As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches the St. Louis Cardinals continue to be mentioned along with perhaps the biggest trade target this year, David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays. Below are the latest rumors involving the Cardinals and David Price from the last 48 hours along with analysis. The reports come from a variety of sources including Viva el Birdos, Buster Olney of ESPN, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, and Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The sheer quantity of credible sources talking about Price and the Cardinals suggests that some deal is at least being talked about within both organizations.
Yesterday Rick Hummel reported that the Cardinals received encouraging news from the most recent MRI on pitcher Michael Wacha's shoulder. Wacha is now scheduled to start throwing in two weeks and the club expects Wacha to be back by early September.
Wacha's injury had seemingly made a trade for Price more likely. Wacha's improved health may, conversely, would appear to make a trade for pitching less likely, but Humel quotes General Manager John Mozeliak as saying, They're independent of each other. That's still something we can explore in the next eight to 10 days."
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted that the Cardinals are doing their "due diligence" on the Price by attempting "to measure chances of a) player re-signing w/them and b) their willing to pay the high cost." Goold compared the process to the Cardinals pursuit of Matt Holliday via a trade in 2009.
Goold's tweets are seemingly confirmed by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, who wrote based on a "major league source" that the Cardinals may not want to trade for Price without an agreement in place for a long-term deal.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that there is "at least one corner of the Cardinals organization" that has talked about trading for both David Price and Evan Longoria. However, Olney also wrote that there is no indication that this idea has been brought up with the Rays.
David Price himself helped to fuel the rumor mill by attending a game at Busch Stadium as a fan when the Cardinals played the Dodgers Sunday night. Price tweeted about his experience saying, "Had a bud light, ate some peanuts, and did the wave!!! I was a great fan and stayed the rest of the game!!!" Price is from the Nashville area, which may make him more open to signing a long-term contract with the Cardinals at a discount price.
Viva el Birdos detail the current state of the Cardinals payroll in analyzing a potential trade for price. While the team is currently under their payroll for 2013, Craig Edwards of VEB concludes that the team would likely need to jettison some salary if they acquired Price and signed him to a long-term contract. Some names Edwards mentions as possible departures include Jon Jay and Allen Craig.
There is apparently some talk of the Cardinals trading for Price within the Cardinals organization, and in previous years the Rays have followed a pattern of trading their star players, like Price, a year or two before they reach free agency. The question that remains is what the Rays are asking for Price and whether the Cardinals are willing to pay the price, pun intended, in prospect talent - namely Oscar Taveras.
If the Cardinals and Rays ever did talk about a deal for both Longoria and Price the deal would inevitably have to include either Kolten Wong or Matt Carpenter, as Longoria plays third base where Carpenter currently resides.
At this point a trade for Price still seems unlikely given the costs involved, but their is at least the possibility given all the talk. If one had to put a percentage on it, the likelihood of Price to St. Louis deal would probably be around 20 percent at this point.