Cleveland veteran writer Terry Pluto posted a catch-all article on sports in his area, covering a variety of topics, and buried down the page was a section on the Indians' recent inquiry as to the cost of David Price:
When the Tribe talked to Tampa Bay, names mentioned by the Rays were Carlos Santana and Danny Salazar.
I was told those two were starting points, and the Rays also wanted some top minor league prospects. I heard Francisco Lindor's name also was mentioned.
Price's agent has already said the lefty won't sign an extension with some teams. That includes Seattle, where Price may be headed. It's doubtful that Cleveland is high on his wish list.
From the Tribe's point of view, dealing Santana, Salazar and a top prospect such as Lindor for a pitcher likely to leave after two years is a lousy deal.
Santana is under contract through the 2017 season (a club option for $12 million). Many teams are very interested in Santana because he has a long-term deal in place.
Salazar is the team's most exciting pitching prospect. He was 2-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 10 starts for the Tribe. With a fastball in the high 90s mph and excellent control (65 strikeouts to 15 walks in 52 innings), the 23-year-old has a chance to be a star. He can't be a free agent until after the 2019 season.
The key for Salazar will be staying healthy, as he has had major elbow surgery.
Tampa Bay is in the position to ask for the prime prospects from any team wanting Price because Price is two years away from free agency. The Rays want young players such as Santana, who are signed long-term.
Those are not the players the Tribe is willing to trade.
So the Rays would build their trade around Santana and Salazar, and may or may not want Lindor as well. Pluto depicts Salazar as being a risk having recovered from elbow surgery, and doesn't dish much on the Indians' top prospect Lindor, but it's interesting to see them listed alongside Santana in a trade rumor.
In my discussions with SB Nation's Indians blog Let's Go Tribe, all three of these players were considered untouchable, particularly when Lindor's name was mentioned. The shortstop prospect projects to be a consensus Top-5 this off-season, as Wil Myers was last year.
If the Rays were rebuffed on Lindor in particular, it's good to read they at least required Santana and Salazar. One aspect I would appreciate in this deal is the contracts with years of control for both players, and the positional flexibility of Santana. He could have tons of value with his roaming defense between catcher and the infield corners, though given the recent three year deals given to Ryan Hanigan and James Loney, it's not clear where he'd fit on a regular basis beyond Designated Hitter.
UPDATE - 9:15 PM
Well, this is awkward...
Heard from #Rays source that Cleveland report on Price trade talks including #Indians Santana, Salazar and more was "completely off-base"— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 18, 2013