The most sought after player rumored to be available on the trade front this month is Tampa Bay Rays staff ace David Price, who has reportedly drawn significant interest from the Seattle Mariners. According to FOX MLB writer Jon Morosi, the Mariners are currently engaged in ongoing discussions with Rays’ front office personnel about a blockbuster trade that would include Price and veteran infielder Ben Zobrist.
Although no deal is imminent, Morosi’s report marks the first substantial news leak regarding a potential trade involving the four-time All-Star and 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner. Price remains a vital component of the Rays’ seeming comeback effort in the mediocre AL East. He currently leads all of baseball in innings pitched (147.2) and strikeouts (164), posting a 9-7 record with a 3.23 ERA. At 44-53, Tampa Ray will begin the second half of the 2014 season 9.5 games back of the first place Baltimore Orioles (52-42), but all indications point toward the Rays holding out hope they can contend.
That will inevitably change over the coming weeks, which could prompt Rays general manager Andrew Friedman to pull the trigger on a deal that would send Price and Zobrist to Seattle. At the moment, there is no clear-cut indication as to who the Mariners would be forced to part with, but the Rays presumably desire multiple highly-touted minor league prospects in return.
The Mariners are in the midst of a 13-year playoff drought. At 51-44, they’re enjoying their best season since winning a franchise record 116 games in 2001. Seattle currently owns the second wild card spot in the American League, but can greatly enhance their chances of winning their first pennant in the franchise’s 38 years of existence by making a big splash at the trade deadline.
Seattle must make Price a priority in order to propel themselves toward the 2014 World Series. As it stands, the Mariners flaunt a solid starting rotation, headlined by perennial Cy Young Award candidate Felix Hernandez (11-2, 2.12 ERA), but the M’s struggle offensively, averaging just 3.98 runs per game. Adding Price would create one of the best 1-2-3 punches in baseball, coupling the Rays’ ace with Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma (8-4, 2.98 ERA).
This season marks the best chance the Mariners have had to legitimately compete for a championship in over a decade. Failing to take advantage of an opportunity of this caliber could be detrimental to the Mariners’ future. The AL West is stacked with a pair of title-worthy teams in the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels. Seattle now has the chance to sincerely add themselves to the mix.