Do The Seattle Mariners Have The Pieces To Land David Price?
The Seattle Mariners have been sitting low in the AL West for quite a while now and there has been a general lack of excitement about baseball around Seattle since 2001, the last time the Mariners saw the post-season. That lack of excitement has potential to change this off-season with all of the rumors surrounding the Mariners and their quest for big players like Robinson Cano and there interest in Matt Kemp. However, one rumor which has surfaced in the past day or two is that the David Price trade sweepstakes are truly heating up and that the Mariners have the pieces to make it happen. The Tampa Bay Rays are a very smart organization and a trade for David Price will certainly cost a lot. The Mariners do have the pieces to make this move happen.
The first piece which would be the prized return the Rays receive is Taijuan Walker. Walker is currently the Mariners crown jewel in their system and at only 21 years old, he has a very long, bright future ahead of him. Walker projects to be an ace and has already made his major league debut for the Mariners. Walker possesses a plus fastball along with an outstanding curveball and good changeup. If Walker does not get moved there is an excellent chance that Walker starts the season in the major leagues. If the Rays are willing to move David Price then Walker would be the piece that they need in return and the Mariners have said they would definitely consider dangling the youngster. Why would the Mariners dangle their top arm prospect? Because they have other top end of the rotation arms in James Paxton, Danny Hultzen, and Tyler Pike in the minors. The Mariners are loaded with talented arms and Walker could be expendable to land Price.
The second piece which I could see the Rays requiring from Seattle to make this trade work is 2nd basemen/shortstop, Chris Taylor. Taylor brings a very steady bat to the table as evidenced by his .293 average in double A Jackson and .335 average with the High Desert Mavericks. Taylor also possesses speed and his range in the field as grown since being drafted by the Mariners. The Rays have Hak-Ju Lee in the system but he really is a shortstop. Taylor could be a very nice project for the Rays to work on, a project which promises to bring back great results.
The final piece I could see the Rays asking for would come from the major league level in Justin Smoak. Smoak has come nowhere close to living up to the potential he had when the Mariners acquired him from the Texas Rangers in the Cliff Lee trade but if anyone can help a player put it all together, it is most definitely the Rays. The Rays took a chance on James Loney last season and it paid off. Smoak has tremendous power potential and the Rays have an opening at the first base position which could be filled by him. Mariners fans are growing impatient of Smoak and they could clear room at first base by trading Smoak in order to either bring back Kendrys Morales or move Jesus Montero to first. Smoak is an interesting piece and if the Rays were to land Walker and Taylor, I am sure they would be able to afford to take a chance on grooming Smoak for future success.
These three pieces are what I think could possibly get the deal done. Obviously, nobody knows exactly what the Rays would want for David Price but this seems logical in my mind. Surely, there could be other pieces involved going either way. If the Mariners acquire Price their rotation would look something like this:
That is a scary, still young rotation. If only the Mariners could get some offense they would be unstoppable with that rotation coupled with some run support. Maybe that would be solved with the likes of Robinson Cano or Matt Kemp, but first they must acquire David Price.