The Boston Red Sox have reportedly been speaking with the Toronto Blue Jays about a trade for left-handed pitcher David Price.
One of the best stretches of David Price‘s career came as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays and a reunion could be in store for the lefty and the team that resides north of the border. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Boston Red Sox have been talking to the Blue Jays about a trade for Price.
A deadline deal in 2015 sent Price from the Detroit Tigers to Toronto. Price ripped off a remarkable run with the Jays, going 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 10.5 K/9 in 11 regular season starts. He finished as the runner-up for the AL Cy Young award and led Toronto to the postseason. The Jays would ultimately fall to the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS, leaving some unfinished business to address if Price were to be traded to Toronto again.
Much has changed since his last stint in the organization. Price is older, less durable and far more expensive. That last factor remains a sticking point that seems to be holding up these negotiations. The deal depends on how much of Price’s $96 million salary the Red Sox are willing to eat over the next three years.
More from Red Sox Rumors
- Is Jean Segura the solution to Red Sox’ Trevor Story concerns?
- Red Sox news: Orioles eyeing former Boston arms, Dansby Swanson to Cubs, JD Martinez to Dodgers
- Did Alex Cora just drop a huge hint about Red Sox free-agent target?
- MLB insider hints Red Sox teardown may continue with two trades
- Division rival targeting Red Sox 2022 standout Michael Wacha
Boston isn’t going to give Price away for nothing. He’s overpaid but Price is still capable of being a very good pitcher. He was among the league’s best last year until a cyst on his wrist derailed his season and eventually shut him down. The Red Sox will want something of value for the five-time All-Star and the strength of the package they receive will depend on how far down they are willing to pay Price’s salary.
Trading Price is the clearest path to Boston’s goal of getting under the luxury tax. Their payroll current stands at about $237.8 million, exceeding the tax threshold by well over $20 million to put them in the second tier of penalties. Shedding Price’s entire salary would get them where they want to be but that probably isn’t realistic. Paying down his salary so that the acquiring team is only responsible for $20 million per year isn’t enough to get Boston out of tax jail but it’s enough to put the goal feasibly within reach.
Rosenthal’s report indicates that Toronto is in the market for a top of the rotation starter, with free-agent lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu being one possibility. If the Jays strike out in free agency, trading for Price would be an appealing fallback plan.
Toronto has an exciting young core built around third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., shortstop Bo Bichette and second baseman Cavan Biggio. They apparently feel these youngsters are ready to help the Jays take a leap over the next few years but they need to upgrade their rotation to be considered a true contender.
Price was merely a half-season rental when the Jays traded for him in 2015. He bolted that winter to sign with the Red Sox for what was at the time the largest contract ever for a pitcher. A reunion with Toronto wouldn’t be short term this time, as Price would be expected to lead their rotation for at least the next three years.
The sides don’t appear close to an agreement but considering the Jays seem motivated to upgrade their rotation and have fond memories of having Price as their ace, Toronto would be a good match for the Red Sox if they remain intent on finding financial freedom.