The Pirates have been linked to David Price.
The Pirates have been linked to David Price.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports says that the trade market for David Price is about to heat up, and names the Pittsburgh Pirates as a team that has an interest and that can put together a package to acquire Price. Passan also mentions the Mariners, Dodgers, Angels, Rangers, Diamondbacks, and Blue Jays.

With all of those teams involved, it doesn’t seem that the Pirates would be any sort of favorites. In fact, Passan says that the Mariners are seen as a strong candidate to land Price. It would almost certainly take a top prospect like Jameson Taillon or Gregory Polanco to get Price, and possibly would require both players. The lefty has two years of control and would probably make about $30 M combined in arbitration.

Price is an ace, averaging about a 4.0 WAR or better each season. He’s also 28 years old, so he doesn’t look to be declining anytime soon. The Pirates could definitely afford him, both in prospects and in dollars. The question is whether it would be worth it to acquire him. There’s no doubt that he’s a good player, but the Rays could command a huge return for him, and that return might end up being worth more than Price in the long-run. Last year the Rays got top prospect Wil Myers from the Kansas City Royals as part of a deal for James Shields, who also had two years of control. Shields was a good pitcher for the Royals, but there’s no doubt that 6.5 years of Myers is looking much better right now, especially when you add in the other pieces.

I don’t see the Pirates landing Price, and I wouldn’t be that upset if they didn’t get him. I think they’re better off building like the Rays, rather than being on the exact opposite side of the Rays in a trade involving prospects and established players who are close to free agency.

UPDATE 11:54 PM: Jory Rand hears that the Pirates aren’t in on Price due to the cost in money and prospects.

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  1. Dave Cameron over at Fangraphs did a great article on the trade value of David Price and why the Rays should not expect another Wil Myers return and why other teams should not offer such a return for David Price. He specifically looked at Gregory Polanco and how much more valuable Polanco is than Price. The full article is here:

    I would offer Nick Kingham and a package of lesser-prospects and see if that would be enough for Tampa. Might have to give another decent prospect to make the deal, but if the Pirates could actually keep 8 of our top 10 prospects with this deep farm system it actually could be a decent option.

    • Brilliant article! Thanks for referring to it. To generalize it’s message: teams like the Pirates should focus their resources on a system that produces more Greg Polancos. It’s the best way to create value when compared to either trading for high priced veterans or buying them in the free agent market. When you look at the cumulative investment that the Pirates have made in Polanco versus his present worth investing in the system is a no brainer!

  2. Word is that Erisbel Arruebarruena, the 23 year old Cuba defensive wizard SS, is putting on a showcase this weekend for clubs. I wonder what it would take to get him. The bat is his concern but his glove is major league ready and he is definitely plus-defensively (range+arm)…could be a solution to the SS position. He won’t hit for the power of Andrelton Simmons or probably hit much above .235 and .665-.685 OPS; however, his defense is supposedly very similar. He has been touted as a 2.5-3 WAR defensive player alone. Consider that Andrelton Simmons was probably the best defensive player in all of baseball last year and had a 5.4 WAR based just on his defense. Again, I don’t know what Arruebarruena will cost, but he’d be worth a shot to sign and see if the bat can produce at least enough to allow him to start daily and let the defense shine.

  3. If AJ retires just give Justin Wilson a shot. A lefty with his stuff pitching half his games at PNC could be Price-less. He may avg 4 walks a game like he did coming up but his whip was still outstanding. If he doesn’t work out you move him back to bp & bring Taillon up.

  4. Just say “No!”. Price is not worth it in prospects and he ain’t cheap in terms of contract for remaining 2 years of “control”. The new Pirates Way should be to keep young talented and cost controlled players of the sort that would be needed to acquire Price (Taillon, Polanco, Hanson)…rather have those 3 for 6 years than Price for the next 2. If they are really desperate for another started they have internal options in Justin Wilson and Stolmy Pimental, as well as Jeanmar. Taillon and Kingham are not that far off from being major-league ready. There is no way the Pirates should trade high end prospects like these for Price, however good he may be (he’s not Clayton Kershaw!)

    • All these “trade the farm for X” people on here crack me up. What are they doing reading and commenting on this site for god’s sake?

      Tim’s is the only Pirates blog that understands and supports the ” Pirates Model” of management. The only blog that embraces MLB’s screwed up economics, along with the creative and common sense ways a team like the Pirates can succeed in that economic system.

      The Buck’s would never give up the young talent it would take to get a Price, nor should they. I really have to question why people that want us to trade the farm for ____, are even reading this blog….

      • The Pirates are getting closer but are not yet at the same level as the Rays. I believe the goal for the Pirates (like the Rays) is to have enough talent in the pipeline that when Cole or Tallion reach their year 4+ season and they start to get expensive that the Pirates will be able to entertain offers for them, because they have other good talent coming up through the system to replace them.

