The rumor mill surrounding Red Sox starting pitcher David Price has appeared to only get hotter as we approach the closing of the 2019 MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego.
According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Red Sox have held trade talks with at least five different teams regarding Boston’s left-handed, top of the rotation starter.
Teams that Boston has spoken with include the San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, and the Los Angeles Angels.
Price would be entering his fifth year with the Red Sox organization after signing with the team ahead of the 2016 season when Boston was desperately looking for someone that they could call the ace of their staff. Due to this intense need for a top-quality arm, Dave Dombrowski–as one of his first moves with the ballclub–inked Price to a record-breaking deal of 7-years, $217 million. The deal included a player option after year three which Price declined following the Red Sox historic 2018 season where he was a key catalyst to the team’s success during their postseason run.
He is still owed $96 million over the remaining three years on his current contract which gives him $32 million per.
New Chief Baseball Officer in Boston, Chaim Bloom, will be looking to cut down on the team’s current payroll as the immediate team goal, but not mandate, is to dip below the $208 million luxury tax threshold. If they do find a trade partner for Price, the hope would be that they would take on most, if not all, of the remaining salary. Eliminating $32 million per season would assist the Red Sox tremendously in their pursuit of a more manageable payroll.
Price, who is currently 34-years-old, has battled injury over the last couple of seasons, limiting his success and availability to the team. His most recent bout with injury came late last season as a cyst on his wrist caused his early exit. The cyst was surgically removed this offseason.
The Angels appear to be a top candidate to land Price as they look to add a pitcher that they can look to at the top of the rotation. After signing third baseman Anthony Rendon on Wednesday to a 7-year, $245 million deal, the Angels are making it obvious that they’re trying to turn things around and become top competitors again in the AL West. The veteran leadership and proof that he can still be a quality pitcher when healthy should make him immensely intriguing in Los Angeles–especially now that they’re finally adding more pieces around perennial superstar, Mike Trout.
There are also some remaining free-agent starter options such as Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
At the start of the offseason, the hot rumor was that Boston would be looking to move Mookie Betts being that he will hit the free-agent market following the 2020 season. But with reports being that executives believe this is now “unlikely”, Price’s salary dumped would be the next best thing if you’re Bloom.
Price in 2019: 7-5, 22 GS, 4.28 ERA, 1.314 WHIP in 107.1 IP.