News of the trade between the Oakland Athletics and Chicago Cubs spread quickly late last night. If you don't know it by now, the Cubs trade two of their top pitchers - Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel - for Oakland's top two prospects - SS Addison Russell and OF Billy McKinley - as well as Dan Straily and a PTBNL.
However, when reading up on the trade, one thing caught my eye. According to Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, the Athletics initially talked with the Rays about trading Price for a deal centered around Russell.
They considered, for example, David Price. Once they steeled themselves to trading Addison Russell, the precocious 20-year old who was going to be their shortstop for the next seven years starting in 2015, the A's knew anyone was in play, including Price. They talked with the Rays. Permutations of a deal went back and forth. It never materialized.
In the latest prospect rankings, Russell's a top-15 prospect in the MLB, but the Rays weren't interested enough to move forward with the trade. Take that however you want.
Could it be due to Rays being unimpressed with just the players they would receive in addition to Russell in the deal? Absolutely. Russell would make a lot of sense for the Rays who could become the team's starting shortstop within the next year or two. But they didn't bite.
Eventually, the A's moved on and made the deal with the Cubs, securing two pitchers rather than one. I assume the offer was of equal or lesser value than the one they offered to the Rays, based off of the unmatched value Price can bring another team.
What does this tell us? Other MLB teams better be ready to "give up the farm" for Price's services. And really, this trade puts the Rays in a great position. In my opinion, unless the Athletics win the World Series, the Cubs win this trade. While Samardzija and Hammel are quality pitchers, they aren't near the class of pitching of David Price. And they were worth at least an organization's top two prospects.
In other words - the Rays are going to have no problem acquiring the best young talent a potential suitor has to offer when the time comes to trade Price.