Trade Candidate: David Price
Acquired as part of the deal that brought Mookie Betts to Los Angeles, David Price is by far a known quantity in the game of baseball. A Cy Young winner and a multiple-time All-Star, Price will immediately be plugged into the Dodgers rotation in 2020 and help fill the shoes left vacant by Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda, and Rich Hill.
So why are we mentioning trading Price, especially in a season where the Dodgers are pushing for a World Series?
As much as we’re talking about trades that can improve the club in 2020, we’re also looking at not hampering the club in the future. Unlike Betts, Price is not a pending free agent after the 2020 season is done. In fact, he’ll still have two more seasons on his current contract.
That represents a potential problem for the Dodgers, have they have one stud prospect, in Dustin May, that is ready to contribute in the rotation immediately, and another, in Josiah Gray, that is likely a year away from joining the starting staff as well. May is currently slated to begin the season at Triple-A, but that is more to ensure he continues to work as a starter and builds his innings for the year. Meanwhile, Gray will likely repeat at Double-A to start before transitioning to Oklahoma City later this summer.
The question then becomes whether the Dodgers can move a 35-year-old pitcher with 2000+ innings on his left arm via trade.
Pitching is always a need in baseball, and teams at both ends of the spectrum are always buying from that market. Price may not be the ace he once was, but he’s still been a serviceable arm when he’s taken the mound over the last two season, going 23-12 with a 3.84 ERA, a 3.87 FIP, and a 9.7 K/9 over his last 52 starts.
The Red Sox took care of half of the issue for Price when they agreed to send the Dodgers $16 million annually, paying off half of Price’s remaining contract over the next three years. It is much easier to move a $16 million per year, middle of the rotation arm, than a $32 million albatross. If the Dodgers are willing to add a few million to pare that down further, there will likely be multiple teams lining up, contenders and rebuilding franchises alike.