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Cardinals are interested in David Price, but “would want a financial commitment” from him

Jul 20, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the goods:

Would Price ever sign with the Mariners long term? The Mariners don’t view it as an issue because they would have Price for the remainder of this year and next. The Cardinals have shown interest but would want a financial commitment, according to a major league source. Don’t rule out the Giants, who also have had interest in Ben Zobrist to solve their second base situation.

Price struck out nine batters and gave up only four hits over eight shutout innings Saturday in the Rays’ defeat of the Twins and now boasts a 3.06 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 173/21 K/BB ratio in 155 2/3 total frames this year for Tampa Bay. He would give the Cardinals a second ace to pair with Adam Wainwright — a luxury no doubt, but also a need for the stretch run and playoffs with Michael Wacha (shoulder) out indefinitely.

The Rays will probably demand Oscar Taveras or Carlos Martinez from St. Louis — perhaps even both of them — so the Cardinals will want to be sure this isn’t just a rental situation if they do spin a trade for Price. The 28-year-old lefty is making $14 million this season and is arbitration-eligible for the final time in 2015.

Locking up Price would surely cost north of $120 million. Wainwright signed a five-year, $97.5 million extension with St. Louis in March 2013 — the most money the Cards have ever committed to a pitcher.

  1. SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    I remain open to including Taveras in any trade. I wouldn’t start with him as part of the package offered, but I’m open to it. I’d also want to see what Price wants in terms of an extension …. $22M? $25? $28? $30? 4 years? 5?

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      I am also at the point of wondering if, due to player-management history from last year, Taveras actually needs to go someplace else to thrive.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        Dunno why this got all the thumbs down. Cards fans know about the issues and problems with initial diagnosis of non-severity of his ankle injury last year, his “gingerness” in spring training this year, etc. I’m just making an informed statement of thought based on well-known facts on the ground.

      • paperlions - Jul 20, 2014 at 2:56 PM

        This is fabrication.

        He had a high ankle sprain. He came back and re-aggravated it, and eventually had to have surgery.

        If Taveras has to go somewhere else to thrive, that says something very negative about the organization, not the player.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        There’s plenty of reportage already from late last year, as well as this year at spring training, by folks at the Post-Dispatch and elsewhere on this subject.

        You may call Taveras’ concerns fabrication.

        However, the reporting about tensions or whatever that were/are alleged between him and team staff aren’t fabrications. They were really reported.

        #fail

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        Indeed, here’s a bit of that reportage, from spring training this year, from Miklasz:

        After all, the Cardinals’ brass was fairly aggressive in putting Taveras back in the Memphis lineup after he limped off the first time on May 12. Taveras returned on June 8 and played in 15 games before leaving the lineup a second time. He played in only one more game after that, in a rehab assignment on July 15.

        Considering last year’s confusing and costly sequence, how can we really blame Taveras for feeling trepidation?

        http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-oscar-taveras-testing-cards-patience/article_73bb5a90-0c25-5a3e-9bd6-c8afbca9c06a.html

      • hittfamily - Jul 20, 2014 at 11:06 PM

        Are you arguing with yourself?

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      I want to add something else.

      Remember how Mo, a month or two again, was chiding “junior GMs” for saying that Taveras was not a CF? Funny, pre-ankle injury, that wasn’t his tune:

      Oscar Taveras, 20, is being developed as a center fielder, and on Thursday general manager John Mozeliak called him “one of the most prolific hitters I’ve seen in our organization probably since Albert Pujols.” Taveras won the Texas League’s equivalent of most valuable player award after batting .321 with 23 home runs, 94 RBIs and a organization-high .572 slugging percentage. In six games already this fall for the Dominican Winter League, Taveras has a .364 average with two homers. Projected initially as a right fielder, Taveras has improved enough for the team to think his athletic ability will translate to center.

      http://baseballhasbeengoodtome.blogspot.com/2012/10/jays-in-charge-in-center.html

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        Hey, Mo? It’s the Internet.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:09 AM

      @HittFamily, no … I wanted to get a generic response to Lions up immediately, before I took time to do teh Google. Then, after I did that, I found a piece that illustrated just what I was saying. I wish WordPress, for comments, let us do like Disqus and edit our own comments, you know? (I also wish it had one more level of “nesting.”)

