Sidebar: Ken Rosenthal has a great new notes column. But, Ken, no thanks on James Shields, unless the trade price is cheap, since he's a free agent after this year. And, he's a few years older than Price, too. I'd offer the Royals no more than 50 cents on the trade dollar as compared to Price.
With Price? If the Cardinals can't sign Price to an Adam Wainwright-level extension (maybe $1M or so a year more, if Waino gets the same), since he's not a free agent until after 2015, the team can always make the qualifying offer and get the draft choice back.
The Cards' offer back starts with what I suggested in March. Either Lance Lynn or Shelby Miller, plus an outfielder not named Oscar Taveras. (I'd offer Jon Jay first, Peter Bourjos second, I think, then Stephen Piscotty third. If Tampa asks about Randal Grichuk, then I think a bit more.) I'd throw in Greg Garcia, as Tampa can use him to replace Ben Zobrist, whom I assume they'll not resign after this year. I really think that he could be key to fueling a deal. (As I blogged here, the increasing use of infield defensive shifts by other teams, catching up with the pioneering Rays, probably explains why the defensive rating of Zobrist, and other Rays infielders, has declined this year, or at least, it is a serious part of such an explanation.) Given where Tampa is at on contracts and age and costs at both corner OF spots and 1B, I don't see them wanting Allen Craig.
I would consider Alexander Reyes as a part of any deal. I would NOT consider Marco Gonzales. He's moved a lot further up the ranks, shown a lot more actuality, not just potential, at least at his various minors levels, and, he's a lefty. As for minors position players, Aledmys Diaz, like Gonzales, is not for sale on this deal.
If a back-of-rotation majors pitcher, like a Joe Kelly or Tyler Lyons, further lubricates such a trade, OK.
Now, from a Cards' point of view, if it's either Lynn or Miller, which do you give up? Miller's got more upside touting, but, he's regressed from last year. At the same time, he's further away from arbitration, which makes him more appealing to the Rays.
Regular readers here know I'm no Lynn fan, but, if keeping him for another year is part of the price of Price, then that's what it is, and I'm less of an anti-fan than I was a year ago.
Oh, and Cards fans? Per discussion I'm running into on MLB Trade Rumors, I hope you're not acting like fans of other teams who follow prospects in general, and acting like the "junior general managers" that John Mozeliak has called out, and insisting that Taveras is a center fielder.
Update, June 23: With not one but two Cards pitchers (above and beyond Joe Kelly) now moved to the DL, I think Price trade talks by the Cards will be on hold a bit, especially if Tampa wants two pitchers back in the deal.
At the same time, per my first comment to Tyler in comments, Price IS getting moved. And, per the teams listed by a local columnist, it's, relatively speaking, a buyer's market, not a seller's one.
It has become increasingly obvious that the Rays likely — if not absolutely, positively — are going to trade Price over the next 51/2 weeks until the July 31 deadline. They can't afford to keep him long term. They're not going to win with him this year (the thought that they would was part of the reason he wasn't dealt over the winter). And every five days they wait to trade him reduces his value because that means one fewer start he makes for his new team.So, there you go, Mr. Rhodes, and others who think I'm proposing a lowball offer. Just as I said, so says Marc Topkin. And, if you'll look at what he mentions as possible deals with non-Cardinal teams, you'll see that what I mentioned, especially in the second paragraph of players, where I expand beyond my initial list, is in no way a lowball offer.
In fact, let's take a look at these:
Angels: 1B C.J. Cron, 2B Alex Yarbrough
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez, RHP Alberto Tirado
White Sox: 2B Micah Johnson, RHP Erik Johnson, RHP Chris Beck
Yankees: C Gary Sanchez, RHP Luis Severino, C Peter O'Brien
Braves: LHP Alex Wood, RHP Lucas Sims, additional pitching prospect
And, let's analyze.
Angels? A decent prospect 2B plus a just called-up 1B/DH when Rays 1B James Loney is under contract for two more full seasons and primary DH David DeJesus is signed for one more full year plus a team option.
Jays? Two prospect pitchers, one of whom, Sanchez, may, or may not, be ready for the big top in 2015, and the other who may, or may not, be ready a year later.
ChiSox? Micah Johnson is a cut below Yarbrough of the Angels system. Erik Johnson? OK in the minors, unimpressive two years straight at the big show. Beck? Still a AA prospect.
Yankees? Sanchez could be OK at catcher. Severino? Unknown quality prospect at low minors. O'Brien? Has power, but, why would you trade for two catchers? For that matter, Mr. Topkin, given the Yankees' strapped farm system, why would they trade away two catchers? Plus, the idea that the Rays would trade in-division is iffy, so just nix this one.
Braves? Alex Wood has some potential. Call him a younger Shelby Miller, or younger Lance Lynn. Lucas Sims? Low-minors prospect. If Topkin thinks the Braves would throw in a third pitcher, but he doesn't even have a name to offer, that's weak tea indeed.
None of these is better than what I suggested the Cardinals offer. If Cron is the real verschnizzle with the Angels, it's the only one in the same ballpark.
So, Mr. Rhodes, and you others who think I'm a homer, a lowballer, or baseball ignorant, both now and in a follow-up post which I will do, if you think my suggested Cardinals offer for Price is being a "homer," I suggest you get a freaking clue. Because Cards fans think my final-offer version might be an overpay.
So, again, I suggest a reality check. Or a read of the Tampa Bay Times.
Because, at least at NBC, there's a couple of you that are FAR more "homer" than any Cards fan I've met there.
And, the more time I spend at NBC, gthe