Stop us if the following scenario sounds familiar: The Royals, seeking to upgrade their rotation with a proven top of the rotation starter, trade a number of prospects to the Tampa Bay Rays in order to acquire a pitcher that the Rays can no longer afford. However, in this case, we are not talking about last year’s trade of Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi, among others, for James Shields and Wade Davis. This time, the target would be David Price.
It has been expected that the Rays would trade Price for over a year now, due to his expected raise through arbitration this season. Yet, the Rays may have more motivation that just that pay raise. Price is owed an additional $4million in 2014 in deferred salary, which would be assumed by any team that trades for the lefty. However, even with that money due to Price, the Rays are still looking for a package that would top what they received for Shields. Getting back prospects of that caliber would certainly limit the teams that could potentially trade for Price.
Yet, even with the trade last year for Shields, the Royals could theoretically have the prospects needed to go after Price. Kyle Zimmer and Yordano Ventura both pitched as though they could be excellent starters in the near future, with there being some that feel that Zimmer could turn out to be a potential ace in his own right. Raul Mondesi, previously known as Adalberto, Cheslor Cuthbert and/or Jorge Bonifacio could also be appealing as well.
While it is thought that the Rays are likely in the market for young, controllable hitters if they move Price, they are also a team that has been built on pitching and defense. Adding additional young arms, especially if they are of the caliber that Zimmer and/or Ventura are expected to develop into, could be a sufficient starting point to see if the Rays are willing to send Price to Kansas City.
Should Ervin Santana depart via free agency, the Royals would have a large hole to fill in the rotation. Getting a pitcher the caliber of David Price would not only fill that void, but would serve to upgrade the rotation. As unlikely as it may seem for the Royals to acquire Price, the Rays may well be shopping him around. If so, it would make sense to explore the option.
The Royals already made one trade with Tampa Bay that helped change the franchise, at least for one year. Perhaps they can do revisit that plan, and acquire David Price. Even though they may not have enough to ultimately land Price, they may have enough intriguing talent to at least get a conversation started.