MLB Rumor: Are Indians a “sleeper” for David Price trade?

This article is a few days old now, but still very relevant to the Indians set-to-be hectic offseason.

ESPN Insider’s Jim Bowden contemplated on Friday (subscription required) about six potential trade destinations for Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price. The 2012 Cy Young Winner is presumed to be on his way out of Tampa Bay, even though he still has two years left before free agency.

Slotted just below the payroll-heavy Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers, Bowden then remarked the Indians as “a sleeper in the Price sweepstakes.” Bowden wrote that manager Terry Francona might be able to convince the Tribe’s front office to make the signature move.

Primary trade targets in the Cleveland system, per Bowden, are listed as starter Danny Salazar, shortstop Francisco Lindor and infielder Dorssys Paulino. Throw-in options — listed as such likely based on their best-case MLB potential — are catcher Yan Gomes and infielder Jose Ramirez.

For starters, this is just one analyst’s opinion. Bowden is a former GM, but has been known to write some relatively outlandish things in his ESPN Insider tenure. Yet, he was one of the first writers to note Nick Swisher’s “serious consideration” of Cleveland or the team’s interest in Michael Bourn.

Price, who turned 28 in August, had a slow start to this past season and still finished with a 10-8 record and 3.33 ERA in 27 starts. For his career, he has a 3.19 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. He ranks among the top 12 in strikeouts, ERA and innings pitched for all players in the last four seasons combined.

But Price will be set for a huge payday when his free agency day arrives after the 2015 season. Heck, he already earned a tad of $10 million in his first arbitration-eligible season this past year. Per MLBTradeRumors’ arbitration estimates, that amount will likely jump to $13 million for 2014. So it’s likely that prospect haul and financial costs might be a bit too much for the Cleveland organization.

The Indians still desperately need another starter to pair alongside Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister and Salazar for next year. As of now, their best in-house options are Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Josh Tomlin. So Price would obviously be the best possible scenario for the rotation. But it could deplete the team’s resources a bit too much for comfort.

[Related: The Diff: Indians offseason, 2014 salary and contention windows]

  • Mike Stein

    Not sure who would be the bigger idiot, Bowden for suggesting the Indians trade all that for David Price, or the Indians if they would actually do it.

  • Mike Stein

    Not sure who would be the bigger idiot, Bowden for suggesting the Indians trade all that for David Price, or the Indians if they would actually do it.

  • MoreGolfLessWork

    agreed. terrible trade for the tribe

  • Ed Carroll

    Wouldn’t be a terrible trade but it’s riskier than I’d want to gamble. Plus, Price wouldn’t just be making $13 million in 2014- the Rays actually deferred about $4 million of his 2013 salary to 2014, so it’s more like an estimated $17 million. I wouldn’t want to pay that and give up talent, I’d rather just sign Ubaldo to a four-year deal if they’re thinking that. Price is better than Ubaldo for sure, but as I said the talent given up makes me nervous. Would rather acquire Carlos Martinez for Lindor if we have to do that.

  • Harv 21

    This is absolutely not a “rumor,” like Swisher’s reported interest in the Tribe. This is a spitball, one guy’s personal musings as column filler. And it clearly makes so little sense not sure why it’s worth discussion by those who understand how the tribe plans, what it has and what it needs.

    Let’s move on.

  • Jaker

    As much as I would love to see us go out and make a deal for a lefty Ace like Price (rather than deal one for a change), the price for Price(thank you, thank you) is just way to steep.

    No way are we dealing Salazar or Lindor, nontheless both of them

  • Ed Carroll

    I’d trade one of them for Price for sure, and hell, I’d even deal both in separate deals or the right deal. Price wouldn’t be that. He’s the best SP available (better than Scherzer for sure), but it’s too costly there. Salazar is a nice pitcher but I doubt he ever gets on that level.

  • mgbode

    sounds like the Jaret Wright for Pedro deal? I could see us dealing those 2 (and only those 2) if he came with a signed extension. Not sure we could afford that extension though.

  • Ed Carroll

    Ya, the whole “Salazar is untouchable” thing smacks of the Wright situation. And ya the Indians couldn’t afford that extension, they could barely afford him in arbitration. Pitching is expensive, yo.

  • mgbode

    and that is the reason that Salazar is nearly untouchable (because he’s also cheap) 🙂

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Are we sure that Bowden didn’t mean Vincent Price?

  • nj0

    Cards talking about trading for Tulo.

  • Waiting for WFNY to buy ESPN..

    According to Bowden, a fair trade of a primary, secondary, and throw in guy would consist of Lindor, Cody Anderson, and Yan Gomes. I’ve gotta say, it’s absolutely pitiful that the “world wide leader in sports” consistently throws this dribble out there. Not to mention, this is insider material!!! The worst writer from WFNY, Fearthesword or Indiansbaseballinsider makes Bowden look like an 8 year old with a copy of mlb 2k5. Olney, Law and Berry are the only guys with half a brain on ESPN.

