It seems more and more plausible that the Red Sox will end up working out a deal involving lefty David Price, MLB.com’s Mark Feisand reports. The Padres, Cardinals, White Sox, Reds, and Angels have all shown varying degrees of interest in the 34-year-old, per the report.
Price is still owed $32MM a year for the next three seasons. That’s a big chunk of change for a 34-year-old who has made just 63 starts over the past three seasons — including 22 starts in a 2019 campaign that was cut short by elbow and wrist issues. Price was the embodiment of durability from 2010-16, pacing the Major Leagues with 1529 1/3 innings over that seven-year stretch, but he’s totaled just 358 frames over the past three seasons.
When on the field, of course, Price remains an effective pitcher — albeit one whose weighty annual salary no longer aligns with his rate of compensation. Dating back to 2017, Price owns a 3.75 ERA and 3.82 FIP. The 2019 season resulted in one of the worst ERAs of Price’s career (4.28), but he did give some reason for optimism with a career-high 10.7 K/9 and 28 percent strikeout rate. Price’s control remained solid (2.7 BB/9, seven percent walk rate), and his 21.0 K-BB% was the second-best of his career. Stranding runners was an issue, and a career-high .336 average on balls in play against him assuredly did Price no favors. Ultimately, though, Red Sox ownership’s desire to drop back below the luxury tax line is the driving factor in moving Price, whose seven-year, $217MM contract comes with a $31MM annual luxury hit.
Feinsand notes that the Red Sox have no desire to attach a desirable young player such as Andrew Benintendi to Price in order to simply shed the remainder of his contract. The Athletic’s Chad Jennings offers a similar sentiment (subscription required). “I don’t think we’d ever want to rule anything out,” chief baseball office Chaim Bloom of parting with prospects to help facilitate a Price trade (quote via Jennings). “But so much of what we’re always going to be trying to accomplish, but certainly now, is to make sure we have as strong a farm system as possible.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Sox would be forced to simply include cash along with Price in a trade. The Boston organization could certainly acquire another unpalatable contract in return, thus helping to . The Padres have discussed the possibility of including Wil Myers in a deal, for instance, although there’s no indication that such talks gained any traction. Myers himself is owed a regrettable $61MM over the next three seasons and just wrapped up an ugly .239/.321/.418 effort, striking out in 34.2 percent of his plate appearances along the way.