Los Angeles Dodgers trade rumors: Tampa Bay Rays edition

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers could use a versatile veteran like Ben Zobrist

In what might be the biggest surprise in baseball in 2014, the Tampa Bay Rays are finally bad.

They haven’t been decimated by injuries, they just cannot field a competitive team in the uber competitive AL East.

Currently, the Rays are 11.5 games behind the first-place Toronto Blue Jays in the East. They will be getting calls prior to the July 31 trade deadline, and the Los Angeles Dodgers should be on the other line.

With a seemingly bottomless pocket, the Dodgers will be in on every big-name player available at the deadline. The top prize this year will surely be David Price, and the Dodgers could be interested.

Price was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the 19th round of the 2004 draft, but chose to attend Vanderbilt instead. The move worked out for Price, who was selected first overall in 2007 by the Rays and has been one of the top pitchers in baseball since then. The 28-year-old is 6-7 on the season with a 3.63 ERA, but leads baseball with 144 strikeouts. With the struggles of Dodgers starter Dan Haren, the Dodgers could look to finally bring Price to LA.

Imagine a pitching rotation where Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu are the third and fourth starters, respectively. If this trade were to go down, the Dodgers fifth starter would be Josh Beckett, who has the third lowest ERA in baseball among qualified starters. A five-game playoff series with Clayton Kershaw, David Price and Zack Greinke getting the ball would be nightmarish for opposing teams.

However, the price (you didn’t think I wouldn’t make this pun) would be way too high . The Dodgers have done a great job holding on to top prospects like Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Zach Lee and Julio Urias. To acquire Price, it would take at least two of these prospects, plus likely another pitching prospect. Price is a great pitcher and he comes with one of the coolest dogs I’ve ever seen, but the idea of Joc in center and Seager at third in two years is too tempting to give up on.

Other than Price, there is another Ray that should definitely be in Ned Colletti’s mind: Ben Zobrist. Zobrist isn’t a flashy player or a game-changer, but is one of the most solid players in baseball. He’s incredibly versatile, having played every position but pitcher and catcher in his career.

Zobrist provides the Dodgers with much needed infield depth. I’m sure not many Dodger fans want Miguel Rojas and Carlos Triunfel stepping to the plate in the postseason stretch, so infield depth should be second on the Dodgers’ shopping list at the deadline, right behind bullpen help. The switch-hitting utility player could give Dee Gordon days off against lefties and give Hanley Ramirez more rest to keep him fresh for the postseason.

The price for Zobrist would be much less. Tampa recently called up Jake Odorizzi and Alex Colome, so their farm is pretty much tapped on pitching prospects. Zobrist could probably be had for Lee and another pitching prospect. With the Dodgers love for drafting high school arms, Lee is a lot more expendable than Joc or Seager.

The Dodgers are pretty stacked at most positions. It will be interesting to see whether the Dodgers look to add small pieces for depth or if they swing for the fences and try to field a super team with potentially the best pitching rotation in baseball history. A guy like Price would almost make the Dodgers an unfair postseason matchup, but starting pitching is not an area of concern for these Dodgers. Instead, they should look to solidify their infield depth by adding a veteran utility guy like Ben Zobrist.

 

Related: Los Angeles Dodgers trade rumors- Outfield edition

  • chris floyd

    Jake odorizzi has been up for almost th whole season. You don’t need zobrist because you have alex guerrero to back up hanley, gordon and turner. Joc pederson, urias, zach lee, and yimi garcia, for price and then trade haren to the angels for prospect replenishment. You could have two titles with price’s help.

    • Juan C. Paolo

      Urias is not going anywhere…not even for Price. And I hope they don’t trade Peterson…I guess no price for L.A…

    • craigbhill

      Preposterous. Do the yokels in Tampa think LA is that stupid? We’re not as dumb as you look. We’re not gutting the farm for another pitcher to fit in what is already the best rotation in baseball. See my comment above about what we would send to TB for Price—who would be either the 4th or 5th starter on the Dodgers, i kid you not. He’s having one of his worst years, you think he’d get better with age or continue going downhill on a slight slope? The Price tag on him put on by ridiculous posters and article writers is laughable.

