If Rays decide to trade David Price, should Twins be in on him?
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The Tampa Bay Rays are currently in the thick of an American League pennant chase, but over the next few months they might be in the thick of swirling trade discussions.
There is strong speculation around baseball that the Rays will trade ace left-hander David Price this offseason, much the same way they traded No. 2 starter James Shields last winter.
The Rays operate under some of the strictest budget constraints of any team in baseball, so their blueprint involves drafting and developing players, squeezing everything they can out of them for a few years, then trading them for a coupe a year or two before they hit free agency.
Some of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement rules make it more difficult for teams to cash in via trade on players who are one year away from free agency, so teams are more and more open now to trading players two years before free agency instead.
Shields was two years away from free agency when the Rays traded him to the Kansas City Royals last winter for MLB's top hitting prospect, Wil Myers, and one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, Jake Odorizzi (and a couple other intriguing prospects).
Price, 28, also has two years left of team control. He makes $10 million this year and will probably make near $35 million combined over the next two seasons via arbitration. Starting in 2016, Price will likely command a multi-year deal worth at least $20 million per year.
The Twins certainly have the financial resources (but perhaps not the willingness) to fulfill Price's salary requirements, and the Rays have a track record of developing some of the healthiest, strongest pitchers in baseball, so the injury risk is likely lower.
If you called the shots at Target Field, what would you give up to land Price? If Shields was worth Myers (Baseball America's No. 4 prospect heading into 2013) and Odorizzi (No. 45), would the Twins have to give up either Byron Buxton or Miguel Sano?
Or would the Rays listen on guys like Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks, Eddie Rosario, J.O. Berrios and Alex Meyer?
Price, by the way, owns a 3.19 career ERA (3.39 FIP) with 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings and an average of 207 innings per season since 2010.