrod Parker, the A's would instantly become one of if not the favorite to be celebrating in October.
It will likely be at least two years before Russell gets to the majors, and by that time Oakland could have lost most of its players and be a bottom-feeder. With a tough economic situation, the A's have to pick and choose when to go for the ring, and now is clearly one of those times.
Despite the recent disappointment, manager Bob Melvin and almost his entire team will be back for another run. The only sure loss is closer Grant Balfour, who, while good, can be replaced by either Sean Doolittle or Ryan Cook.
The other elephant in the room is trying to predict the future. Russell and Choice could turn into great players, or fizzle like Bobby Crosby and Todd Van Poppel. Everybody always thinks prospects are surefire players, but rarely do they live up to the hype.
Even if Price is only in green and gold for one season, the upside of that campaign is worth dealing away a maybe or two for a sure-fire stud.
Matt Verderame is a lifelong Oakland A's follower and has been published in the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin and also at SB Nation among other papers and websites. His twitter handle is @MattVerderame.
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