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August 1, 2014

Transaction Analysis

The Great Big David Price Trade

by R.J. Anderson, J.P. Breen, Sam Miller, Jordan Gorosh, Paul Sporer, Craig Goldstein and Jeff Quinton

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14 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Pat Folz

It seems like the Rays tried to have it both ways - get young, cost-controlled talent that's also big-league ready so they won't suffer (a severe) Major League downgrade. At first blush it seems like the worst of both worlds, they reduced their chances this year while not acquiring star-level talent to really increase it later, but the more I swish it around in my head the more I kind of like it for them.

Smyly's under control for quite awhile and is already a #3, potentially a bit more than that, and Franklin's floor is solid utility guy and he also has some chance to be more than that, and Adames seems like a decent lottery ticket. Considering their contracts, that's a ton of value, and the net talent loss isn't so great that it drops them out of contention. The AL East is a weird division; 5 good-but-flawed teams with the traditional heavy hitters in a state of severe flux means the door could swing wide open (or shut) at any point in the next few years, so it behooves them to be ready.

And speaking of value, David Price is many things but one thing he is not is cheap. His contract next year will probably be on the order of $20M (to say nothing of the 9-figure payday after that...), and Tampa just freed that up to potentially spend elsewhere. Of course, this being Tampa, ownership might just be cutting payroll, but the analysis seems incomplete without mentioning that they now have the ability to go get something(s) nice on the free agent market this winter.

So basically, it's one of those deals where the values of the assets involved is a bit at odds with the perceived talent (fame), but when considered as assets the deal makes some sense. Not sure it was the right call, but it's not loony.

Jul 31, 2014 22:43 PM
rating: 4
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

I don't think it's so simple to say that Tampa now has ~$20M to play with now that Price is gone. Smyly is arb eligible and while that might not be massive he could be in line for something around $2M. That gets subtracted from the potential extra money to play with, but the biggest issue is they likely never had $20M to pay Price with in the first place -- which is why they had to trade him. If they only had $14M (this year's salary) to give to him, then you're talking about $12M in available funds. Not nothing certainly but Longoria's salary jumps $3.5M, Zobrist gets a $.5M bump, Balfour gets $3M more, Joyce will get an arb raise, Hellickson might, Loney costs $6M more, etc etc.

While they're going to drop some payroll too (Heath Bell, notably), there are a lot of salary increases and it's likely that they never had the $20M to give Price to begin with.

Also, just in terms of Smyly -- I like him as much as almost anyone but guy has a FIP just over for. I'm not sure he's already a #3 starter just yet.

Aug 01, 2014 07:34 AM
Tommy Fastball

Can you imagine them getting less if they waited? I can't. It would have been nice to see them try to keep their run going this year.

Aug 01, 2014 00:46 AM
rating: 6
Shaun P.

That's the part I don't get - wouldn't this deal, or something similar, have been around in the offseason, too? Why the urgency to do it now?

Aug 01, 2014 03:39 AM
rating: 0

I'm not so sure...remember the names that will be free agents this offseason. Lester, Scherzer, Shields... Not exactly a seller's market trying to trade a pitcher when there are so many big names out there who won't cost you players.

Aug 01, 2014 14:18 PM
rating: 0

Forget waiting til the offseason, I'm amazed that they couldn't get more than this this year.

Aug 01, 2014 04:15 AM
rating: 1

I thought same, but wondered if they thought that right now, Price was the last great SP on the market vs. the offseason, where there'll be a couple in competition.
Still, time will tell if It was a good haul.
Did you think Boston and Cubs got better in return for Lester and Shark/Hammel? I'm not sure, chime in your thoughts.

Aug 01, 2014 05:07 AM
rating: 0

Considering what the Cubs's return was, I believe the Rays got hosed. Now, I say this with probably a little hindsight after Hammel's struggles.

HOWEVER...to turn 2 SP with no more than an extra year of control (Shark) for a top prospect should have better dictated the Rays' decision making process.

