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.