Red Sox Trade Rumors: Toronto signing Ryu could derail Price talks

BOSTON, MA - JULY 14: David Price #10 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Fenway Park on July 14, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 14: David Price #10 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Fenway Park on July 14, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox were rumored to be in talks with the Jays over David Price, but Toronto’s recent signing of Hyun-Jin Ryu may halt those conversations.

As we’re just hours away from Santa making the trek around the globe delivering presents and the Red Sox were hoping for the gift of financial freedom. That freedom would come in the form of sending veteran lefty David Price to another team, though Boston would still need to eat some cash to make it happen.

Days ago it came out that the Red Sox and the Blue Jays were in talks about possibly sending the southpaw back to the Great White North. Then late Sunday night, Jon Heyman of the MLB Network broke the news that Toronto had signed free-agent Hyun-Jin Ryu to a 4-year/$80M contract, all but certainly ending any talks for Price.

When the mandate came down the pike from ownership that the team needed to get under the $208M CBT marker it felt like everyone looked right to Price. Not that anyone truly wants to get rid of the lefty as he’s a foundation member of the starting rotation, but he’s owed a lot of money, $96M, over the final three years of his deal. If the Red Sox were able to ship him off to another city it would get them to their goal for the salary, even if they have to eat some cash in the process.

Now, I don’t work in the Jays’ front office and have no true feeling for how much they’re willing to spend in order to get into the conversation in the AL East. Even with the signing of Ryu, they may want to continue to splash some cash and make a move for Price to bolster their 2020 roster. Teams will do some drastic things when they want to win and it wasn’t too long ago that the Jays were in the postseason.

There is more in play here than just the Red Sox possibly losing out on another trade partner, though. Toronto may not want to spend on Price now that they’ve signed Ryu, this could create a bit of a feeding frenzy with the rest of the league. Don’t forget, just days ago Dallas Keuchel signed with the White Sox, removing another big name free-agent pitcher from the board.

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With arms beginning to fall by the wayside as the winter progresses, the phone may begin to light up with teams wanting Price. If the right club came along with an offer that Boston can’t refuse, I don’t Chaim Bloom and the front office would hesitate to sign on the dotted line. I also think we’ve reached a point where Bloom won’t have to tie another player to Price in order to move him, which works heavily in Boston’s favor.

Boston has two big factors working against them in their attempts to move the starter to another city. His salary as I mentioned above is just ridiculous, and he’s coming off a season that was subpar and filled with injury concerns. If Bloom is fielding calls from around the league I’m sure these concerns have been brought up early and often.

Just a year after shaking the postseason dark cloud that’s followed his career, the southpaw was a Jekyll & Hyde performer in 2019. A 7-5 record through 22 starts would yield a 4.28 ERA with a 32/128 BB/K ratio in 107.1 IP. Some of those numbers sound pretty good in the grand scheme of things but compared to his 2018 (16-7,30, 50/177, 176), it’s a steep decline. He did see an improvement in his K/9 from ’18-’19 of 9.1 to 10.7, though his WHIP would also increase exponentially from 1.142 to 1.314.

So the numbers weren’t the worst but they sure weren’t where the Sox would like them to be especially with their seeming desire to shop him around. Add into that the injuries over the season and the fact that he needed to be shut down early due to a cyst on his left wrist, and that’s not the best sales pitch. Bloom is going to have to speak to Price’s promise and potential as well as his vast history if he wants the best deal in return.

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There’s still plenty of time left on the calendar ahead of the 2020 season and there’s always the opportunity to make something happen. David Price has been a strong member of the Red Sox since he arrived but with a new regime in place, that time may soon be ending. With a new strategy of cost-conscious spending, his salary just doesn’t fit the plan.