Sep 30, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (left) celebrates with catcher Jose Molina after defeating the Texas Rangers 5-2 at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals Rumors: Royals At Payroll Threshold, Ervin Santana and David Price

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According to a tweet from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Royals have hit their payroll limit after signing Omar Infante and Jason Vargas. Crasnick suggests the Royals used the money earmarked for re-signing Santana to sign their two marquee free agents.

 

Kansas City could open up payroll by trading Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar for prospects. The duo is expected to be owed a combined $10 million in 2014, which may be the amount of money the Royals will need to open up to land Santana for a one-year deal. However, Dayton Moore has said he is not interested in trading any more pitchers this offseason unless a deal was offered to them that makes sense.

Landing Santana also became more unlikely as reports out of Japan about pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka suggest he will not be posted this offseason. This means the market is short one less pitch, which increases the value of top names like Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Santana. The more expensive Santana becomes, the less likely the Royals will look for a way to open up payroll to re-sign him.

There are still some options out there for the Royals to land an affordable starting pitcher on the trade market, but it will cost Kansas City some of their bullpen and prospect depth. Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, Phillies ace Cole Hamels, and several Miami Marlins starters are thought to be on the trading block for the right price.

Another starting pitcher who has been rumored to be on the trading block, David Price, is probably not going to end up in Kansas City. Jon Heyman wrote yesterday that the Royals had internal talks about trading for Price but the prospect cost and the payroll considerations would be an issue in a Price trade.

Via Heyman:

While Kansas City hasn’t been mentioned as a possible suitor for Price, they have the potential to pull off a Price trade, with their very good prospects like shortstop Raul Adalberto Mondesi, pitchers Kyle ZimmerYordano Ventura and others. The Royals, who’ve had mostly just internal talks on Price … but a Price trade could solidify them as playoff favorites.

A trade for Price is extremely unlikely, but we all know Moore is not afraid to pull the trigger on a big deal. So even though the Royals payroll may be at its max, don’t be surprised if there is still another move or two this offseason.

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