For the Cards: Is the Price right?

After wrapping up a series in Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon, the Rays jetted to St. Louis, where they arrived about the time the Cardinals took the field to face the Dodgers in a Sunday night. Among those in the stands for the Sunday night game was David Price, who, along with Evan Longoria, tweeted pictures of watching the game from seats in left field.

It’s ironic, of course, given the steady dose of speculation about Price potentially landing in St. Louis for a pennant race before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Cardinals will not, however, see how Price fares in Busch Stadium this week, as the Rays’ rotation did not line up to feature him in St. Louis.

As the Trade Deadline nears, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak has played his cards close to the vest, though it is known that the Cardinals have been evaluating the starting pitching market. Price, who is making $14 million this season and will be arbitration-eligible again next year, is considered the gem of that group.

The cost (in talent, as well as dollars) of landing Price will be exceptionally high given that the Rays lefty will not be free-agent eligible until after the 2015 season. The Cardinals have the young talent to make the swap, but they also have to decide whether such a trade would be in their best interest for both the short- and long-term. If the Cardinals can get a commitment from Price to sign beyond 2015 that would make the cost much more palatable.

There is also the question of whether the Rays are ready to punt on this season to build up for the next. Though the Rays were 18 games under on June 10, they have made up substantial ground over the past five weeks and now sit just six games out of a postseason berth. That certainly doesn’t position them as definite sellers.

– Jenifer Langosch

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