According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price will likely be available this off-season via trade. Price, 28, is two years away from free agency, and Sherman points out that the Rays traded Matt Garza after 2011 and James Shields after 2012 -they were both two years from free agency at the time, like Price is about to be.
Tampa Bay plays in a small market, and has had a tough time drawing fans to Tropicana Field. That combination means that they’re unlikely to be able to afford Price much longer. He’ll get a raise next season, and will likely get a mammoth contract extension when he becomes a free agent after the 2015 campaign.
Last week in the New York Daily News, Andy Martino suggested that the Mets should consider entering the bidding for Price, and that the club should dangle Zack Wheeler as bait. As talented as Price is, entertaining a trade like that at this point in time doesn’t make sense for the Mets.
Martino also suggested in his article that the Mets could attempt to deal Wheeler for a high impact bat. That makes more sense, but is still something I’d be hesitant to do. Back to Price…
While Martino notes that Price is already an ace (with Wheeler still developing), dealing Wheeler for Price simply wouldn’t be worth it. The Mets would be dealing a 23 year old for a 28 year old, and someone who’s making 500K for someone who’s about to be making $15 million. The difference in production will very likely not come close to being worth the difference in salary.
It’s fun to picture the Mets trading for a star such as Price, but now is not the time to be making that type of trade. With Matt Harvey out for most, if not all of 2014, the Mets need to hang on to the majority of their young pitching. If they deal any of their impact starting pitchers, it should be in a trade that imports a high impact offensive piece, not a pitcher such as Price.