Baseball’s trade season is fast approaching and the rumors are heating up. With that, there will be plenty of talk about the Tampa Bay Rays trading some marquee players, and ultimately a deal or two will likely be made. The Rays biggest two names that could be on the move are ace David Price and utility man extraordinaire Ben Zobrist. So here’s a crazy thought- what if both David Price and Ben Zobrist were traded in the same deal?
First of all, for a trade including both to happen, there would need to be a market of teams that needed both a starting second baseman or outfielder and an ace caliber pitcher. It actually does seem that a market like that exists. The St. Louis Cardinals have recently seen pitchers Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha be placed on the DL, and Shelby Miller left his start on Tuesday. Their second basemen, led by Kolten Wong and Mark Ellis, have struggled this year, and while Wong remains the long-term solution there, they could still deal for an upgrade. The Toronto Blue Jays could deal to add a pitcher and a second baseman, and so could the San Francisco Giants. The Seattle Mariners could use an offensive boost in the outfield, and Price would surely help them in a season that has seen them be surprisingly competitive. Lastly, the Atlanta Braves also might be looking for an upgrade at both second and pitcher. All-in-all, it seems that there are plenty of teams that could at least kick the tires with potentially acquiring Price and Zobrist in the same deal.
The next factor is if the interested teams have the prospects/young big leaguers needed to get a deal done. Of the above teams, the St. Louis Cardinals absolutely have the talent, led by big leagues like Wong, Carlos Martinez, and Michael Wacha as well as minor leagues like Oscar Taveras, Rob Kaminsky, and more. The Blue Jays also seem to have the prospects needed to get a deal done, and the Mariners likely do too. San Francisco and Atlanta are more iffy in the depth of their minor league systems. It appears that at least some of the teams that could use both Zobrist and Price have the minor league talent to get a deal done. Whether they are actually willing to part with that kind of talent remains to be seen, and that is possibly the biggest factor that could derail any potential Price and Zobrist combo.
The final factor is the Rays’ willingness to trade both players. The club has shown us in the past that they are not going to trade players if they aren’t blown out of the water with a proposal. That is not going to change this year. Everyone seems resigned to the fact that Price is going to get traded at the deadline, and while there is definitely a good chance he is dealt, it isn’t a certainty. As far as Zobrist, I believe that the chances of him being traded are less than 50%, though that may not be popular opinion. There are not many teams that value Zobrist as much as the Rays, and thus I’m not sure if the Rays are going to get an offer for him that is to their liking. In the end, the Rays are going to have to get big offers if they are to move Price and Zobrist in separate deals, let alone the same. The possibility is there that it happens, and the Rays won’t hesitate to pull the trigger if they get an offer/offers that they like. However, if teams are willing to give the Rays an offer they like for both players is where it becomes iffy.
In the end, a deal involving both David Price and Ben Zobrist seems unlikely. There will be a market for both players, but the problem becomes the willingness of teams to meet the huge asking price that would come along with trying to trade for Price and Zobrist at the same time. All of that said, it can’t be completely counted out, and the Rays won’t be afraid to do it if they get the right offer.