Red Sox don’t get David Price yet


News broke today from multiple sources that the Toronto Blue Jays have acquired David Price from the Detroit Tigers for three left handed pitchers, one of whom is highly touted prospect Daniel Norris. Since the Blue Jays are in the American League East, we should consider how will this affect the Red Sox.

In the near term, it doesn’t have much of an effect because as of today the Red Sox are going nowhere this season. They have lost 12 of 14 and look to be limping to the finish line, 14 games out of first place and trending downward.

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In the long term, will Price be more than a rental for the Blue Jays? Considering the enormous contracts thrown around to elite starting pitchers, the Blue Jays will be likely looking at a $175 million commitment over seven to eight years. From their limited current payroll obligations beyond this year, this is a possibility for them. Only Troy Tulowitzki (five years) and Russell Martin (four years) are under contract past this year. High priced Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey ($12M option) are not under contract after this year. Jose Bautista ($14M) and Edwin Encarnacion ($10M) only have options in their contract for 2016. Superstar in the making third baseman Josh Donaldson still has two years of arbitration left before he hits free agency, but will likely get $10 million in arbitration next year.

The Blue Jays will certainly have to increase their $137 million payroll of 2015 if they hope to bring back Price at $25 million a season. Counting the payrolls of the players I mentioned, they would be looking at $106 million payroll for those seven players, including Price. Will they have the payroll flexibility to keep all these talented players?

The Blue Jays are certainly going for it this year. The second wild card spot has livened up the market significantly. Many more teams think they have the chance to play in October. The Jays stand two games out of the wild card. The Jays will have the inside track to bring back Price long term, but the Red Sox still have a chance with Price, who has expressed a willingness to pitch here.

With $29 million coming off the books next year with Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino‘s expiring contracts, the Red Sox may be willing to take a chance on the outspoken Price. While the Red Sox are thinking of next year, they will be making plans to make a run at Price in the winter.