Jun 25, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) during the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Could David Price and Ben Zobrist Be Dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals?

You wish it would just end, but it’s just beginning, again.  If you got tired of wondering when the shoe would drop and David Price would finally be traded, strap yourself in. It’s about to begin. There are going to be plenty of possible scenarios, some outlandish and others making all the sense in the world but will never happen. One of these scenarios could have Price going to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals have recently lost Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia to the DL, and Shelby Miller also left his recent start with back tightness. They could use a pitcher like Price to give them the boost needed to overcome their current NL Central deficit.

The Cardinals could also use Ben Zobrist. He is struggling now but a change of scenery might do wonders. He would bring stability to a struggling Cardinals infield, and he is going to get back on track at the plate. Kolten Wong remains the Cardinals second baseman of the future, but right now he is struggling and the Cardinals need an upgrade for the short-term. Zobrist is the type of player that can provide that, and given his versatility the Cardinals won’t have much of a problem accommodating him next season.

The Cardinals have what the Rays want–young starting pitching in the likes of Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Marco Gonzales, Joe Kelly, and many more. What would work? The Rays will want a close to major league ready pitcher. It will most likely take at least one of the Cardinals’ young pitchers to get the Rays to part with Price. Also, the Cardinals are wanting to trade either Matt Adams or Allen Craig to free up a spot for phenom Oscar Taveras, though neither of those are realistic targets for the Rays. The other name that is being floated is Taveras himself. While he also is an outfielder, where the Rays have a logjam, Taveras is one you don’t say no to. The Rays will, if he were to be offered, grab him and figure out the rest later. He projects to have an above-average bat in the big leagues, and would add nicely to a young Rays outfield that already includes Wil Myers and Kevin Kiermaier. Adding to Taveras’ allure is the fact that he is a left-handed. The Cardinals could center a deal around one or two of their young arms, and/or Taveras, to entice the Rays to trade Price and Zobrist.

My Scenario – David Price, Ben Zobrist, and a minor league throw-in for Oscar Taveras, Carlos Martinez, Kolten Wong, and a lower level “project” type of player

On the Rays end, Taveras would make Matt Joyce or David DeJesus redundant–but Joyce is a candidate to be dealt anyway, and that would be the least of the Rays’ concerns. Teveras is big league ready, and could take a spot in the middle of the Rays lineup immediately. Kolten Wong’s brother, Kean, is in the Rays system, which is an added bonus. Wong has had an up and down season and is now on the DL with a shoulder issue. But, Wong will end up hitting for a pretty good average and be capable of bringing back the running game to St. Pete. If the Cardinals acquired Zobrist, they could be more willing to trade Wong, and he would make a great addition to the Rays future. Then, there is Carlos Martinez. Not yet consistently cracking the Cardinals starting rotation, Martinez has a live arm and the inconsistency to prove it. Everyone remembers Martinez in the playoffs last year with the high-90s fastball and the Pedro Martinez delivery. He has frontline upside that the Rays love, but he has to find consistency to reach it. Also, the Rays love acquiring project players in every trade they make, and that will be no different in this one. In the end, this would be a good haul for the Rays, as they would acquire three big league ready players, all of whom have been among the league’s top prospects in their careers.

The July 31st trade deadline is nearing and eventually we will have an outcome. The Rays may have come under heavy criticism from some for not cashing in on David Price in the offseason but, as this trade deadline nears, chance number two is on the horizon.

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Tags: Ben Zobrist David Price Oscar Taveras Tampa Bay Rays

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