      Anywho, I came across Mo’s late-2012 comments about Taveras being groomed to play CF at the same time, which I posted further down. And may blog about.

  2. kycardsfan - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    I agree, I still think it’ll take Taveras and Martinez. If Price agrees to an extension that the Cards can afford I think they go for it.

  3. alongthegulf - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    First, David Price likes playing for the Rays and Joe Maddon. He’s not pushing a trade, but understands the Rays looking at that option. Second, the majority of teams trying to trade for Price want him to sign long term. That’s allows David Price to pretty much dictate where he wants to play in the long term. Price is only signed thru next year. Lastly, the Rays are currently hot and climbing up the east. The Rays don’t have the greatest attendance in MLB. I believe Tropicana Field has always been the major issue why. It’s really a horrible place to play baseball. I won’t go into the history of the field, except to say it’s should have never been built. The original plan was to build a stadium near Clearwater / St. Pete Airport. If the Rays think attendance is poor, just trade David Price and Ben Zobrist and see how much the game attendance drops!

    • indaburg - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Attendance is already 30th in MLB. I was there when Price pitched against the Astros on a Friday night. The crowd was pathetic. If we were better in attendance, maybe we could afford to keep some of our stars, but the reality is that we aren’t. We are going to lose David Price and Ben Zobrist no matter what. The economic reality is that sooner or later, they are both gone, either via free agency or trade. Next year is the last year of Price’s contract, and this is Zobrist’s final year. Would you rather just see them walk away for nothing, or would you rather get some great prospects so we can sustain our winning ways for the future? If we had done better this year, we could have postponed the trade until the winter, but the worst case scenario came true. Price doesn’t want to go, but he knew this day would come someday: http://www.theledger.com/article/20121204/news/121209688

      In any event, if attendance keeps dropping, Sternberg’s case that a new stadium is needed becomes stronger.

      • paperlions - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        The whole situation makes me sad for Tampa fans.

        Of course they need a new stadium, but the team is owned by people worth billions of dollars. They need to find a way to either build their own stadium or to agree to profit sharing with a entity that helps build it. If local tax payers contribute 50% of the money to build a new facility, then they should get 50% of the revenue generated by the stadium.

        I suppose none of that matter though considering the lease they currently have…but they knew about that lease and the other stadium/attendance issues when they bought the team. Too bad they haven’t been as creative in finding a solution to that problem as they have been solving their competitive problems associated with having a low payroll.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        There’s a team option at $7M on Zobrist. He’s around for one more year if that’s presumably picked up.

      • indaburg - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:43 PM

        Yes, there is a team option on Zobrist for 2015. He’s making $7 million, which is on the high end for the Rays, and he’ll be 34 in 2015. The Rays are unlikely to pick up the option.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Inda, about a month ago, when the Price, and Zobrist, trade talk first heated up, I wondered the same thing. Then, some of the more zealous Rays fans here went nutbar, with one even claming Zobrist, even with past dWAR aided by Tampa’s early use of shifts, and tho 2 years older than Omar Infante, was worth more than him. —>eyeroll—<

        If the team could get him to roll that option into two years for, say, $11.5-12, I'd feel more confident he'll stay. I'd still say 50-50 on his option myself, being picked up by the Rays.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      It’s not just the stadium. It’s not just that area. (Greater Tampa-St. Pete is at least as big as greater St. Louis, so it’s not a population issue.) It’s baseball in Florida. Does fine in spring; doesn’t draw fans in summer. Doesn’t draw a lot of local franchise loyalty. That’s probably due in part to a mix of all the spring training locations of other teams, and the number of retirees with baseball loyalties, if any, to other teams.

