As you may know, the MLB Winter Meetings are coming up this week, and that means two things:

1) Rumors will circle about every team being connected to every player. Remember that one time the Indians were linked to Prince Fielder? Can you imagine how that would have gone down? How many locations would Melt have now if they had Prince Fielder in town (At least a dozen, by my estimations)?

2) Almost none of those rumors will come to fruition.

With those two thoughts in mind, please take everything I say in this article with a gigantic grain of salt.

Anyway, as we head into the Winter Meetings, one of the big names on the docket is Tampa Bay starter David Price, winner of the 2012 Cy Young Award. Price is under organizational control for two full seasons, so he is near the apex of his value to a prospective team. More importantly, the 2014-2015 window coincides nicely with the Indians current contention window. Price would instantly become the best Indians pitcher since CC Sabathia and/or Cliff Lee won back to back Cy Young Awards in 2007 and 2008, and the Indians would instantly become real challengers to Detroit in the division (though it’s entirely possible the Tigers are narrowing that gap all on their own).

But do the Indians have the assets required to pull of that deal without crippling their contention window? Honestly, they might.

The Rays started Yunel Escobar at shortstop throughout 2013, where he posted a .698 OPS and merely average defense. The Rays would certainly covet Francisco Lindor, who is currently one of the top prospects in all of baseball.

I know, I know, nearly everyone reading this just clenched their muscles in anger. No! We can’t give up Lindor! He’s our sacred cow! One of the best!

Yeah, well, that may be true, but it’s a moot point, as Lindor would not be enough to get Price. The Rays got Wil Myers for James Shields, and will certainly be seeking a lot more for the Cy Young winner with two years of organizational control. If the Indians were determined to get Price, they would likely have to offer up a package centered around Lindor and… Danny Salazar.

Wait! Put down your pitchforks, and hear me out. I love Salazar, I’m on the record saying he’s my favorite pitching prospect in the organization since Cliff Lee, and I think he’s got a really high ceiling. I even think the Rays might agree with me and covet Salazar more than they covet Lindor. Premium pitching is hard to come by, and Salazar has all the potential in the world to evolve into another David Price. But you have to remember the key word there: potential.

It’s not likely, but Salazar also has the potential for a lot of not so good things to happen: maybe he blows out his arm and needs Tommy John surgery (not altogether unlikely, despite his smooth delivery), maybe he never adds some movement to his flat fastball (at some point, the home run Delmon Young hit in the Wild Card game is going to come back down to Earth. I think.), and maybe he just doesn’t have the stamina to pitch 7-8-9 innings on a regular basis. We think Salazar will be great, but we don’t know for sure. He’s an unproven commodity.

The same things can be said about Lindor. What if his back injury, which kept him sidelined a lot near the end of 2013, is a chronic issue? What if he never hits enough to justify his high prospect status? What if he’s another name for the Indians’ AAAA All-Stars (with LaPorta and Marte)? We don’t think this is the fate for Lindor, but we don’t know. Again, he’s an unproven commodity.

David Price is a proven commodity. He had a 3.33 ERA in 2013, and that represented a down year for the Rays ace. That was roughly the same as Ubaldo Jimenez (3.30 ERA), and Ubaldo was pitching out of his mind. For a team with a contention window that extends from RIGHT NOW to the RELATIVELY NEAR FUTURE, adding Price without taking much away from the current roster would be a real game changer.

Is a package centered around Salazar and Lindor enough to get Price? Honestly, I don’t even know that. The Rays have every right to seek a king’s ransom for Price, and Salazar/Lindor will not be the best package they could be offered.

But if I were Chris Antonetti, I think I’d pencil in a rotation that looked like this:

1. David Price
2. Justin Masterson
3. Corey Kluber
4. Zach McAllister

and I’d seriously consider kicking the tires on a franchise- (and career-) defining trade.

What do YOU think? Do you think I’m crazy? Do you think it’s too much to give up? Comment below and share your thoughts.


  • andy says:

    im sorry but that’s too much. I’m not willing to give up two of the best prospects we’ve had in a long time for two years of price. And what do we do after those two years? I don’t think we can only look at now, but at the future to.

  • Daniel says:

    I think we should take a look at both Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs and Jon Niese from the Mets. I think we could maybe end up working a multi-team trade to land one of those two guys. They both have a ton of upside and would provide a serious boost to the rotation individually. The Mets are desperate for a shortstop and we can trade them Asdrubal and a prospect for Niese. As for Samardzija, we’d have to put together a bigger package but do have the tools necessary to do it. I don’t think we’d have to give up Lindor or Salazar for any of those two guys.

  • medfest says:

    Nah,you’re not crazy.The best part about the off-season is dreaming up deals.