  • mgbode

    such a St.Louis thing to do. that lineup would be even scarier.

    also, Dodgers talking trading OFers. we need an OFer and they might eat a bunch of the contract for one of their main guys if they like the prospects enough (I don’t believe they are seriously considering moving Puig).

    of their guys, Ethier is the one that I would want the most, but, even with him, they’d probably need to agree to pay $20-30mil of his contract over the next 4 seasons to even get discussions started with us (he’s due $18mil/year starting in ’15).

  • nj0

    With their farm system, I don’t see why they wouldn’t trade for something very, very good rather than just a stop gap.

    As much as I would like us upgrading in the outfield, I think I’d rather spend that money on pitching and stand pat in LF/RF.

  • nj0

    Insider Information = stuff we made up

  • nj0

    Passing off opinion and/or speculation as fact and/or analysis = SPORTS JOURNALISM!!!

  • mgbode

    depends on who for that pitching really. as you have said multiple times, go get the wins however you can (I agree that we have more to gain in pitching, but we’ve got to get them where we can).

  • woofersus

    The big problem with this is that if the Rays can’t afford an extension for Price it’s unlikely we could either. It’s vaguely possible that the FO might consider a short term move at the expense of the future to make an all-out push for a championship, but on the whole I consider it unlikely they would trade one of the organization’s most valuable young pieces for a guy we can only have for two seasons. (and have to consider trading in the second one if we can’t extend) Also, if they trade Salazar then there is still a need in the starting rotation.

  • Steve

    Bowden is on the low end of the Insider depth chart, but even the best writers at those sites couldn’t provide anywhere near the info that he can around the league.

    He did know about Swisher and Bourn before most people.

  • saggy

    I think Scherzer is the better of the two. He has just found himself and he seems like a guy who can put together 3 or 4 more excellent years.

    In my opinion, Price is on the downside – albeit down from great heights. I think his injury this year will lead to more in the future. I don’t think we’ll see a 20W/sub3.00ERA season from him again.

    Price’s high K total is 218. Scherzer struck out 240 this season and 231 last year. He is 29, which is right in the prime of a pitcher’s career.

  • Ed Carroll

    Well, Price is 28, so he’s younger than Scherzer, has pitched fewer innings in his career, and Scherzer also has a much more violent delivery. Price was fine since returning from the injury.

    Price led the league with a 1.3 BB/9 ratio. Scherzer, by compairson, had a 2.4 BB/9 ratio. Price also had a better K/BB ratio (5.59, compared to 4.29 for Scherzer).

    I like Scherzer just fine. But Price is the better pitcher, now and in the future – regardless of how many wins he gets.

  • Ed Carroll

    Bowden’s a joke, but the Rays would laugh at an offer of Lindor, Anderson and Gomes.

  • Steve

    You think so? Maybe I’m overrating in Gomes in expecting him to keep going at a fairly high level, but I think they’d seriously consider it – Lindor is that good, and that highly considered.

  • Ed Carroll

    Well, yes – Lindor is that good, but they also have a pretty good SS prospect themselves in Hak-Ju Lee. Is Lindor better? Yep, at least right now. But I’m not sure the difference is enough to give up David Price. I admit I’m not as optimistic about Gomes as others are, but catcher is one area where the Rays are somewhat weak, so yeah, maybe he interests them. But Anderson doesn’t have a ton of trade value yet, and believe me, the Rays can get much better offers than those three. It would likely have to be Lindor and Salazar to start the offer (and then a couple other guys, like Naquin/Luigi Rodriguez, and maybe a young RP).

  • Waiting for WFNY to buy ESPN..

    Ed Carroll, sorry but you’re insane. Lindor is that good, so I won’t defend him. I don’t know a lot about Hak Ju Lee, but he did miss almost all of 2013 due to knee injuries and he didn’t exactly light it up in 2012. I can’t really judge a prospect I haven’t seen but Lindor is probably a significant upgrade. Yan Gomes had a phenomenal season and wouldn’t be a FA until after 2019. I don’t understand your lack of optimism, he hit for a high average, high OBP, high power, played phenomenal defense, what else could he have done?

    I admit I may be overly optimistic towards Anderson, but he was incredible last year and I really think he’s a potential #2 or #3 starter by 2015. The indians weren’t the only team to see his awesome season and his combination of velocity (sits around 93), control (2.7 career BB/9), very large frame at 6’4″ 220 and a great cutter (a pitch that’s extremely effective against lefties) make him a great prospect. I think he’s the 4th prospect next year behind Lindor, Frazier, and Ramirez

    There is no way that David Price at 2 years, $30+ million is more valuable than Gomes, Lindor, and Anderson. To say that the Rays would laugh at that offer is just incorrect.