Multiple teams have targeted Red Sox left-hander David Price in trade talks, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
This bit of news comes as Sox chief baseball officer continues to pursue ways of shredding payroll for the 2020 season, as Passan notes.
Speaking of shredding payroll, we all know by now that it is a goal, not a mandate, for Boston to get under the $208 million luxury tax threshold for next year. That much was made evident by principal owner John Henry and team chairman Tom Werner back in September, and again by Bloom at the Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego on Monday.
Price, 34, is owed approximately $96 million over the final three years of the initial seven-year, $217 million deal he signed with Boston four years ago.
The veteran southpaw may not be the highest-paid pitcher in baseball anymore with Stephen Strasburg inking a seven-year, $245 million pact to return to the Washington Nationals earlier this week, but he is still the highest-paid player on his team in terms of average annual value (AAV).
Combine that fact with the notion that Boston would like to get under that $208 million threshold to reset luxury tax penalties, and Price becomes a clear trade candidate.
How Bloom and Co. get something like that done becomes tricky, because either way, they’re going to wind up eating a fair amount of Price’s salary, or they’re going to wind up attaching a younger, cheaper player (Andrew Benintendi has been mentioned) to complete a trade.
And depending on the return in a potential Price trade, another hole in the Sox’ rotation could open up as well.
With names such as Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, and Hyun-Jin Ryu on the open market, it seems increasingly likely that the teams that strike out on those free agents could be open to dealing for a top of the rotation hurler like Price.
There are plenty of red flags, though, as Price is coming off an injury-shortened 2019 campaign in which he posted a 4.28 ERA over just 22 starts and 107 1/3 innings of work.