Last night I outlined three reasons why the David Price trade was a brilliant move. A lot of fans disagreed. But in shooting down my case, most of those were actually arguing something else.
There are two different ways to look at the Price trade: 1) Did the Rays get good pieces in return?; and 2) Could they have gotten a better deal if they waited? Or even better, could the Rays have gotten the same deal this winter if they waited and kept Price for the rest of the season?
I don’t see a problem with arguing in favor of both points. The problem is, we don’t know the answer to the second (and third) and can only guess.
Buster Olney asked around Major League Baseball and the consensus he got was that people were surprised the Rays didn’t get more:
Informal polling: Lots of folks around MLB surprised that TB didn’t get more for David Price. Feeling is could’ve done this in December.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 1, 2014
Notice that Olney doesn’t say that people think the trade was bad, just surprised it wasn’t more. Olney went on ESPN Radio this morning and clarified his comments and this is where the Rays may now be victims of their own success.
“Remember, that surprise that the Rays didn’t do better is framed by the incredible respect people with other teams have for the Rays ability to make trades,” Olney said on ESPN Radio. “They have a reputation among casual fans as a draft-and-develop team. That’s not the case. Their strength has been in making trades. And that’s why after the trade last night, you heard from so many people around baseball saying ‘wow’.”
In other words, people were surprised the Rays weren’t able to rob another team of their entire farm system like they did with the Cubs in the Matt Garza deal and the Royals with the James Shields trade (which, by the way, the Rays also gave up a second pitcher). And now Rays fans are angry because other teams are suddenly shy about just opening the vault and saying “take everything!”
Let’s face it, what General Manager out there is not going to hesitate now when dealing with Andrew Friedman? It has probably gotten to the point where if the Rays say they want a certain prospect, other teams are starting to think to themselves, “if the Rays like this kid, maybe we should hold on to him.”
Did the Rays get three very good pieces for Price? I think so, even if they aren’t sexy. Could the Rays have gotten this same deal or even better this winter? Maybe, but we don’t know and neither does anybody else.