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Mariners, Rays discussing David Price, Ben Zobrist trade

Jul 17, 2014, 6:06 PM EST

David Price David Price

In the interests of maximizing their return, the Rays probably aren’t looking to package David Price and Ben Zobrist in the same deal. The Mariners, though, have enough talent to make it worth their while.

According to FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi, the two teams are discussing the pair of All-Stars. They’ll be expensive, as both are under control through 2015. Price is looking at making $17 million-$20 million in arbitration next year, while Zobrist’s contract includes a bargain $7.5 million option for 2015.

Any Price deal between the Rays and Mariners seems likely to include right-hander Taijuan Walker, who first reached the majors last September and is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in five major league starts. The 21-year-old is healthy again now after missing the first two months with shoulder inflammation.

The Rays will also be interested in the Mariners’ crop of young infielders, a group that includes current starting shortstop Brad Miller, shortstop prospect Chris Taylor and former first-round picks Nick Franklin and D.J. Peterson. Catcher Mike Zunino would be another obvious target, but the Mariners would have a difficult time trading him with no fallback available.

For Price alone, a deal bringing back Walker, Franklin and a lesser talent might be sufficient for the Rays. Adding Zobrist to the mix, though, would increase the price substantially. Miller’s inclusion makes some sense for both teams. The Rays would love to bring in a long-term shortstop with their own former top prospect, Hak-Ju Lee, having stalled out. Plus, the Mariners could afford to part with Miller if they get Zobrist. For one thing, Zobrist can still play shortstop adequately. Plus, they’d still have the option of giving Taylor a shot and putting Zobrist in the outfield. Taylor has hit .315/.391/.493 in 270 at-bats for Triple-A Tacoma this season.

Alternatively, if the Mariners want to do a deal without giving up a big chunk of this year’s team, Peterson would be a nice piece for the Rays. Nominally a third baseman, Peterson projects as a first baseman in the majors. He’s hit .314/.371/.578 with 34 homers in 547 at-bats since being selected 12th overall out of the University of New Mexico last year. He’s currently in Double-A, and he could be ready to replace James Loney by mid-2015.

  1. indaburg - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Where do the Padres enter this equation? Is this a three-way deal?

    I hate to see these two guys go. I understand the economics, but I hate it.

    • indaburg - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:39 PM

      Ah, Padres in the headline was a typo.

  2. proudlycanadian - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    The Rays do not like to trade within their division,: so a trade with The Mariners might work.

  3. barrybondsisthealltimehomerunking - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:23 PM

    Felix, Price, and Iwakuma in a playoff series would be tough.

  4. familyandfriendsphoto - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    The Reds would love to have Zobrist.

  5. worldchampionseahawks - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    I don’t like it….even with those two there is no guarantee the Mariners make the playoffs this year. I think the Ms are real close, but to give up all that talent only to have to still spend that much money doesn’t make sense to me. They have a shot this year and an even better one next year with all the youngsters!

    • illbarry - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      I think trading Walker or Peterson would be a mistake and too high of a price for this season. I agree they could make the play-offs this and have a good shot, but I really think next year is the year. Next year my own thought is they could go deep with the pitching even better. Price is not that young to be giving up the farm.

      • ffnogoodnik - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:31 PM

        Seattle is 8 games out of the division so getting Price for this season who would have perhaps 12/13 starts would not be worth giving up Walker.

        Yes, if the season ended today they would have the second wild card, but all that gives them is 1 game. In 1 game, anything can happen so I do not think it would be worth it for the M’s to give up that much for Price

      • tuberippin - Jul 18, 2014 at 4:31 AM

        2015:

        C – Zunino
        1B – Peterson
        2B – Cano
        SS – Miller
        3B – Seager
        LF – Ackley/Morrison
        CF – Almonte/Jones
        RF – Saunders/Franklin
        DH – Hart?

        Rotation – Hernandez, Walker, Iwakuma, Paxton, Elias
        bullpen – Young?, Farquhar, Rodney, Medina, Wilhelmsen, Furbush

        That team could win the AL West next season if the A’s were to take a step back.

      • hittfamily - Jul 18, 2014 at 6:16 AM

        You guys are nuts if you think the M’s overpay. This team sucks! I’m not even saying that to be mean, or troll, or anything. They have 2 above average players, and 1 average player. LF, below average. CF, below average. RF, below average. DH, below average. 1st base, below average. SS, below average. C, average.

