The Seattle Mariners are not trading high-touted prospect Taijuan Walker for Tampa Bay Rays star pitcher David Price. Actually, let me rephrase that. The Mariners do not plan on trading Walker. That is according to general manager Jack Zduriencik.
Such a great word. Plan.
There are a lot of things in life that we do not plan on doing. However, circumstances occur and sometimes our plans go awry. Perhaps I am reading too much into Jack Z’s statement, but if you allow for a certain amount of interpretation, there is still room to get a deal done.
Granted, you can find more definitive statements out there. Consider this recent tweet from Ryan Divish:
Asked Jack Z, about the numbers issues. After good chuckle about the implication, he said, “We are not trading Taijuan.”
— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) December 13, 2013
One can understand the dilemma. If you give up Walker, you are surrendering one of the most highly-regarded prospects in all of baseball. In addition, acquiring Price essentially tells the fan base and the rest of the league that the Mariners believe they have enough talent to win the World Series in the next two years.
Why? Based on Price’s comments, he is not necessarily enamored with the idea of signing an extension with the Mariners. Obviously a player can change his perspective once he gets used to a new team, but that possibility remains.
Now, there is the philosophy of proven quantity versus unknown potential. With Price you have a more realistic possibility of immediate success. Walker is a different story. There is the oft-mentioned “upside” that could result in ace-like success at some point. Unfortunately, he could also struggle, get injured or just fail to reach his potential.
Plenty of “top” prospects have not panned out. There are no guarantees, particularly with pitchers. In case you missed it, Mark Prior just retired at age 33. He finished with a 42-29 career record, and unfortunately he spent most of his time on the injured list. Remember when he was going to have a long, sensational career?
Until Price signs an extension with the Rays, these rumors may persist. Based on the signing of Robinson Cano, anything is now possible with this Mariners team. The tone has changed from patient development to aggressive acquisition.
Conventional wisdom says that this is all talk and a deal won’t get done. However, conventional wisdom also suggests that a team like the Mariners does not outbid the New York Yankees and sign a guy to a 10-year, $240 million contract.
Don’t you just love Hot Stove League trade rumors? This one won’t go away, possibly because it could still happen. Plenty of fans hope that it doesn’t.