Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cardinals are taking a hard look at David Price

Usually when it comes to trade rumors, you can discount much of what is being thrown around as just that, rumors.  However, when more than one person is hinting at someone, chances are that it is true.  Like they say "where there's smoke, there's fire".

That appears to be the case when it comes to the Cardinals and Tampa Bay's David Price.  According to Joe Strauss, the Cardinals remain "fixated" on Price, while Derrick Goold indicates that the Cards interest in Price is reminiscent of their pursuit of Matt Holliday in 2009.

This is a bit surprising, as we were told just a week and a half ago, by Goold himself, that the Cardinals were looking for "hitting not (Jake) Peavy".  Of course, Price is not Peavy and, as Strauss points out, beyond Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn, there are many questions surrounding the Cards starting rotation.

Despite the loss of Yadier Molina, there is still the belief that the hitting will come around.  Matt Holliday is starting to heat up.  He is hitting .304/.407/.522 in July and Allen Craig is too good of a hitter to be hitting only .244.

There have been signs of life with the offense and I think that the Cardinals just need to string a few good games together to get on track.  However, the way this season has gone so far, that's a big if.

On the flip side, despite being 3rd in the NL in starters ERA, the Cardinals pitching has been shaky as of late.  Shelby Miller was recently demoted to the bullpen after posting a 7.30 ERA in his last 5 starts, with the Cards saying he looks "tired".  Carlos Martinez has been maddeningly inconsistent, as most rookies are, and Joe Kelly just came off the DL as is still trying to find his form.

Add in that Jaime Garcia is done for the year and Michael Wacha could be out at least until September and you can see why John Mozeliak could be looking to add a pitcher. 

So, if you're going to add a pitcher, why not go big?

Well, according to Goold, there are a couple things the Cardinals will need to sort out first, before they even consider a trade for Price:  (1) the chances of Price re-signing with them and (2) their willingness to pay the high cost (both in terms of money and prospects). 

In his Baseball Tonight podcast last Friday, Buster Olney indicated that he thought that Price would be open to signing an extension with the Cardinals, as St. Louis is close to his hometown of Nashville.

As to the second point, the Cardinals certainly have the money for Price.  Their 2014 opening day payroll of $107 million was less than their 2013 payroll of $115 million.  Plus, they will have the salaries of Jason Motte ($7.5 million) and Mark Ellis ($5.25 million) coming off the books, giving them at least $20 million to play with.  Add in the new MLB TV deal that kicked in this year, as the Cards should be flush with funds.

The main question that remains is whether Mo will be willing to part with the prospects required to last Price.

For his part, Price is making it hard for any team, let alone the Cardinals, to say no, as he has posted an 0.85 ERA over his last 4 starts and a 1.64 ERA over his last 9 starts. 

With 11 days until the deadline, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

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