St. Louis Cardinals are scouting Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price

The St. Louis Cardinals were seen scouting Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

According to an article by Topkin, St. Louis has “been watching the Rays closely recently.”

It was written nearly a month ago on these pages with regards to the Cardinals possibly making a move for David Price. I’m not the least bit surprised that the Cardinals have scouts in attendance to watch Price. He’s a top of the rotation pitcher with Tampa and would be somewhere between 2-4 for the St. Louis Cardinals should the club make the move when all is said and done. For the Cardinals, there is a logjam of arms in the minor leagues, which makes one question such a potential move. Does the team trade several players for a pitcher that will be a free agent at the end of the 2015 season?

Trading for Price could be an interesting move for the Cardinals. There’s also a logjam of outfielders and pitchers with the Cardinals. This is a situation that won’t be solving itself anytime soon, be it at the major league level or down in the farm system.

Would it be worth it to send over a Carlos Martinez to the Rays for Price? One has to think a pitcher would be included in such a deal. With Matt Adams‘ bat this season, one has to think that it would make Allen Craig expendable. It would make the room for playing time available for Oscar Taveras. Could Stephen Piscotty be sent over in a deal? The Cardinals management is sure to be discussing the futures for many top prospects in the system. If they are unable to get the at bats with the team, it’s not beneficial to either party to keep them in the minor leagues due to being blocked.

As far as the price to get Price, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron offers his two cents:

The Rays will likely agree to pick up a chunk of the remaining salary he is owed this year in order to get better prospects in return, so that $14 million salary won’t drive away interested buyers. However, if a team is planning on keeping Price for next year as well, they’d have to wall off $18 million to $20 million of their budget for next season, and it’s a safe bet the low-revenue Rays won’t be picking up any part of that tab.

Ken Rosenthal notes:

Few clubs will want to part with high-end prospects while absorbing such a payroll hit. Then again, the numbers are relative. Price’s salary next season will not be terribly above the qualifying offer for free agents, which is expected to be $15 million to $16 million.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak has got to be asking himself: Is it worth it? After all, Price’s career FIP is 3.36, which ranks 5th amongst active pitchers.