In need of some rotation help, the Phillies have "kicked the tires" on Rays stud lefty David Price, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
It's not surprising. Teams "kick the tires" on most big-time players perceived to be available. It doesn't mean a trade is pending, it probably just means Price's agent or a Rays exec let Rosenthal know there's interest.
Rosenthal notes in the article that it is unlikely a deal gets done because Ruben Amaro Jr. knows that his team has multiple needs that one megadeal wouldn't fix.
Price is, however, an enormous difference-maker. For a quick second, imagine a rotation including Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and David Price. That would be tops in baseball, but it would also be cause for concern. The Phils would have to commit the kind of annual average salary to Price that Roy Halladay just came off of (probably more than $20MM, actually), and the Phils proved in 2011 that they can fall short even with three ace pitchers performing at peak levels. It would also take a ton to acquire to Price, even though it's the worst kept secret in baseball that Tampa Bay can't afford to extend him.
At this point the Phils are probably better off saving those prospects for themselves or dealing them for a bat. It's hard not to be interested in a pitcher who over the last four seasons was 61-32 with a 3.02 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 8.3 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9, but Price is going to get very pricey, very soon.
He made $10.1 million last season in his second year of arbitration. That's going to rise to about $14-15 million in 2014 and since he's a Super Two with fourth-year arbitration eligibility, maybe $17-18 million in 2015. Then he's a free agent who will be due Felix Hernandez money.
I love Price. I'm sure you do too. But, for the Phillies, is he worth top prospects and one of the richest contracts in baseball?