    It isn’t too much to give up for Price,it’s not enough.The Rays will have to be bowled over to deal him this season,they are contenders after all.They would have to get a Wil Myers for James Shields deal again.

    We all like to think of Lindor as some kind of franchise saviour,but the truth is there a lots of talented shortstops in the minor leagues(look at the Indians own farm system),he’s not that rare a commodity.And he’s not a five tool player…yet.

    The worry with Price is that he lost a couple of MPH off his fastball last year,after starting the season on the DL.

    Let me throw my own trade proposal out there:

    Asdrubal Cabrera (10m for one year) to the Yankeees to replace Cano.In Exchange the Tribe gets Brendan Ryan(2.5m for two years) and Mark Montgomery and/or Delliance Bettances or Manuel Baluenos.

    Tribe dumps 7.5 million in salary to free up cash for a starter(Colon?) and gets a gold glove to plug in til Lindor gets here.The pitching prospects are are coming off injury riddled seasons and the Yankees have never been long on patience.This is about the only deal I could figure out where trading Cabrera would work for both teams.

  • Chris Burnham says:

    This was Jim Bowden’s idea, too. And he’s usually insane.

    As I said in my piece about a month ago, this would be a all-out, win-or-else gamble that Antonetti and friends had better make work. Because he’s not going to come cheap with an extension. I would have a VERY hard time justifying trading the intoxicating talent of a Salazar and Lindor (basically, a major portion of the team’s future and fortunes are wrapped up in these two kids) for a guy who is probably going to get $200 million-plus from someone. And that will never be this franchise.

    If they were to go for it, it better happen. Otherwise it would just be a splash to make a splash, and the Indians can’t just throw into the wind.

  • Gvl Steve says:

    The Indians have tried to deal with Tampa before and never got anywhere with it. Tampa wants the moon for their guys and our front office is cautious. I don’t see it happening, but it’s fun to talk about. I wouldn’t want to include Salazar in the deal because he can help the team win the next two years along with Price. If you are going all-in to win now, trade your A-ball and AA prospects who can’t help right away. But you only do that if you believe you are one guy away from a championship team. The Indians aren’t that close. There are still way too many holes and question marks.

  • Chris Burnham says:

    According to Jon Morosi, Tampa says Santana would be the starting point. That just seems like a cushy name to throw out before Antonetti slams the phone down.

  • shaun says:

    no thanks, i’d rather resign ubaldo and not giving up any of the future.
    on another note…only 5 more cold months until the bats are cracking!!!!

  • Cale says:

    Interesting blurb I just saw on…

    FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians are listening to trade offers for Justin Masterson.

    The Indians are aiming to contend in 2014 and Masterson is their ace, but Rosenthal says the thinking in dealing him would be to explore “longer-term options.” Masterson is entering his walk year, and the Tribe must not feel good about their chances of locking him up to a long-term extension. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported earlier this offseason that Masterson was looking for an extension in the five-year, $75 million range.

    Is Cleveland taking a tip from Tampa on how they deal with their star pitchers?

  • Gvl Steve says:

    $15 million per year is a bargain in this market for a front end starter. He’s probably worth 20 if he hits free agency. He’s worth the risk of a five-year deal too. The guy’s a horse.

  • Dave Run says:

    I hate panic trades.

  • Sean says:

    In no way should the Indians sacrifice Salazar nor Lindor for Price. Price would not be under team control for an extended future nor could the Indians likely pay him a long term contract. Salazar and Lindor are both young, extremely talented players that the Indians need. Lindor could be a future Gold Glove winner, while Salazar has the potential to be near the top of the league in K/9ip and could be a top of the rotation arm in a year or two. It would be nice to have David Price, but not at the expense of their top SS and top P prospect.

  • dev-n hannahs says:

    salazar! and lindor your more than crazy your blasphemous! salazar who is nearly unhitable and isnt a what if but a when! and lindor ! who makes trading asdrubal easy because he will ask for alot of money next year for two years of price who we shelled last year without a true clean up hitter why dont we throw in kipnis and santana because all of a sudden price will get us a ring in the next two years? no way! we face the tigers and need to score but salazar had the best performance against them out of everyone in our current rotation cabby is expendable because of lindor who is a 5 tool player and our version of mike trout why not cabby and buer for a proven # 2 also ronny rodriguz since kipnis isnt going anywhere even santana makes more since gomes and swisher are there we need a good pitcher but id rather have a power bat that makes other battters see more fastballs than a guy who could win one out of 5 if that happened id be pissing on shipiro’s grave if i had enough left in me after art modell’s tombstone wahoo is a family tradition and