Seattle made what could possibly be the biggest move of the offseason earlier today by signing Robinson Cano to a 10-year mega-contract, however, they may not be done yet. According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, the Mariners are very interested in trading for former Cy Young award winner and current Rays' ace David Price.
MLB exec convinced Mariners' nest play is a David Price trade.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) December 6, 2013
Mariners believe they have the prospects to acquire David Price from Rays. We will see if they can shock us twice.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 6, 2013
Of course, the [synonym to price] to acquire Price will be significant, likely along the lines of the package the Rays received from the Royals in last year's James Shields trade. The Seattle Times' Ryan Divish reports that the Mariners would have to include top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker in any deal for the left-hander, and that would likely be just a conversation starter.
Cano's signing does give the Mariners some flexibility when it comes to their middle infield, as the now displaced Nick Franklin, just 22, is regarded as a potential All-Star at second base, and could be used as a trade piece.
Snagging both Walker and Franklin would be huge for the Rays. Walker would restock the club's rotation and fit in nicely with Alex Cobb, Matt Moore, Chris Archer, and Jeremy Hellickson, all of which are under 27 years old. Franklin would give them a long-term replacement for incumbent Ben Zobrist, and in the short-term, it could allow them to use Zobrist in a super-utility role, or they could just place him at first base, which is currently vacant, until another roster hole arises.
Price would significantly improve an already strong Mariners' rotation that features another former Cy winner in Felix Hernandez, and Hisashi Iwakuma, who emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball last year.
The 28-year-old Price has two years of club control remaining until he enters free agency, where he is expected to receive a contract along the lines of those that Hernandez and Justin Verlander received earlier this year. In just over 5 seasons with the Rays, the former number 1 overall pick has an 18.6 WAR and 122 ERA+. His best season came in 2012, when he went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA, 150 ERA, 6.9 WAR, and 205 strikeouts in 211 innings, as he narrowly edged out Verlander for the AL Cy Young award. Price battled through injuries this last season, making just 27 starts and throwing less than 200 innings for the first time since his rookie year in 2009. In limited action, he still put up a 3.33 ERA and WAR of 4.4.