Red Sox Rumors: Swapping bad contacts key to trading David Price
By Sean Penney
If the Boston Red Sox are intent on trading David Price they should consider swapping him for another bad contract instead of eating part of his salary.
The Boston Red Sox remain focused on finding a new home for left-handed pitcher David Price and his lucrative contract that is currently clogging their payroll.
Rumors have swirled for weeks tying numerous teams to trade talks involving Price but the list of potential suitors dwindles with every free-agent signing. The Chicago White Sox were an option until they signed Dallas Keuchel. A reunion with the Toronto Blue Jays went out the window when they signed Hyun-Jin Ryu. Arizona was probably never seriously in the mix but we have to wonder if the Diamondbacks could have emerged as a surprise suitor if they failed to land Madison Bumgarner.
Boston is motivated to unload the three years and $96 million remaining on Price’s deal in order to achieve their goal of dipping under the luxury tax. Finding a team willing to absorb the entire contract is a tall task unless the Red Sox sweeten the deal with one of their best prospects – that’s not happening.
The expectation is that the Red Sox are willing to pay down a portion of Price’s salary in order to make him more attractive to trade partners. He’s clearly overpaid but the massive contracts that have been handed to pitchers in free agency this winter make Price’s remaining contract seem more palatable. Teams aren’t lining up to pay Price $32 million per year but $20 million – with Boston covering the rest of his annual salary – is reasonable considering current market conditions.
The problem with that option is that it leaves dead weight on Boston’s payroll. Yes, shedding $20 million for next season gets the Red Sox within range of the tax threshold but they still have holes to fill which will eat into those savings. It also leaves them on the hook for a large chunk of change owed in each of the following two seasons to a pitcher who will be wearing another team’s uniform.
There must be a better way for the Red Sox to trade Price without being left with the sinking feeling that they’ve been swindled. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand suggests a feasible path that involves taking back another bad contract in order to dump Price’s larger salary.