I do like the Drew Smyly pick up and believe the team control is a good bargain/risk for the Rays. Everything else is bunk.

I will contend I'm NOT a fan of what the Red Sox received from the Cardinals, but when I consider the Sox were not going to resign an aging veteran pitcher, they probably got as much back as they could have in the trade. It will certainly be interesting...and a potential referendum...on how Craig's foot injury has contributed to his unrecognizable stat line in 2014. Who is more right in St. Louis? The manager or the GM?

Aug 01, 2014 06:53 AM
rating: -1

A lot depends on whether Nick Franklin becomes another Sean Rodriguez or something better, not that Rodriguez isn't valuable. He was pretty highly touted, so there is some upside here.

Aug 01, 2014 08:36 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Sam Miller
BP staff

Some of you saw some very rough framing data in the fantasy section of David Price that was supposed to be removed before publish. It has been removed.

Aug 01, 2014 08:37 AM
One Flap Down

Some of the fantasy stuff regarding the Rays is right, but for the wrong reason. As long as the Rays remain in contention, Franklin will stay at AAA and not impact any current Rays hitters. What will cost Guyer and Forsythe at-bats is the return of Wil Myers in a couple of weeks. Myers or Kiermaier will be shifted to left, as the latter has proven too valuable to sit.

There likely has to be a Ben Zobrist trade somewhere down the line as well for Franklin to get at-bats; next year's OF will likely be Myers-Jennings-Kiermaier, unless Kiermaier reverts to his pre-2014 self (good glove, no hit), and Zobrist would stay at 2B if no deal is made. That would leave DH, which right now is Joyce vs RHP and either Forsythe or S.Rodriguez against LHP.

The optimal solution for the Rays could be to cut ties with Yunel Escobar, whom they unfortunately extended for 2 more years this spring, and move Zobrist to SS. After a great 2013, Escobar has seemingly lost all range (his UZR numbers are terrible and as one who watches the Rays daily, the eye test backs this up) and has reverted to the immaturity that drove him out of Atlanta and Toronto (see a pair of recent ejections at the plate for ball/strike calls). It's no coincidence the Rays hot streak really went into gear when Escobar went on the DL for a few weeks and Zobrist filled in at SS. Perhaps the Rays can get something for him instead of dealing Zobrist.

Aug 01, 2014 09:50 AM
rating: 1

The best comment I saw all day (hat tip Raider1015):

Detroit: You guys want to screw Oakland AND Tampa?

Tampa: Uh…we’re Tampa.

Detroit: Well sure, but one out of two isn’t bad! And we win, too, so it’s a win-win!

Tampa: Sure, whatever. * files paperwork *

Aug 01, 2014 11:00 AM
rating: 0

Mike Montgomery = Wonka Bar

Priceless. I'm still laughing.

Aug 01, 2014 14:14 PM
rating: 0

6months ago we thought the pizza money was dried up and DD was on his way to being the next comissioner of basebal, he pulls this masterstroke. This deal does the rare thing of increasing thief odds of winning both this year and next ( and longer if prices price is less crazy than mad max ) and to do it he ripped off Tampa as badly as Washington ripped us off for fister and ended up with a much better player. I'd say the wizard got his groove back.

It's not a perfect deal. They solved the logjam of corner outfielers by clearing centerfield for one. This is like curing dandruff with decapitation. While a fair Exchange in talent in a vacuum, it does leave a gaping hole in the lineup as well as the of defense. Age is very likely to catch up to torii hunter and the law of averages to catch up to Davis and JD. Andy dirks is a huge question mark coming back from injury and he wasn't much to begin with. And careers is as likely to be another domineering as another JD. Still u could argue that anachronism was due for another slump and the As blew a bigger hole in their lineup to get a less talented pitcher. The team is in better shape to win now and in the future with price than without but they aren't the only scary rotation in the playoffs this year, and some of them have better lineups

Aug 01, 2014 19:11 PM
rating: 0
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