        For whatever reason, they are still in the race for the division, and lead the second wild card. They have 2 very good SP, an adequate SP, and the rest are either hurt, too young, or bums. Zobrist and Price will add 5 wins to your total this year, and about 10 to next year’s. Go for it now, because this is not exactly some excellent baseball team. But they are in the drivers seat, and come postseason, anybody can win. The 83 win Cards proved that in ’06.

        Ackley: 300 PA, .280 OBP
        Hart: 200 PA, .290 OBP
        LoMo: 150 PA, .275 OBP
        Smoak: 250 PA, .275 OBP
        Miller: 300 PA, .275 OBP
        Zunino: 300 PA, .260 OBP

        My goodness, you only have 4 guys, starters or not, with an OPS over .680. That is pitiful! But again, with only 2 good pitchers, and only 2 good hitters, you find yourself in the hunt. Make a move, and try to go to the post season for the first time in over a decade. 27 mil for the 15 wins Price and Zobrist will add this year and next is so, so cheap.

    • moogro - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:35 PM

      Big gamble with the A’s and Angels rolling. Likely on the outside looking in on that wild card.

      • lonnie49 - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:07 PM

        there are two wild cards now.

    • hiflew - Jul 18, 2014 at 7:51 AM

      You need a guarantee to make the playoffs this year, but you okay with the assumption that all of those prospects will pan out and make the Mariners a winning club next year? I don’t understand your thinking on that one. This isn’t a 3 month rental, you get Price next year too. David Price this year and next year is more of a guarantee than Walker, Paxton, and Peterson combined. Plus, once he pitches in that cavernous Seattle stadium, he might not want to leave.

      I get that Mariners got burned with the Erik Bedard trade, but that trade was an outlier among trades for ace pitchers. Usually the team acquiring the ace is the winning team (Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, 3 Cliff Lee trades, etc) in the long run or at the very least it works for both teams.

  6. geejon - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    I can understand the Mariners going for it by adding a sure thing in Price as opposed to hoping their prospects turn out to be what’s hoped. Smoak has disappointed and Franklin, though younger, has been given a couple of shots to stick and hasn’t. They could wait on Walker but Cano isn’t getting any younger so you got to bring guys who’ll perform NOW.

    As for Zobrist, I’d be careful not to give up too much. The guy’s 33 and has been going downhill for a couple years now. He’s really struggled this year as well and won’t ever put up the numbers he did a couple years ago. Yeah he’s versatile but if the Rays are trying to peddle him as the 29 y/o version I’d pass and let them rip someone else off.

    • illbarry - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:28 PM

      I do not think Price is a sure thing at all. Walker is only 21 and to trade him now would be a huge mistake. I do not see where he is injury prone, yes he got injured, but to my recollection he hasn’t gotten injured before. The middle infield will boil down to who the mariners want the most. To many Smoak from day one has been a disappointment for the meer reason he was traded for Cliff Lee who was never going to sign with the Mariners. Smoak has a bad batting average, but the rest of his number are not that bad at all. He was leading the team in doubles and RBI for much of the season before he was injured, and leading the majors in two out RBI. He also was playing gold glove type defense that should not be under rated. In order to trade Smoak you have to have a team that has a need for a first basemen and also see Smoak as it.

    • hittfamily - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:44 PM

      He hasn’t “really struggled” this year. In fact, he’s been excellent once again. He’s no longer the best 2nd baseman in the game, but he’s still top 3. His 117 wRC+ means he has hit 17% better than league average. Has Josh Donaldson “really struggled”? He’s only posting a 116 wRC+. Zobrist has posted 2.7 fWAR, and that includes a stint on the 15 day DL for a dislocated thumb. He is a 4-5 Win player.

      Zobrist has more trade value than David Price. They are both 4-5 WAR players, but Zobrist only makes 10 mil over the next 1.5 years. Price makes around 25 mil over the next year and a half. Both will net the M’s a 1st round draft pick in 2016. If the M’s wanted only Zobrist, Brad Miller or DJ Peterson is only a starting point. They better throw in a lot more than that. The fact they want both Zobrist and Price….wow. Just put the top 6 prospects on a flight to Florida right now.