      • Harold

        Um…yes.

      • BBall4Life

        4th or 5th in your starting rotation? You should at least do some minimum research before weighing in………that way you don’t look so foolish.

  • craigbhill

    I don’t know about Zobrist’s D, but i do about about Rojas’, which is impressively sparkling. And he’s hitting about .270. Also you fail to mention Justin Turner, who as a backup on the left side of the infield has been godlike. The Dodgers FO have made it very clear they are not interested in throwing more money at backups for the infield. As far as Price goes, the stars on the farm are untoucahble, in that they are the replacements for the aging veterans. We’ve already got our future in hand, we don’t need to go fishing until they are proven busts, and then the FO will go exploring, and buying. Not now.

    If the Rays want something for Price, we’ll give them Dan Haren AND pay the salary of Carl Crawford, shipping him there for some much-needed offense, and throw in Paul Maholm. No pitchers younger than that will be considered. And i have to say, that trio should impress TB and be enough to seal the deal.

    • john john

      you got it

    • Harold

      Good sir, you shall give us you young prospects and be happy in doing so. And you can keep Crawford. The Rays let him go at the right time…

  • Cloud9

    Dodger weakness is relief pitching… any changes other than that is a waste of time and money!

  • gpard

    Why would anyone believe that the Tampa Bay Rays would give up the best player in their entire organization (David Price) for lower level prospects is foolish. You have got to give good to get good. As far as Ben Zobrist’s abilities, don’t compare people to him unless they have the credentials (he is a two-time all star, and was a gold glove finalist last season).

    • ScottHoward

      Because his contract expires after the current season. Price is going to the Dodgers next year anyways. Do you guys actually ever think before speaking first? Tampa will have to get what they can for Price. No team is going to offer too much for a guy that most teams will not be able to sign long term, hence he will be a rental play for teams like the Cards and Giants at best. What team will trade away top prospects for a rental player?

      • Harold

        His contract expires at the end of next season. The Rays can (and probably will) trade him this off season if they chose not to trade him by the non-waiver trade deadline.

  • Buddha

    Hey Alex! So how do you say the Rays haven’t been decimated by injuries when Matt Moore is out for the year with Tommy John surgery, Jeremy Hellickson hasn’t started a game all season due to elbow, and Alex Cobb missed a month with oblique issue?

    That’s 3 members of your starting staff from last year have missed a ton of starts this season. So that coupled with the Rays inept offense at times leads to their poor record this season.

  • Peckinpaw

    i would rather try and trade ethier to seattle (who needs a bat/OF) for Nick Franklin who can play SS/2B.
    I am actually ok trading for price, send them Lee, another pitching prospect (not Urias) maybe like Chris Reed and Scott Van Slyke….. i know we like van slyke, but Pedersen is going to be a stud, and soon.

  • PeterComer

    I’m going to be laughing at the Dodger Fans when the Cardinals trade for David Price and use him to win the World Series. David Price can dominate a game and is every bit as good if not better than Kershaw. Derek Jeter himself called Price the toughest pitcher in baseball to hit against when Price last went to the All Star game. Price has at least 7 good years left in him he is only 28 years old. He is a former #1 Overall pick, a multiple All Star and a Cy Young award winner. Dodger prospects may or not pan out and no one really knows for sure. When Price out pitches Kershaw in the NLDS and advance to the World Series don’t cry.

  • Frank Minor

    How is Dan Haren struggling at 8-4 ERA of 3.54

  • David Ramos

    If the Dodgers REALLY needed starting pitching… They would’ve signed Masahiro Tanaka without giving up a draft pick or trading away there farm system for David Price.
    Dodgers need to trade for both bullpen and a better bench.
    Enough said!

  • Navy Chief Navy Pride

    I love Kemp, but he’s the outfielder with the most value – at least among the available Dodger OFs (Pederson and Puig would not be in that category). Move Kemp to Boston for prospects that will satisfy Tampa and bunch them in with Zach Lee. Need to shoot for the moon now and the only way to get by Washington/Atlanta/St Louis in the playoffs is with starting pitching. Imagine a three man Cy Young rotation where Ryu and Beckett are in the bullpen. Nasty.