The biggest name on this year’s baseball trade market is Tampa Bay Rays lefty David Price. No one knows where the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner will wind up but on Thursday we got a clue as to who was interested.
The Seattle Mariners are reportedly in talks to acquire both Price and second baseman Ben Zobrist from the Rays. The surprising Mariners currently have a 51-44 record and sit eight games behind the Oakland A’s for first place in the AL West. They are currently hanging on to the final wild card spot in the AL as well.
So far this season Price has a 9-7 record with a 3.23 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and a major league-best 164 strikeouts in 147.2 innings. The 28-year-old also carries a WAR of 2.2. Meanwhile the versatile Zobrist is hitting .266, with six home runs, 24 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .352. The 33-year-old also has a WAR of 2.2.
If Seattle managed to acquire Price, the team would easily boast the majors’ best one-two punch at the top of its rotation. No one could match a combination of Felix Hernandez and Price, not even the Los Angeles Dodgers with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
In order to acquire Price the Mariners have a long way to go though. They would undoubtedly have to unload at least one or two of their top prospects. Righty Taijuan Walker is a possibility, as is lefty James Paxton and third baseman (and 2013 first-round pick) D.J. Peterson.
Price is making $14 million this season and is arbitration eligible this offseason. He will be a free agent after next season and is obviously in line for a huge contract. Any team acquiring him would have to weigh giving up top prospects against the potential of losing him in free agency after the 2015 season.
Right now the Mariners are in the driver’s seat, but they are sure to have competition as the trade deadline approaches.