      • raysfan1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        While I will agree with part of what you say–particularly with fans having loyalties to other teams, I cannot agree that “it’s baseball in Florida.” Miami and Tampa-St Pete are not comparable markets other than both being in Florida. If you wish to talk about pro sports in Tampa-St Pete, then I will point out the NHL’s Lightning’s attendance was 10th best in the NHL this past season–in an arena located in downtown Tampa.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:22 PM

        First, I didn’t say this was about **sports,** I said this was about MLB.

        And, the simple fact is that both the Rays and Marlins have failed to draw fans, despite Tampa-St. Pete being a mid-sized market, not a small-sized one, and Miami being a large-sized market.

        Had I wanted to talk about sports enthusiasm, I could have mentioned both areas NFL teams, the Heat, or, as you did, the Lightning.

        This is about **baseball.** South Florida has shown that, for whatever reasons, it’s not an MLB hotbed. Period.

      • raysfan1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 4:43 PM

        …and I’m saying I disagree, that if a new stadium were built in a more accessible location, the attendance issue would be resolved. The Lightning’s success is part of the evidence for that, and baseball is far more popular in central Florida than hockey.

        As for the Marlins, their problem is different–they need a new owner.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        Marlins never had great attendance under Huizinga, which is why he dismantled the team after each of their two WS titles.

        That’s another reason I say …

        It’s baseball in South Florida.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        To be fair, the Marlins weren’t horrible in attendance in 1997: 2,364,387 (5th of 14)

        But, they were in 2003: 1,303,215 (15th of 16).

        That said, you can’t blame the post-1997 player sell-off for attendance.

        In 1996, a “respectable” 80-82 team’s attendance: 1,746,767 (10th of 14). Attendance went back there in 1998. Yes, that team stunk, but the big player sell-off wasn’t done during the 97/98 offseason. Most of it was done during the 1998 season.

        So, although you may not like it … there’s a lot of attendance figures that point up problems with baseball in South Florida.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:20 PM

        Finally, Raysfan, lest you think I’m picking on Tampa in particular, or South Florida?

        As a diehard Cards fan, former St. Louis resident, relatives there, etc.:

        St. Louis is a great baseball town, as outsiders know, too. It’s a very good hockey town. It’s a decent, at least, football town.

        But … it’s not a basketball town. Never really has been. The Hawks only stayed a decade after moving from Milwaukee to go on to Atlanta. The Spirits never drew well in ABA days.

        Cities, or regions, are like that … good sports teams in some sports, not in others.

        Note that greater LA is more than a decade of being NFL-free, but not a lot of people there seem crushed by that.

        So, again … seems like South Florida just ain’t baseball territory. I’m sorry for you as a strong Rays fan that you don’t have more compadres, but … that’s the facts of life.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:53 PM

        Finally, Raysfan, lest you think I’m picking on Tampa in particular, or South Florida?

        I’m curious why you are ignoring his comment about location? I don’t know the area, so raysfan1/indaburg/etc can confirm/deny, but isn’t a major issue with the Rays the fact that the stadium is on the other side of a major bridge, so there are severe traffic jams for every game? If the commute was an hour + for a 15mi drive, both ways, I’d probably only go to a game here or there.

        Unfortunately with the former owner locking the team into a ridiculously long lease, there’s not much the Rays can do.

      • indaburg - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:31 PM

        A big part of the problem is the location of the stadium, as COPO states. Greater Tampa-St. Pete population wise may be comparable to St. Louis. The Tampa Bay market is also a larger market than Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Kansas City, Milwaukee. The big problem is that only 19% of Tampa Bay’s population lives within a 30 minute drive to the stadium. Compare that to Cincinnati: 59%. Cleveland: 67%. Denver: 79%. KC: 65%, Milwaukee: 68%. Again, Tampa Bay: 19%. (Source: http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/645007/popdens.png) Only a small portion of the population lives close by. We have no good reliable public transportation system and traffic is a nightmare. Place the stadium in a more central location as raysfan1 suggested–for example, Channelside in Tampa, next to where the Lightning play–and more people will come. The Rays actually do fairly well on Saturdays and Sundays, when more people have time to travel.

