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MLB Trade Rumors: David Price to the Cardinals?

Ray analyzes what it would take for the Cardinals to trade for Rays ace David Price and the fantasy impact of such a move.

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The Rays have a big decision to make over the next 10 days leading up to the July 31st trade deadline. General manager Andrew Friedman must decide whether he should keep ace David Price and try to make the wild card this season, or dealing him to maximize the return to his ball club. Price is up for arbitration this offseason and could command a salary near $20 million in 2015. That would represent a significant chunk of the team payroll, which will severely limit the moves they can make in the offseason to fill holes.

Should Friedman make the tough decision to deal Price, he will surely want a package that equals or exceeds what the A's gave up for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The Cubs received A's top prospect Addison Russell, outfield prospect Billy McKinney, pitcher Dan Straily and a player to be names later in the deal for the two starting pitchers.

The teams that have the best chance to deal for Price, should they decide they need an ace starting pitcher to shore up their rotation, are the Cardinals, Dodgers, Mariners, among other teams.

The Dodgers have already stated that they do not want to deal any of their top prospects in any deal for Price, including Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, or Julio Urias, but they also want to get to the World Series and trading for Price would improve their chances greatly. Plus, the Dodgers have the budget to sign Price to a long term deal as well, so there is still a chance they change their stance and deal for Price by July 31st.

The Mariners are another team that possess the quality prospects that the Rays require in any deal for Price. The Mariners would have to include pitcher Taijuan Walker in a package for Price. Dealing Walker would not be an easy decision for GM Jack Zdurenciek to make, as the team controls Walker for the next 5-6 years, and Walker has the ceiling of a #1 or 2 starter in the big leagues. But, the Mariners are playing very well right now, and are in the AL wildcard chase. Adding Price to a rotation that already includes ace Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma could spell trouble for opponents over the next two months. But, the fact that Price has already stated he would not sign a long term deal in Seattle could hurt the Rays chances of pulling Seattle into the Price sweepstakes.

The other team that could pull the trigger on a Price trade is the Cardinals. The Cardinals have an excellent farm system, headed by outfield prospect Oscar Taveras, starter Carlos Martinez, Joe Kelly, Stephen Piscotty, among others. The Rays would probably require Taveras in a package in any deal for Price.

ESPN's Buster Olney floated this internal discussion the Cardinals had recently in his Monday morning blog post:

By the way, in at least one corner of the Cardinals' organization, the idea of pursuing a megadeal for Price and Evan Longoria has been kicked around, with the thinking that Matt Carpenter would shift back to second base. But there is zero indication that has ever been brought to the Rays' attention and may be just loose conversation at this point. Coincidentally, Price and Longoria made it to the ballpark in St. Louis on Sunday night to see the end of the Dodgers' victory, and each tweeted about their experience.

A mega-deal involving Longoria would be a blockbuster that would a franchise altering deal for both teams. If this deal would happen, and this is just speculation, the assumption would be the Cardinals would move Matt Carpenter back to second base, which would mean Kolten Wong would almost be a guarantee to be included in the deal.

The Cardinals could be motivated to deal for Price for several reasons:

1. Michael Wacha had an MRI on his ailing shoulder on Monday and won't begin a throwing program for another two weeks. To get his pitch count back up to the 80 pitch range, Wacha will need at least the month of August since he has not thrown since landing on the disabled list.

2. The Cardinals moved young starter Shelby Miller to the bullpen temporarily over the weekend. Miller has been very hittable and has struggled with his control for most of the season. A move to the pen to refine his control is more than likely the main objective for Miller and the Cardinals, but there is talk he could be back in their rotation in the very near future.

The Cardinals are in a three team race in the NL Central and could make the tough decision to deal a controllable hitter like Taveras for another trip to the World Series.

A move to the National League would improve Price's fantasy value a bit, but not much, as he is already an ace pitching in the once tough AL East. The division isn't as good as it's been in previous seasons, but he still has to face the designated hitter. Price could see improvement in his win total, ERA, WHIP and strikeouts with a trade to the NL, and he would certainly be in the top 10 starting pitcher conversation, and maybe even top 5.

Will the Cardinals deal for Price? If not, which team will trade for him, assuming the Rays decide to trade him by the July 31st deadline?

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