The Pirates are one of several teams that's not only interested in Rays pitcher David Price, but thinks it can put together a package good enough to convince the Rays to deal him, Jeff Passan writes. I say "reportedly" not because I have any reason to doubt Passan personally, but because this report is so out of line with everything we've read about the Pirates' offseason so far that it's hard not to be skeptical.
I wrote a couple months ago about why I thought trading for Price didn't really make sense. I suppose it makes a little more sense now that it's increasingly unlikely A.J. Burnett will be back. But let's back up and approach this from the Pirates' perspective. They've been very outspoken about not wanting to pay Burnett $14.1 million next season. Now, David Price is a great pitcher, but Steamer has both Burnett and Price projected to post 3.8 WAR next year. They're not as far apart as you might think. Maybe the Pirates know something about Burnett we don't know, but given their total lack of reported involvement in the bidding for any player who costs anything at all, I don't think that's what's going on. Meanwhile, Price is only under control for two more seasons after this one and won't be cheap, probably coming in at around $13 million for 2014 and $17 million or so for 2015.
If the Pirates aren't willing to give Burnett $14.1 million (and maybe that's just posturing, but they all but printed up T-shirts that said "WHAT HAS TWO THUMBS AND IS REALLY CHEAP?" on them), why would they be in any rush to pay around $30 million for two years of David Price, all while giving up their entire farm system to do it? It doesn't make sense. The Pirates surely could package some good young players to get David Price if they wanted to, but I'm not sure it would be very smart, and the money would likely be a problem for them.