        Our TV ratings are robust: http://www.raysindex.com/2013/10/rays-television-ratings-were-up-in-2013.html. People care. The Rays have fans. They just don’t want to travel to that location.

        Don’t confuse our market with Miami’s. They have some different challenges. From what I know, I think gross mismanagement is partially responsible (Guillen’s gaffe resulting in a boycott of Marlins Park, the continuous sell-off of the stars, historically hated owners).

      • raysfan1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:33 PM

        COPO–you are correct…including about the Rays being locked into their lease until 2028.

        SocraticGadly–At one point the Marlins also played in a far less than ideal facility. They’ve overcome that, but Loria has generated so much ill will that attendance there will likely stay low until the team is sold. The Rays used to have both a bad owner and bad location. Unfortunately for the current owner, the location remains poor. There are plenty of baseball fans in both Tampa-St Pete and Miami to support their respective teams (and it is still worth remembering that 1.5 million fans being defined as poor support is only a phenomenon of the past 16 years), if their respective handicaps could be alleviated.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:57 PM

        I don’t think the Rays’ current location is THAT bad.

        As for Miami? The Metrodome and its Hefty bag walls were even less less ideal for baseball than Pro Player, in Miami, yet, the Twins had at least decent attendance there on non-WS years.

        So, stadium, or stadiums, for the two teams, might be an ancillary part of the issue.

        The primary part? Not buying it.

        Why don’t you, or now COPO, even want to remotely entertain the idea that your area just doesn’t support baseball that well?

        We can debate the stadium issue further, but … I’m not going to give it any more credence until you all discuss why you don’t want to give the idea that South Florida ain’t a baseball area even close to the time of day.

        This idea isn’t original with me, either. Not even close. I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard it.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 7:05 PM

        Oh, and I’m not really buying the Loria issue on the Marlins. All the attendance I noted is pre-Loria.Huizinga didn’t sell the team, and to John Henry, current Boston owner, until after 1998. Loria didn’t buy them until the post-2001 offseason. And, the team won a title in 2003, and nobody came out … and Loria’s antics in Florida hadn’t been that long yet, or that bad.

        Oh, I’m working on a blog post about this, too….

        So, any other Rays fans … you want to honestly, openly discuss the issue of whether south Florida might just not be a baseball-friendly area?

      • raysfan1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 8:20 PM

        Well, seeing as you are blowing off what Indaburg and I have said about the stadium location, even going so far as to claim the location is “not that bad” after she showed you some of the demographic data, there isn’t really much to discuss. For Miami, you also blow off the effect of Loria’s ownership of the team alienating the population. Yes, your claims are not original with you; however, you present no data other than attendance numbers and will accept none either. You have looked at one variable and made your decision. So be it.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 9:37 PM

        First, I didn’t “blow off” anything. I said that it’s probably not all the issue.

        Second, Raysfan, I countercharge that you’re blowing off by still refusing to talk about the possibility that being a relatively non-baseball area is part of the problem.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 9:51 PM

        Also, it’s not just in-person attendance. I don’t know about Miami, but I do know Tampa had slippage in TV ratings earlier this decade, which of course has nothing to do with stadium location.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:10 AM

        Why don’t you, or now COPO, even want to remotely entertain the idea that your area just doesn’t support baseball that well?

        It’s entirely possible the area doesn’t support the team well, but considering: the traffic/travel situation, the fact that the stadium was over 8 years old before the Rays ever played a game in it (it’s almost 25 years old now), the damage Naimoli* did before current ownership took over, etc… I’m shocked anyone shows up for the games.

        *Seriously, read Jonah Keri’s book on the Rays. It’s an excellent read into how current ownership turned everything around.

  4. jburk003 - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Grab him Giants!!!! Price would solve 2 problems- starting pitcher help and Vogey or Lincecum to the bullpen would most definitely up out bullpen rotation..

    Price would dominate in our park

    • paperlions - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      The Giants don’t have the prospects to offer a competitive deal.

