David Price Trade More Logical for Diamondbacks Now than Ever
Bradley was originally set to battle with Randall Delgado for the fifth rotation spot, but now there doesn’t appear to be a spot for either in the rotation. So that would make them both expendable? You could spin it that way. Likewise, D’Backs General Manager Kevin Towers said yesterday that, between Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings, whomever doesn’t emerge as the team’s starting shortstop will likely end up back in the minors. Both are young, promising players at a prime position, and one will become expendable by the end of Spring Training.
Earlier in the offseason, the Diamondbacks were picked by many as the favorites to trade for Rays ace David Price. However, it was reported that teams were balking at Tampa Bay’s asking price, and as a result, Price is still a Ray as the team gets set to report to Spring Training. But with Delgado, Bradley and one of Gregorius and Owings set to be without big-league jobs, the D’Backs have trade ammunition. Additionally, whomever Price would replace in the rotation would be expendable, and Arizona boasts a farm system filled with young promising pitchers (which the Rays like, if you haven’t heard).
Needless to say, the Diamondbacks wouldn’t necessarily deal every one of the previously-mentioned players in a deal for Price, but the fact remains that with the emergence of both Gregorius and Owings and the signing of Arroyo, the team has a surplus at multiple high-value positions, meaning they could afford to overpay for a top commodity like Price while still having more than enough depth (specifically in terms of young pitching). The team clearly wants to compete, as indicated by the multiple high-profile transactions the front office has made this winter, and dealing for Price would put an exclamation point on Arizona’s offseason.
In addition to Price, the Rays have other pieces that could be attractive to the Diamondbacks, namely Jose Lobaton and Sean Rodriguez. Currently, the team has no obvious candidate to back up Paul Goldschmidt at first base, and light-hitting Tuffy Gosewisch is tabbed as Miguel Montero‘s backup at catcher. While Lobaton didn’t put up overwhelming numbers at the plate last season, he had a knack for clutch hitting (both as a starter and a pinch-hitter), and was one of the game’s better defensive catchers. Rodriguez was less impressive, but is capable of playing any position besides pitcher or catcher (though utility men are usually the first to take on either), and could suddenly give the D’Backs enough infield depth at all four spots. Backups at any position are never a reason to pull the trigger a blockbuster trade, but acquiring either (or both) would quietly make the big-league team better.
For the Rays, while they already have an ample supply of young pitching, acquiring a top arm like Archie Bradley would help fill the void left by the departure of Price. The trade would also give them an opportunity to acquiring multiple big-league ready arms, which would allow the Rays to replace Jeremy Hellickson, who’s scheduled to be out until at least May with an elbow injury.
if Kevin Towers and company were looking for reasons to push them over the edge, there are suddenly plenty on the table. And for the Rays, if they ever plan on dealing Price, they won’t ever get more value for their ace than now.
The Diamondbacks need as much star power as they can get if they’re going to win a division that features the expensive Dodgers, revamped Giants and much-improved Rockies and Padres, and the Rays need to acquiring low-cost talent for Price before they end up losing him for just a first-round pick in free agency. A match? It seems so.
Follow Michael Natelli on Twitter @MichaelNatelli.