      • geejon - Jul 18, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        Those advanced stats are really pretty lmao. Zobrist is hitting .260 with 5 hr’s and 5 steals (3 caught stealing). He’s barely slugging .400 which is laughable. If that’s your idea of “excellent”, god bless you.

      • hittfamily - Jul 18, 2014 at 4:44 PM

        He’s hitting .266/.352/.4016 home runs. More than Robby Cano, don’t cha know.

        His career average is .262/.354/.432

        He had a truly dreadful May, posting 161/.250/.214, but I don’t think it’s fair to say he sucks because of 1 bad month. His other months were:

        April: .302/.390/.434
        June: .245/.341/.445
        July: .263/.354/.442

        His slugging percentage is down, but 2 for 2 with 2 doubles tonight brings him up a lot closer to career norms.

      • hittfamily - Jul 18, 2014 at 4:46 PM

        That got jumbled up at the end! EDIT:

        6 home runs. More than Robby Cano, don’t cha know.

        He’s hitting .266/.352/.401

        His career average is .262/.354/.432

        He had a truly dreadful May, posting 161/.250/.214, but I don’t think it’s fair to say he sucks because of 1 bad month. His other months were:

        April: .302/.390/.434
        June: .245/.341/.445
        July: .263/.354/.442

        His slugging percentage is down, but 2 for 2 with 2 doubles tonight brings him up a lot closer to career norms.

  7. mikhelb - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    For the Mariners it would be a steal if they can only give up Taijuan, Franklin and another piece. Taijuan has showed he is as injury prone as other young starters they have traded, and Franklin has not been able to hit in the majors. If they give up Zunino the M’s can replace him with a bucket and i am sure the bucket will have the potential to outhit Zunino.

    Come to think about it, the Mariners have a knack at developing 0.200 AVG / 0.290 OBP / 0.360 OPS hitters who can play a bit of defense but besides that they’re useless… maybe because they think they have great batters playing in hitter’s paradise PCL but in reality is a bunch of overhyped talent.

    • ironcurtin64 - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      Based on your comments, I can tell you are an idiot and don’t know s^*t about baseball.

  8. juvenile1 - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    oh so the mariners think they gonna make the playoffs ha? they think lil ol david price gonna put em over the top ha?

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:38 PM

      I note the poor spelling and poor grammar. Was that deliberate given your screen name, or is that the way you normally write?

    • ironcurtin64 - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      Has the American education system really become this bad?

  9. denny65 - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    Jack Z! Step away from the ‘phone! Do NOT place another call to St. Petersburg! You have been warned.

    Yes, the Ms have a dire need for a power right-handed hitter, but Zobrist is not that hitter and Jack Z has clearly shown he is not the man to make a trade.

    The large man with the shaven dome: someone stop him!

  10. redmanrt - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    We will be sorry if we get rid of Zobrist.

    I say, sit tight, trade away no quality, and play for 2nd this year in the division.

  11. rawdog2013 - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    AL West standings come playoffs:
    1. A’s (duh)
    2. Angels
    3. Rangers
    4. Astros
    5. Mariners

  12. djpostl - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    They need to get some big ol bats if they swing a trade. Pitching has been top tier but they’re 14th or 15th in AVG, OBP, OPS, SLG etc.. in the AL.

    Offense can be “timid” and you can make a run at a WS with great pitching, but it can’t be non-existant.

  13. hittfamily - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    The Mariners have exactly THREE above average position players, and 1 of them just went on the DL. I have no idea why they want Price so badly. I’d try to get Jennings and Joyce before I’d try to get Zobrist and Price. The 2 of them instantly become their 3rd and 4th best hitters. With Kiermaier’s emergence, Jennings is likely available, but he won’t be cheap with 3.5 years of team control remaining. His floor is a 3 win player, and his ceiling is a 5 win player. Dejesus and Myers will be healthy soon, and that is a hell of a logjam in the OF and DH. Joyce is absolutely getting traded, and the M’s need a DH and corner OF very badly.

  14. wilmyers09 - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    seattle prospects are only below solid dont trade him to seattle

    • jackdiamond77 - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:30 AM

      Please do not trade him to Seattle

  15. Jimmy T - Jul 18, 2014 at 3:29 AM

    I would not trade our top prospects to Tampa unless the Mariners could get Desmond Jennings in the deal. I am tired of hanging on to prospects that don’t pan out. That’s why they are prospects. I don’t mind getting proven commodities for unproven commodities.