  5. geejon - Jul 20, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    I don’t understand that comment regarding the Mariners and Price. So what that they’d control Price for a year and 2 months. For what the Rays are going to demand for Price I don’t see how a contract extension isn’t part of the deal. Is Seattle really going to give up 3 top prospects for 14 months of David Price? How are they going to address their offense (which is the bigger issue) if they shoot their load to get a SP? They already have the best ERA in the A.L. but the 2nd worst slugging pct.

  6. raysfan1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    While I realize Taveras is the Cards’ top prospect, outfield is not a need area for the Rays. If I were Sternberg I’d ask for Martinez + Marco Gonzales + Tim Cooney would get it done. It will be interesting to see if anything develops. For now my money is on Price finishes the year in Tampa and gets traded during the coming off season.

    • raysfan1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      Bad editing. Meant to read “…+ Tim Cooney; perhaps that would get it done.”

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 3:24 PM

      You’re not getting three pitchers. Period.

      No team with brains trades three pitchers, especially with all of them starters.

      ===

      As for timing? Price loses trade value after July 31, of course.

      • raysfan1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        I doubt the Cards would do that either, but that’s what I’d ask to Price now. The Rays don’t need Taveras. (It could get interesting if a third team which did need an outfielder got involved.) Yes, the cost goes down later…which is part of why I do think Price eventually gets moved, during the offseason.

      • paperlions - Jul 20, 2014 at 7:17 PM

        Why not?

        If there is anything the Cardinals have, it is MiLB pitching depth….and having Price fills one of those spots better than anyone they would be trading could. If they are going to add a frontline starter by trading from depth, the pitching depth is the best option.

        Among the young guys they could trade that could be MLB starters within a few years: Martinez, Gonzalez, Cooney, Lyons, Petrick, Petree, McKinney, Kaminsky, and Reyes. Plus Rosenthal could still move to the rotation. If they traded for Price, with Wainwright, Lynn, Kelly, Miller, and Wacha (assuming Garcia is finally done)….they would still have plenty of pitching options.

      • veistran - Jul 20, 2014 at 9:49 PM

        Problem with getting them to trade Martinez is then they’re not really addressing the actual issue thanks to a rash of SP injuries. Is Price an upgrade over Martinez right now? Absolutely but they don’t so much need that as they need someone to upgrade the garbage fire that Shelby Miller has been this season.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        Veistran speaks for me, too.

        I ain’t trading three starters out of the minors without knowing the longer-term future of Miller, and Wacha for that matter.

        As for the guys that Paperlions listed …

        I’ve already indicated that I see Lyons differently than him. Most of the people in lower minors, I wouldn’t either count on, or count out. they’re simply too low to count, period. (So, Raysfan, if you want three minors starters, I’ll give you two Class A ones plus a AAA, or even an MLB one. Or three AA ones. I won’t give you three at AAA level, since the big jump in minors is from AA to AAA, even more than the AAA to majors jump.)

        Rosenthal moving to start is certainly an option indeed for next year. It’s not an option for the rest of this year.

        A Waino, Price, Lynn, Martinez and Kelly/Miller rotation for the rest of this year would certainly work. Or, Kelly and Miller, if Martinez is part of the trade, as would be likely. And, yes, I put both Kelly, and a Miller with a bad back, ahead of Lyons.

  7. sclobernocker47 - Jul 20, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    As a Rays fan since day 1, I never realized how bad of a dump the Trop was till I joined the military and started traveling. I go to every ballpark I can, and man, there are some purdy parks out there. The trop… well, it ain’t one.

    For the record, Camden Yards is my fav so far. Followed by Petco.

    Build a new park in Tampa.

  8. yahmule - Jul 20, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    Why are the Rays selling anyway? They never lose anymore.

  9. hansob - Jul 21, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    considering the track record on long term pitcher contracts, I’m not sure that 14 months of Price and a compensatory draft pick isn’t better than 7 years/$175M of Price.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      Hans, I agree. That’s why I expect the Rays to pick up Zobrist’s option, too, if he’s not moved. They could gamble on giving him a QO post-2015, knowing that 2B is a thin position and somebody will likely pay.

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