If you’re on Twitter or read the chat transcripts available on a host of  baseball websites, you know that one of the most entertaining aspects of the internet baseball world is the hypothetical trade proposal. Because they are almost always insane. If I had a quarter for every time I saw a proposed trade for Justin Upton this offseason that involved the D-Backs receiving a return approximating the other team’s fourth, seventh and twelfth best prospects, well… I’d have a wide array of quarters.

So how do you know if a trade proposal is realistic, or something that will result in chuckles? It’s a simple test: what you’re giving up has to hurt as much, or at least nearly as much, as what you’re gaining will help. This is why Justin Upton has not been traded this offseason. The two teams most heavily connected to Upton this offseason were the Rangers and Mariners. Talks with the Rangers never really progressed because the Rangers refused to include shortstops Elvis Andrus or Jurisckson Profar. The one trade that was agreed to, between the D-Back and Mariners, would have been headlined by Taijuan Walker, one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, and he would not have been the only significant prospect included. Upton nixed that trade pursuant to his no-trade rights.

What does this have to do with the Cubs? Chatter has already started regarding who the biggest available trade target will be a year from now, with the big bet on Tampa Bay Rays’ ace and 2012 Cy Young award winner David Price. Chatter has also started that the Cubs could be looking to make their first big move to convert their improved farm system into elite Major League talent by trading for Price next offseason.

But what will Price’s price (terrible pun intended) be? It will certainly be a significant package headed by one of Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora. Quite possibly by two of them. This does not mean that the Cubs should not trade two of those players for Price. Price is one of the truly elite pitchers in baseball, and could be even more dominant moving away from the loaded AL East. This just means don’t expect the Cubs to be able to get a pitcher like David Price for Dan Vogelbach, Robert Whitenack and Matt Szczur.

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Noah Eisner is a Chicago attorney living in the western suburbs with his wife and son (and impending daughter). When he isn’t practicing law or entertaining a toddler, Noah follows Cubs baseball with a focus on the farm system and sabermetric analysis. His Cubs-related ramblings can be followed on Twitter @Noah_Eisner.