  16. jackdiamond77 - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:22 AM

    That’s just great. Mariners already have Cano. Where is stupid dumb ass Cashman? He must have something on Hal Steinbrenner because no one as stupid and inept as he is could possibly keep their job.

  17. bkool37 - Jul 18, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    I feel this is a smoke screen. A trade with the Cubs makes more sense. Seattle is less likely to actually sign him to a long term deal which means trading him to SEA is really trading him to a rival when NYY, BOS or BAL sings him heading into 2016. Not smart.

    • hittfamily - Jul 18, 2014 at 8:34 AM

      If the Cubs want him, why don’t they just wait a year and a half til he hits the open market? They won’t contend this year or next, and would have to give up multiple prospects so that they could have a top 5 pitcher on a team that wins 65 games.

      The Rays are great about signing extensions to young players…Longo, Archer, Zobrist, Shields, Davis, Moore. I’m sure they tried it with Price, and he obviously said no. With 15 months til he’s a free agent, why would this change now that he’s with the Cubs?

  18. stex52 - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    The trade makes Seattle better. And prospects are just that. Prospects. Price/King Felix/ Iwakuma would be up there with anybody.

    My bigger question is Zobrist. I am a big fan. But he is 33. Still extremely dependable, but his power has tailed off. How will he age? And they have Cano at second, which limits his flexibility. Jennings or Joyce might be a better and less expensive fit.

  19. alankelly2013 - Jul 18, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    I like the idea of adding Zobrist to the deal. Bringing a true right handed power hitter to Safeco is a recipe for disaster. But a line drive hitter with a good OBP a little pop can be very successful. Having him in the line-up in place of Ackley would be a huge step forward.

    They could still go get Byrd if they wanted, all he’ll cost is a couple of minor prospects and lots of money.

  20. dorbs345 - Jul 18, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Anything is too high of a price considering that Price has stated repeatedly he does not want to be In Seattle and he does not want to leave the South period. Guys that don’t want to leave certain areas make me laugh. You want to win? I hope he end up in Colorado or somewhere he really hates life!

    • stex52 - Jul 18, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      Hey, guys that don’t want to leave areas make me jealous. He is going to be very rich and he can tell people where he wants to work. We should all do so well.

  21. patrickbr8374 - Jul 18, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Cano is financing his best friend to make a rap album…he’s in seattle recording right now. He did a Seahawks freestyle that is pretty good…

    • hittfamily - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:23 AM

      that truck needs a paint job.

  22. robby311 - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:51 AM

    Hey fans..

    So here is something to think about. The Mariners NEED to get better – there is no doubt. I think the Rays have been very unreasonable with their request and if you think about it logically, this deal does not make any sense for the M’s. This is why:

    When you have a guy like Miller who can get it done (albeit uncomfortably sometimes) you can chalk your shortstop up to be the throw away guy in your lineup. In fact you could even throw in one outfielder in to your eighth spot and he can be light hitting too. The Mariners don’t have a problem at short is the point.

    They DO have a big problem in their outfield. They absolutely need a power hitting right handed outfielder NOW and if they are going to over trade for anyone (NOT BYRD) then it needs to be an outfielder. The Mariners currently have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball WITHOUT Walker and Paxton for most of the year. So when Paxton gets back in a couple weeks they are going to get BETTER!!! This leaves them no reason to be bullied by the Rays – the White Sox on the other hand should feel free to bully the crap out of us and send Viciedo west!

    The second Wild Card team, who has played very well and show signs of improving in the second half, should not be backed in to a corner to trade for pieces that they do not need. Go get an outfielder Jack – a really good one!

  23. mattdawg77 - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    The M’s pitching already has one of the best ERA’s in the league (even without Paxton and Walker) . Unless they pitch shutout baseball with every start, they will NEVER be a serious playoff contender. Why? Because their offense sucks horrendously! If you literally cannot score runs, you cannot win ball games…period. One bat (Cano) is not enough. Unless the front offense can get that through their thick skulls, Seattle fans will be forced to endure another decade of lousy baseball.

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