        While I know it is very tempting to trade for a very good talent like Price, because he would help fortify the current starting staff, I would rather we hang onto Tallion, Glasnow, Kingham Rodriguez and others in the hope that many of these folks will develop as realistic starting pitching options who can capably step in when Liriano departs (which he will next year), or when Cole starts to get more expensive. In 2017 or so, perhaps we can trade a Cole for the next Wil Meyers and have other quality prospects who can readily step into the starting staff and help replace Cole.

        As good as Price is, I would prefer to commit money to AJ for 2014 and hang onto our prospects and hope that he can pitch nearly as well in 2014 that he did in 2012 and 2013.

        • What if, instead of giving AJ $14MM the Pirates did something like open a Colombian baseball academy like the one they have in the Dominican Republic. If doing so led to the acquisition of three Harold Ramirez equivalents per year out of Colombia instead of the one per year that we might get at present wouldn’t that be a better investment of the money? It’s all hypothetical I realize. But Pirates fans tend to be too myopic in how they view the “plan”, with an over emphasis on Next Season. In reality NH has to have a one year plan, a three year plan and a six year plan; all of which contradict each other at times. The best place for the Pirates to be is at the point where they expect three regulars per year leave for free agency, but it doesn’t matter because they have adequate young stars rising to take their place. The best way to reach that point is to establish the infrastructure that finds the next Polanco equivalents who sign for a very reasonable bonuses. This requires patience, but what are we Pirates fans for if we are not patient (waiting 20 years for a winner)?

        • hmmm. really/The pirates played in game 5 of the NLDS The Rays Made 4 games of the ALDS. The Rays would definitely trade farm systems with the Pirates right now

  5. First let me say any trade that involves Tallion and Polanco better be Jesus Christ himself. You don’t trade your top 2 prospect for anybody if you’re a small market team. Secondly you can have 5 Prices in your Starting Rotation and it won’t do you any good if you can score runs..The Pirates need a RF until June 2014 and a first baseman. If the fail to get either they better hope they get GREAT starting pitching again or it’s back to under .500 for them again.

    • How is the Pirates lineup any worse than it was last year? Is all of this hand wringing really over the loss of Garret Jones? RF is the more or less the same cast with a few more lottery tickets and Polanco on the way. Mercer is an upgrade over Barmes (with the bat). Everybody else is the same, yeah? What am I missing?

    • The JC comment made me laugh, and have to agree.

      How many World Series did the Phillies win with Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Cole Hamels, all pitchers of David Price’s caliber, and they had all three.

      Far more than any of the other big four sports, baseball is a team game. Have to have a solid team throughout, with plenty of backup in case of injury.

  6. Here is the way this deal could make sense. I’m not exactly advocating for it but I’m just saying…

    If a deal could be struck w/o including Tallion or Polanco – and frankly that seems unlikely, but bear with me – if that could be done, then you could bring in Price for a year and take your best shot and either trade him in the offseason or at the deadline to recoup a good bit of what you had to trade in order to acquire him. Because it is a 1 year strategy, it precludes Tallion and Polanco from being a part of the deal. Still it is worth kicking the tires.

    Also, for all of the just-sign-AJ-folks: you do realize that the man has said repeatedly that he’ll play for the Pirates or retire, yes? Or retire! I think we all agree that we would like to see him come back, but it is up to him now, not the Pirates.

  7. How many Championships do the Rays have? All they do is keep building. I understand they made the playoffs last 4/6 years but have never really contended for a championship since 2008. Trading for David Price would make the Pirates serious World Series contenders this year and next year. Whereas now they are just contenders but are in no way guaranteed to duplicate last year. They have enough Pitching and Outfield propsect depth to sustain losing Polanco, Taillon or both. Price, Liriano, Cole…That’s a nasty 1-2-3. Plus Price and Alvarez are really good friends from their Vandy days so I’m sure he’d be happy playing here.

      • Well my counter to that is they wouldn’t have had to be afraid to pitch him against the Cardinals. One huge advantage of Price over AJ is how poorly AJ fairs against the Pirates biggest competition (The Cardinals). I am in favor of trading for Price as long as the Pirates keep one of Polonvo and Taillon.

    • They don’t have anyone on the same level as those two though, and I’d much rather have multiple years of Polanco and Taillon than 2 years of one starting pitcher.

    • That’s a stretch since he can’t hit and doesn’t play first base or right field. Selling the farm for David Price does not make the Pirates anymore of a serious world series contender than they are now.

  8. I don’t want to see the Pirates give up a top prospect(s) to get David Price. Certainly, he is a great pitcher, but the cost to get him will be far too high in my estimation, both in prospects and dollars. Neal Huntington has done a fine job getting the organization on stable ground. To make a deal like what is being described here would not only totally deviate from what he has done all along, it would undermine the organization for many years to come. I say stay the course: continue with developing our own talent and supplement that with free agents and trades that make better sense.

    • I agree exactly. David Price is a great pitcher, and I would love to have him. But not at the likely cost.

      To all, remember how bad the system was, and how long it took to build it up to where we are now. Don’t take our minor league system for granted, it’s not that easy. And getting David Price does not equal winning a World Series, see Tampa Bay.

