Joe Maddon kicked off the winter meetings by chatting with the media on Monday morning, leading off with the hot topic of the week: What's the deal with David Price?
"What I've heard is, obviously, what everybody else is hearing. There is a lot of conjecture and talk about it. When you lose a player of that magnitude, not just the fact that he's such a good pitcher, but this guy ... matters a lot to the clubhouse and to the team. (But) having said all those things ... this is how we have to operate within our little world.
"So if it were to happen, it's one of those that's almost the word 'devastating' in a sense. But we have to recover from those kind of moments if it does actually occur."
Maddon continued, saying that it's far less likely that Price get traded during the season, and that,
"Guys like him are rare. David is a rare person and a rare pitcher, and from a managerial perspective, we like to keep those kind of guys."
But citing the departures of Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton and James Shields, Maddon has had plenty of preparation. Maddon went on to note he doesn't believe the Rays would trade Price mid-season, indicating it's now or next year, in his eyes.
So who fill take Price's shoes when he leaves?
"Alex Cobb," he said, "is the kind of guy that can eventually be that kind of player on the team, based on his tenacity, his work ethic and his performance. We definitely have that within our clubhouse.
"But I really do like (an atmosphere that's a little) crazy. I like fun. I like 'off the wall.' I like all that. That's really important. You play 162 (games). You're with each other every day. I do like a little 'crazy,' too. I don't know where the 'crazy' is going to come from, because David did supply 'crazy.' "
Recap of Monday's David Price rumors:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Source :The Rays and Dodgers may be matching up on David Price.</p>— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) <a href="https://twitter.com/MLBBruceLevine/statuses/410138297751830528">December 9, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
but the lack of top-notch prospects worthy of a Price trade seem to be lacking in the Dodgers system. Reports indicate they are focused on player development, still in the wake of the Punto trade a year and four months ago when they sent off many key prospects.
- Mariners: Eligible as a DP landing spot if they're willing to give up Taijuan Walker, but...
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>For good reason. RT <a href="https://twitter.com/JonHeymanCBS">@JonHeymanCBS</a>: NL GM: "I wouldn't trade taijuan walker straight up for david price." Wow, TW is beloved by execs.</p>— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) <a href="https://twitter.com/GregJohnsMLB/statuses/410017356258496512">December 9, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
That being said, the Mariners are said to have zero interest in letting go of Walker or James Paxton, indicating they felt including Walker was a mistake when attempting to acquire Justin Upton last year. Per Heyman, "#mariners people dont want to include walker or paxton, & would rather build Price offer around position guys."
- Rangers: Heyman wrapped up the day by concluding that the Dodgers, Mariners and Rangers appear to be the likely landing spots for Price, citing the flush farm system as the appeal of Texas; however, per MLBTR:
The Rangers will "probably not" be involved in a trade for a high-end starting pitcher, GM Jon Daniels conceded on Monday. "We'd love to have some of the guys that are out there, but there doesn't appear to be a fit for us," Daniels said, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- Angels: MLB.com, as with every other baseball outlet, assessed what team DP would end up on and threw in the Angels, mentioning Mark Trumbo as part of a potential package. Meanwhile, the Angels seem more intent on landing Tyler Skaags from the Diamondbacks for Trumbo, which may limit the D'Backs ability to pursue Price.
On the other hand:
Towers: "we have the prospects to get anyone that is available." #diamondbacks— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 9, 2013
More Rays Rumors:
- Last year's longman might return to the team that gave him his first post-season adventure:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>His last 2 teams RT <a href="https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal">@Ken_Rosenthal</a>: Sources: Free-agent RHP Jamey Wright choosing between <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Rays&src=hash">#Rays</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Dodgers&src=hash">#Dodgers</a>."</p>— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) <a href="https://twitter.com/TBTimes_Rays/statuses/410258018430111744">December 10, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
- Both Joel Sherman and Jayson Stark believe that the Rays and Andrew Friedman aren't moving quickly moving Price, with a rival exec thinking that Friedman and Co "will move deliberately in an attempt to get the price as high as possible, then perhaps pull back and waiting for interested teams to get even more desperate."
Per MLB Trade Rumors:
D-Backs GM Kevin Towers and another exec told Sherman that the Rays have yet to push Price onto the market, and that their plan may involve waiting for teams to miss out on their first or second options, then capitalizing.
- Meanwhile, Tampa Bay and Milwaukee are the "likely" teams connected with the Mets' first baseman Ike Davis, who fits the mold of what Andrew Friedman is looking for at first next season. Per Rays Radio:
Friedman says a resolution to first base is NOT imminent. Ideally, Friedman indicated the importance of becoming more left-handed, or at least better against right-handed pitching.
Yesterday, Danny noted Ike has a Steamer projection of a .340 wOBA and 120 wRC+, among the highest expectations on the 1B market. You can read his full recap of first base options here.