Which version of David Price will the Los Angeles Dodgers see in 2020?
The Los Angeles Dodgers picked up former ace David Price as part of a blockbuster trade over the winter, but which version of the lefty will the team see in 2020?
On the way to their 7th consecutive division title, the Dodgers were once again paced by an excellent starting rotation in 2019. Despite some injuries to the staff and some juggling of rookies into the rotation, the starting staff acquitted itself quite nicely last season, finishing in the top ranks of all starting staffs in the league.
fWAR – 19.7 (2nd)
ERA – 3.11 (1st)
FIP – 3.52 (2nd)
K/BB – 4.55 (1st)
BAA – .222 (2nd)
WPA – 11.06 (2nd)
Fronted by a top three of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the team utilized a revolving roster of starters that also included Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling, Rich Hill, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, Caleb Ferguson, and even an opener in Casey Sadler. Some stability in the rotation was always going to be a goal of the front office entering the winter.
However, the team seemed more intent on landing a bat over the winter, flirting with top free agent Anthony Rendon and even discussing a trade that would have netted uber-shortstop Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Indians. Neither one ended up in Dodger Blue, but the team didn’t let failures there change their plans for the rest of the winter.
In the meantime, the team watched one of their stalwart starters from the prior season, Ryu, depart via free agency to the Toronto Blue Jays. The team did add reclamation project Jimmy Nelson as a potential mid-season piece, but they still needed to address their starting pitching depth.
Low and behold, the solution to both their pitching needs and desire for a right-handed bat were going to be met simultaneously.
On February 4th, the Dodgers came to an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to acquire perennial MVP candidate Mookie Betts and starter David Price in exchange for prospects Jeter Downs, Alex Verdugo, and Connor Wong. While the primary target of the trade was most definitely Betts, the inclusion of Price was, at the time, more of a salary dump for Boston. Trying to get under the luxury tax threshold for the 2020 season, the Red Sox included Price in the deal in order to shed the final three years of his salary, agreeing to pay only half of the amount for each of the season Price is still under contract.
Still, it filled a need for the Dodgers on the surface with what would seem like a capable arm. But what are the Dodgers actually getting in David Price?