      And our system was built on high level draft picks, which due to success (yahoo), we don’t have anymore. Based on where we will be drafting in the foreseeable future, (again, yahoo), just won’t be as easy. Pedro Alvarez, Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon don’t fall into the 20’s of the draft, especialy without signabililty being an issue anymore.

      I would rather be the Rays than the Marlins. Even thought the Marlins won a couple of World Series, I would rather be competitive every year than make a run, tear it down and be bad again for five years.

      Stay the course.

  9. They’d be dumb not to check in on what it would take — why not?

    I can’t see the Rays falling in love with lesser players (especially when you look at the Bucs top 5 prospects) as the Tigers did, but when you’re a contender in need of a pitcher you explore all options.

    Thats all I see this as. If the Rays FO for some reason picked up the phone and said “Hanson, Kingham, and Melancon and you got a deal” then Neil would set the phone down, do some cartwheels, and bring Price in for a physical to make sure he didn’t lose all his left fingers in a freak leafblower accident.

    Obviously that wont happen, but they’re paid to be diligent and make such calls.

    • If that deal were offered by the Rays I don’t know that Neil would be able to get the “yes” out as he would be laughing too hard. The Rays always want t prospects in return for their stars….and they always get them.

    • Agreed. That’s, likely, all this is.

      Interestingly, though, if they were ok with the $$$ for Price you’d think they could/should bring back AJ.

      • AJ is at the end of his career while Price is in his prime. I think it is fair to say that Price would command a higher salary on the open market. Also, you can’t force AJ to play if he wants to retire, a possibility that he has discussed openly for almost a year now.

        • How does it matter if Price could command a higher price on the market? The Pirates would get similar production from AJ as Price for the same $$$ this year (about) and wouldn’t have to give up prospects. That’s the only point.

          • Well there is some reason to suspect age-related decline with regards to AJ that is not there regarding Price, but more importantly the Pirates have considered bringing AJ back and AJ is considering retirement. They can’t force him to play so there is no “could/should” about it.

  10. I say trade the farm for Price and a first baseman and rightfielder, spend all the money you have and if you are luckily to win the World Series after all that you can can look for another 21 years like we had from 1992 to 2013. I think a lot of people have gone nuts around here, lol!

  11. Makes no sense. If you want to commit 30 million to a pitcher give the $ to AJ. Won’t cost you any prospects….let alone 2 of your best. You also won’t have to pay AJ that much. Now if AJ says he is retiring and NH knows this then maybe that changes things.

  12. I would love to see Price in a Pirate uniform and I think would give us a great chance at the World Series! However I don’t want Polonco going anywhere. I also think 2 years of Price is not worth losing 6 and a half years of Taillon. I think it would take Taillon and Glasnow or Hanson.

    • Any way the Pirates could get away with Glasnow, Kingham, and Hanson? Still more than what I’d want to give up though!

      Anyways, yeah with Price we’d have two dominant lefties…and Cole along with Morton and if Wandy was healthy that would be a third lefty. That’d be a real tough rotation. But I don’t wanna give up those prospects.

      • That rotation sounds very enticing, but we would be looking at act II (2013 being act I) of exceptional pitching, but no offense to support it. It is too high a price to pay (no pun intended) to get David Price. While you can never have enough pitching, there are other less expensive ways, in both prospects and dollars, that Neal H. could employ to improve and deepen the pitching staff. I think he really needs to prioritize boosting the offense, specifically first base, right field, and the bench. Didn’t we learn enough in 2013 with this punchless, non-situational offense that went one-third of the season without a sacrifice fly?

      • And Taillon in that scenario. I would pull the trigger on that if Tampa would do it. I have huge expectations for Glasnow but this would be a can’t pass this up deal. So we would get Price for Glasnow, Kingham and Hanson. Our rotation would be

        Taillon (once he arrives) Wandy or Locke until then

        I would take that up against anyone! I would love it but I doubt the Rays would do iy.

    • Yeah, I don’t think this would behoove the Pirates at all. You could, theoretically, get the same production for the two years out of AJ for the same financial commitment and no prospect loss. AJ doesn’t have the future that Price does for sure, but really Price only had two years with the team that trades for him. I’d rather save the prospects, keep AJ, and move forward in another direction. This doesn’t make a ton of sense for this team. That aside I love Price…know him actually, but not for the Pirates.

        • Yeah…you’re right, the extra 0.4 WAR is worth the whole top of the minors. Or is your argument that 4.0 WAR vs 4.4 isn’t the definition of similar production? Would you like to discuss era, whip, gb%, as well as K’s? I would guess not bc that won’t support your “counter argument”…I did day that Price had the brighter future, my point was that you get similar production for less with AJ.

        • Well, from 2012-2013,

          Burnett: Innings 393.1, K 23.6%, BB 7.8%, ERA 3.41, FIP 3.17, xFIP 3.17, WAR 7.0

          Price: Innings 397.2, K 22.6%, BB 5.5%, ERA 2.92, FIP 3.04, xFIP, 3.19, WAR 9.1

          Burnett has pitched incredibly well.

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