With all of these Mariners trade rumors floating around, for the love of all things good and potentially good for this Mariners organization, please whatever you do: do not trade for lefty pitcher David Price.
Yes, he leads the AL in strikeouts and is one of the most dominant left-handed pitchers in baseball, but the cost would not be equal to the goods received. Far less, actually.
The Tampa Bay Rays are professional traders: coming from a small-market they are forced to trade top talent before the ends of their contracts to get prospects that can be Major League players. They don’t have the cash to fund star-caliber contracts (save Evan Longoria who took a pay cut).
What they do have is a knack for getting serious prospect talent out of big-name trades. Price would yield those sorts of prospects.
The first reason the Mariners shouldn’t trade for Price is the near certainty that the trade would include Taijuan Walker, a 21-year old right-handed talent who has just started to scratch the surface of his Major League pitching potential.
Being so young and still raw, his ceiling is quite high. And if the Mariners hope and expect to compete as the Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez contracts continue through the years, the team cannot trade away potential ace-type pitching talent for a year-and-a-half loaner pitcher.
Which brings me to reason number 2: David Price would not remain a Seattle Mariner after 2014. He has made it clear on numerous occasions that he would not resign in Seattle.
If the M’s traded for him and he did indeed leave after the 2015 season, this team would be out Walker for sure, and other major prospects in exchange two, MAYBE 3 months of pitching in 2014 and who knows how much in 2015.
Unless the Mariners seriously expect Price’s services to make them a legitimate World Series contender, such an investment for so short a tenure in Seattle would be foolish.
Finally: David Price is not the sort of upgrade the Mariners need right now. Yes, I understand that the Mariners have some of the youngest, most volatile pitchers in baseball, making their stellar, league-leading numbers potentially unsafe.
But still, this team has gone 3 1/2 months with one of the best rotations and best bullpens in the league. That is not a total illusion.
Yes, I believe Price would make the rotation better, but so much better that it would warrant trading away a guy who could make this rotation better for the next 5 years? I don’t think so.
What’s more, the Rays are only 9.5 games back in the AL East, a division that no team has run away with. They still have meaningful games to play, and could be under the impression that they can still make it to the playoffs.
If the Mariners are going to throw too much talent at a trade, it should be for a professional power bat, preferably right-handed.
Once this team finds a righty to bat fourth behind Cano every single day, this lineup will be deep and dangerous.
But the price tag for Price is just too steep.