Passan: Price Sweepstakes to Heat Up | The Process Report

Passan: Price Sweepstakes to Heat Up

David Price is expected to be a hot topic during next week’s winter meetings. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, the Mariners and Dodgers are amongst a handful of teams that have interest in the left hander and the means to get a deal done.

At the beginning of the off-season, we mentioned that while the Rays are expected to deal Price, they do not have to make a deal for the sake of dealing. Passan echoes this sentiment, saying “executives concede Tampa Bay is dealing from a strong position with Price. The Rays certainly don’t need to trade him – they’re coming off their fourth playoff appearance in six years and have room in their budget for him this season – but also understand they’re likelier to extract more value by dealing him with two full years.” Simply put, the Rays may certainly trade Price, but it will be at their price for a lack of a better term.

Of the teams mentioned in his article, Passan leans on the Mariners the most. This is backed by Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, who says the Rays have looked into several of the M’s top young players including prized right-hander Taijuan Walker. Flipping back to Passan, he says while Tampa Bay is not locked into any particular type of player, it is believed they want a major league-ready pitcher. Walker would satisfy that craving. Beyond Walker, there are several names to speculate on ranging from Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino to James Paxton and perhaps a lower-level talent like Gabriel Guerrero.

Earlier in the day, Blue Jays’ General Manager Alex Anthopoulos gave a candid interview, going in depth on his talks with Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski in regards to Doug Fister. While the Jays certainly have the talent to match the Nationals offer, Dombrowski appeared to have a certain type of player on his mind instead of perhaps getting the best players available regardless of fit.

With respect to Detroit, I definitely reached out to them. One, you always reach out to every team in the off-season to see where you might line up, in a sense, but we knew– they were very candid to say that they were going to look see if they could move one of their starters. They weren’t necessarily committed to who would be moved, but one of them was probably going to be moved and Smyly was going to go into the rotation, so, it was one of those things that– Dave’s great to deal with, he’s very candid and up front– he just said, ‘We looked at all of the organizations, and we’re looking for certain players, and we don’t know that we line up in trade with you guys.’


I asked him, ‘Anybody that fits?’ He was looking for very specific things. He said, look, for a deal like this, and what he was going to look to do, we didn’t necessarily have the right fit.

There is different strokes for different folks. Dombrowski has to operate in what he feels is the best interest of his team. Andrew Friedman does as well does. With that said, I shared some thoughts on twitter:

Thinking about Dombrowski & specific needs/wants vs max value. Believe #rays would go for max deal w/Price regardless of where pieces fit

— Tommy Rancel (@TRancel) December 5, 2013


The strategy of collecting assets first & figuring out where they go or how you can turn them into something else you need later #Rays

— Tommy Rancel (@TRancel) December 5, 2013

To further illustrate my thoughts, let’s go back to the Mariners. Walker would certainly be of interest to the Rays as well as a potential fit. But what about a player like Zunino? The Rays have locked up two veteran catchers to multi-year deals this week and hold the rights to Jose Lobaton through arbitration. Why add another back stop when they need a first baseman? Here is where I think Friedman’s philosophy would differ from Dombrowski’s as explained by Anthopoulos.

Based on nothing but speculation, I believe Friedman would jump at a package consisting of Walker and Zunino regardless of the current roster construction over one that may fill more needs but is of lesser quality. With the greater talent, Friedman could move one of his current players or the acquired player that does not necessarily fit – for this exercise that is Zunino – for a piece(s) that does match or perhaps for another quality arm and a lesser part that will plug a hole.

No one knows when or if anything will happen, but it will be definitely interesting to watch over the next few days.


  1. Jeremy wrote:

    I’m hoping Justin Smoak would be involved in that deal. He fits the bill as a Rays type first baseman. While Walker is no doubt a number 3 starter at minimum, do you believe the Rays should still look for middle infield insurance. Escobar’s contract is up next year(not sure if we have option), and Zobrist is up in 2014 I believe. And do you believe Hak-Ju-Lee makes opening day roster?

    • Jason Collette wrote:

      Working backwards – Lee won’t make the opening day roster. He’ll need time in Durham to get his legs back underneath him. Adding middle infield insurance in the organization would be nice because it is lacking at the upper levels. Smoak’s involvement in a deal would create a problem for the Mariners at the position since they no longer have Morales (unless they re-sign him). The FA 1B market, once Loney and Hart come off it, is ugly. If the Rays can’t get Hart, it is more likely 1B comes from a trade from a team with multiple options (Mets) than it does from what’s left in free agency.

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