You would probably be better served to place this in the “Very Long Shot But Stranger Things Have Happened” file, but for what it’s worth, former GM-turned-analyst Jim Bowden believes that there is at least a chance that the Indians may try to pull the trigger on a mega-deal for the former Cy Young winner.
This would also make our own Adam Hintz somewhat of a baseball prophet.
In Bowden’s latest ESPN Insider-only column, he lays out this suggestion in all of its unlikely plausibility:
Consider the Indians a sleeper in the Price sweepstakes. While most people doubt they can become real players for Price, manager Terry Francona might be able to convince the front office with Price and Justin Masterson at the top of the rotation they have a legitimate shot of getting back to the postseason and perhaps the World Series.
Francisco Lindor would provide the Rays a long-term answer at shortstop. Yunel Escobar could serve as a good stopgap, giving Lindor plenty of time to develop properly in the minors. Danny Salazar has a chance to be an impact top-of-the-rotation starter if they can’t get Lindor. Salazar would be under Rays’ control.
So, yeah, there’s a lot of apprehension being created here unless the Indians are looking to push their chips to the middle of the table to to not only overtake the Tigers, but to go all out for a shot at the World Series. If the Indians as an organization are convinced that Price is worth the risk to take, then they have to pull the trigger. But is the short-term gain worth the long-range view? If the Indians strip their farm system bare for one shot at a title, then they better get it done this year. Price’s price to sign long-term would make Swisher’s and Bourn’s “Big Money Deals” collectively look like the spare change we keep in piggy banks. It seems inconceivable that the Indians would even be able to meet Price’s price even at the halfway point due to all the factors involved.
The Rays wouldn’t put a guy like this on the block if they were able to afford him. They have the similar constraints that the Indians have dealt with. And wherever Price goes, the Rays are going to make out like fortuitous bandits with an unbelievable treasure trove in return. Personally, I’m just not sure that the Indians are in a safe enough position to take that kind of a risk yet.
Granted, the Indians are more of a darkhorse candidate in Bowden’s mind rather than the fruntrunners. He has the Dodgers and Rangers ahead of the Indians with the Cardinals, Braves and Royals (ugh…) on the lower end of destinations. The chances of Price even being thought of as a possibility seems unlikely. But if Bowden has an ear to the ground, it could mean the Indians are headed in a franchise-altering direction, for better or for worse.
But the bottom line is this: If the Tribe splurges for a new ace they must make it count. Because Price’s stay will likely be short.