Last week I opined as to what the Cardinals needs might be heading into trading season. Bullpen help is their main priority, but there is also the possibility that the Cardinals could make a big splash and try to pull off a blockbuster deal.
A little while ago, Ken Rosenthal suggested that the Cards should pursue a big-name starting pitcher, such as David Price and, with the recent elbow issues of Adam Wainwright, that is a distinct possibility. However, Rosenthal recently indicated that the team is hesitant to go shopping for a starter, as they still have internal options, such as Joe Kelly and Carlos Martinez.
Early indications are that Wainwright's injury is not serious, but it does raise concerns. Waino is definitely the Cardinals ace and while Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and Jaime Garcia have all pitched well, a long-term injury to Wainwright would definitely hurt the Cards playoff chances.
Plus, could you imagine a big 3 of Wainwright, Wacha and Price in the playoffs? The Cardinals would definitely be tough to beat.
Price would be under team control through the 2015 season, which means he is not the typical "rental" player available this time of year and it would give the Cards time to negotiate a potential extension with him.
Obviously, there are a lot of benefits to acquiring Price, but at what cost?
The best comparison to determine the asking price for Price is to look at the Rays trade of James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals in December 2012. At that time, the Rays acquired Wil Meyers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard from the Royals for those two pitchers.
To put that package in perspective, Meyers was the Royals #1 prospect and the 4th best in all of baseball according to Baseball America. Odorizzi was the Royals #5 prospect and ranked 92nd overall by Baseball America. Montgomery had fallen off the charts a bit, but was once a top 50 prospect and Leonard was a low-level, unranked power hitting prospect.
What might the equivalent package be that the Cards would have to pony up for Price?
Well, you have to consider that the Royals were getting two quality arms in their deal, however Price is considered a much better pitcher than either Shields or Davis, so that probably balances out.
Thus, I would think that any discussion would probably start with Oscar Taveras. The Cards would probably have to include a pitcher who is close to major-league ready as well, such as Tim Cooney and then a couple lesser prospects.
The question then is: Is it worth the cost?
Would you be willing to part with your top hitting prospect for arguably the best pitcher on the market?
Considering the logjam of outfielders that the Cards have in their system both in the majors (Matt Holliday, Peter Bourjos, Jon Jay and Allen Craig), as well as at AAA (Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk) and even AA (James Ramsey), parting with a top talent like Taveras for a lefthanded "ace" like Price is a little less painfull.
Overall, I think that, if the Cards could land Price for some package involving Taveras, they should go for it. Pitching wins championships.
What do you think?