With the Boston Red Sox trying to move players this offseason, the biggest deal on their docket rests on the shoulders of David Price.
The truck is loaded and making its way down to Ft. Myers as I type this, it’s officially baseball season. In days pitchers and catchers will be reporting and soon after them the rest of the team will join. The Red Sox have been trying to work some trade magic this winter with all of the talk being focused on Mookie Betts.
However, if Boston wants to head into spring training having achieved its goals, they’ll need to place their attention on another player. David Price has been the odd-man-out this offseason despite everything essentially being linked to him.
As the 2019 season closed it came down from above that the Red Sox needed to do whatever it took to get below the $208M CBT threshold before the next season. With little to no activity being done yet to achieve that desire, things are getting serious.
Betts has always expressed his desire to test free agency next winter and with offers from the Red Sox being declined along the way, the team is trying to trade him. Now, I think it’s ridiculous that FSG is so willing to part with the best Boston player since Ted Williams, and that they aren’t going down every avenue to re-sign him. They two sides are far apart on the desired contract but that’s where Price comes back into play.
He still has three years and $96M left on his current deal with Boston. The contract is proving to be a financial albatross around the neck of the Red Sox and is standing in the way of the team keeping Betts. If the team were able to move Price before the season, even if they had to eat some of the cost, that would allow them to reach their goal in an instant. The problem with that is nobody seems to be calling for just Price.
Boston’s veteran southpaw has been written about as more of a side addition instead of the gem of the trade talks. Considering the relationship between Price and the media, I can only imagine what the room will be like when that first courageous reporter asks him about the trade talks. That’s just it though, during his time in Boston Price has never seemingly had a good relationship with the community.
Whether it be his dust-ups with Dennis Eckersley or the shortness that is often shown to reporters, there’s never been a link. So in the grand scheme, it feels like as good of a time as any to move the lefty.
Which brings us back to the problem at hand, he’s owed a ridiculous amount of money over the next few seasons. This is why Boston is trying to ship him off with Betts in order to make his contract more appealing.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported this morning that talks with the Dodgers are pretty hot with Los Angeles hoping Boston will cover part of the tab. If something can be worked out that will get a majority of Price’s hefty contract off of the books then add in what Mookie is set to make for 2020, and the Red Sox have hit their goal. Will it all be worth it though?
Say this trade with the Dodgers comes to fruition, Boston now finds themselves without a former MVP in the outfield and a former Cy-Young winner in the rotation. Yes, the money will be freed up to then reset the penalties and go shopping in 2021, but at what cost? If the Red Sox trade Mookie ahead of 2020 their odds of signing him when he becomes a free agent next winter is damn near 0.
The Betts talk has become more energetic in the past few weeks but it was Price that was talked about all winter long. It felt like Boston had the goal to move the pitcher from day one but never truly gave an effort towards the idea.
We rarely heard more than a grumble about teams interested in him, which makes me think Chaim Bloom and his team never offered more than the southpaw to teams.
Now that the season is almost here and the desperation is hitting a fever pitch, it looks like the team is willing to give away the farm. It will be very beneficial to the future of the team if they can move Price, but this should’ve been addressed early in the winter and a deal could’ve already been made.
Sadly, it looks as if the Red Sox will be losing not just a generational player but one of the better pitchers in recent memory.
David Price has had one hell of a career and has earned every penny he has coming. However, those pennies are crippling the Red Sox and what they can do in the future to better the team. If Boston wants to make something happen before Opening Day, they’ll need to move Price and it may just take a little Mookie Magic to do it.