The new coined phrase for this year’s MLB hot stove is “sticker shock”. It goes for potential trades as well.
So the Atlanta Braves contacted the Chicago Cubs in regards to pitcher Jeff Samardzija. We’ve been hearing some rumblings of their interest. But Mark Bowman of MLB.com provides out next bit of intel.
While thoughts of landing Price might have only existed in the fantasy world, the Braves were genuinely interested in finding out what it would take to bring Samardzija to Atlanta. That interest quickly died when the Cubs indicated they would be looking for a return package that included either Jason Heyward or Justin Upton.
Two words I’d like to point out here: return package. To me, that indicates the Cubs wanted more than just either Heyward or Upton.
Think about this though. Upton’s contract is up after the 2015 season. Heyward will be eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, same as Samardzija. Not so whimsical anymore, but this is the only ground where this potential deal would make any sense for the Braves.
Even then, sending more than either Upton or Heyward is simply, well, silly.
What makes this seem like a “grab” is there have been varying reports from as far back as the spring that the Samardzija camp had turned down an extension offer (five years, $55MM). A week ago, the same; no extension, possible trade. These extension talks aren’t exactly progressing at a blinding pace. Can’t get the guy to stay, what do you do? Trade him, of course.
Within the same article, Bowman, as seen from the above quote, mentions David Price, the Tampa Bay Rays pitcher. Now, Price, like Samardzija, has two years before hitting free agency. We know the return for Price would be monstrous and the likelihood of the acquiring team extending Price’s contract or coaxing him to re-sign might be a bit murky.
To set up here. Remember when the Cincinnati Reds acquired Mat Latos from the San Diego Padres? Well, yes, Latos did have more years of team control, but look at what the Reds delivered to the Padres: a former All-Star pitcher (Edinson Volquez) and three of the Reds’ top 10 prospects (Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger). The Padres has themselves quite a haul even in the eyes of some Reds fans.
Forward to yesterday. Here’s Bowman again.
With this year’s free-agent pool not containing an ace, Price has stood as the only one that has been available (via trade) since the World Series concluded. If there were any doubts about the fact the Rays are looking for a significant return in exchange for Price, they were confirmed when the Braves learned the cost would likely include Alex Wood, Christian Bethancourt and at least two other top prospects.
And that’s for two years of control, maybe more if you’re lucky. And it doesn’t stop there.
According to Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer, the Indians asked about Price, too.
I was told those two were starting points, and the Rays also wanted some top minor league prospects. I heard Francisco Lindor‘s name also was mentioned.
Price’s agent has already said the lefty won’t sign an extension with some teams. That includes Seattle, where Price may be headed. It’s doubtful that Cleveland is high on his wish list.
From the Tribe’s point of view, dealing Santana, Salazar and a top prospect such as Lindor for a pitcher likely to leave after two years is a lousy deal.
Let’s see. A top catching prospect, a starter with a little MLB experience and a pair of top prospects. Now we can round and round about Salazar and Wood or Bethancourt and Santana all we want, but the crux here is that the Rays were basically (note: basically) asking for a similar “return package” from both Atlanta and Cleveland.
And the price (literally and figuratively) is steep. To get, you gotta give.
So much for giving is better than receiving, huh?
Oh, by the way, the Rays response…
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 18, 2013