Former Red Sox ace David Price opts-out of 2020
This all comes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said in a statement on social media:
"“It is in the best interest of my health and my family’s health for me to not play this season”."
Of course, this is a tough decision, but most including the Dodgers have mentioned that they support him.
Players throughout the MLB are forced to decide whether or not they want to risk their lives for the game of baseball. 31 players have already tested positive for the virus since spring training 2.0 has opened on July 1. Josh Taylor and Darwinzon Hernandez are two of those players that have tested positive while Eduardo Rodriguez is awaiting results after coming in close contact with a family member that has the virus.
Players like Mike Trout have expressed their concern about risking their health for 2020 baseball. He said he’s considering opting out due to his wife being pregnant. Right now it is definitely possible that more players opt out of the 2020 season although no Red Sox players have done so yet.
With Price gone for the season, the Red Sox benefit more from the Mookie Betts to LA trade.
The Red Sox pull ahead as the winners of the trade with the Dodgers
First of all, with Price not being paid this season, the Red Sox have about $6 million more freed up for the offseason. With his prorated salary, the Red Sox were due to pay Price $5.925 million this season having split the contract in the Dodgers trade.
Now, the Red Sox are freed of that money and can look to make a large signing in the 2020-2021 offseason. As long as there is at least 1 game this season, the Competitive Balance Tax resets. This means that the Red Sox would not face consequences for the luxury tax for the first time since 2017.
If the Red Sox wanted to look to sign Mookie Betts again, they will have about $6 million more freed up to give him. Although it’s unlikely that this money goes to Betts, it can be put to very good use. The Red Sox could look to sign Jon Lester to a 1-year deal or make another significant signing. This is definitely a huge benefit for Boston.
Second of all, the Dodgers now only receive 2 years of Price instead of 3. They will have to fill his role in the rotation this season. With the Dodgers primed to have another great chance of winning the World Series, they are going to have to play without their number 3 starter.
Now, they only have Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and Alex Wood. Just like the Red Sox, they could really use another starter in their rotation.
With the Dodgers losing value for one year of David Price, it really makes the Mookie Betts trade more worth it. Other than having Price for just 2 years, they will only have Betts for the shortened season as he will then reach free agency. On the other hand, the Red Sox will have Alex Verdugo until he becomes a free agent in 2025, Jeter Downs until 2023, and Connor Wong until 2023 as well.
At age 24, Alex Verdugo should be taking another step up in majors. Although he played in just 52 games in his first two seasons, having a batting average of .240, he took a huge leap in 2019. Just last year he played in 106 games hitting .294, with 12 home runs and 44 runs batted in.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to play in spring training 1.0 due to an injury, but he is now fully healthy. Just yesterday did he batted against Nathan Eovaldi during “Summer Camp”.
Jeter Downs was another huge addition in the Betts trade. At just 21 years old, he is the top prospect for the Red Sox, and the 45th best in all of baseball according to MLB.com. In 2019, he reached AA with the Dodgers, where he played 12 games and batted .333 with 5 homers and 11 runs batted in.
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He has a great chance of being the Red Sox second basemen of the future. He, however, was not included in the 60-man player pool as of now. This could be because of his Spring Training 1.0 performance. In 11 games, he went 3 for 17 (.176 average) with 1 run batted in. Either way, there is a lot to be excited about with Downs.
Connor Wong, on the other hand, could end up being the most valuable piece for the Red Sox down the line. He is a catcher, second basemen, and third basemen who is currently the 16th best prospect in the Red Sox organization. He is a 24-year old who can end up being the starting catcher of the future for the Red Sox.
Wong also made it all the way to AA in 2019. In 40 games, he had a .349 average, 52 hits, 9 home runs, and 31 runs batted in. He also had a very strong spring training which led him to be added to the 2020 player pool for Boston. He went 3 for 10 with 2 home runs and 6 runs batted in, in just 7 games. He has a chance to even be one of the top 2 catchers for the Red Sox in 2020. The battle at catcher with Kevin Plawecki, Jonathan Lucroy, and Juan Centeno will be extremely fun to watch.
As the Dodgers have lost the value worth of Price for 1 year with the opt-out, it really helps the Red Sox in benefitting more from this trade. The winner of this trade will probably not be decided until all five of the players involved are no longer playing baseball, however. As long as Verdugo, Downs, and Wong are not all considered busts, this deal can be considered the first great trade of the Chaim Bloom Era.