Which version of David Price will the Los Angeles Dodgers see in 2020?
The David Price of (Dodgers) Future
Entering his age-34 season, and with 2000-plus innings and a recent injury history that isn’t very encouraging, the expectations on David Price should be relatively low entering the 2020 season. However, all things require context as well.
Firstly, we have to temper our expectations in regards to acquiring an ace level pitcher. If David Price were still pitching at his peak, he obviously wouldn’t have been included as a salary dump. Rather, we have to realize that we are acquiring an arm that has a lot of mileage on it and is on the wrong side of his prime. Slotting him in as a number three starter seems accurate and hoping for an approximation of his 2018 season would likely be ideal.
Secondly, the Dodgers aren’t getting a $30 million per year pitcher at this stage. With the Red Sox pumping in half of Price’s yearly salary over the next three years of his deal, the Dodgers will only be picking up $16 million per season over that time. While that is still a steep number, that would put Price in the same area as the likes of J.A. Happ, Miles Mikolas, and Danny Duffy among MLB starters (according to Spotrac). While ideally, the Dodgers would get more out of Price than the expectations placed around Happ and Duffy, this at least provides perspective in regards to where he should fall in terms of salary to value ratio.
ZIPS currently projects Price to contribute the following over the three years he has left in his contract:
2020 – 9-6, 130 IP, 9.35 K/9, 3.74 ERA, 3.91 FIP
2021 – 8-6, 115.1 IP, 9.13 K/9, 3.90 ERA, 4.10 FIP
2022 – 7-6, 113.1 IP, 8.97 K/9, 3.97 ERA, 4.21 FIP
While the trending decline is to be expected, the Dodgers would obviously prefer to see some more innings eaten along the way. However, taking Price on in order to acquire Betts was the ultimate goal of the deal and anything out of the lefty this season will be welcome. The first year of his tenure if likely the most important, as the expectation of developing arms rising to claim more spots in the rotation likely tempers any reliance on Price beyond 2020.
What would you ideally like to see out of David Price in a Dodgers uniform?