It sounds mean, but David Price might be the most wasted trade acquisition in Los Angeles Dodgers history. The team is on the hook for $32 million of his remaining contract and he’s contributed virtually nothing.
He opted out of 2020 due to the pandemic (understandable!), but then returned in 2021 not ready to absorb a starter’s workload, which relegated him to mostly relief duty. He finished with a 4.03 ERA and 1.43 WHIP with just 58 strikeouts in 73.2 innings. He did nothing in the postseason when October arrived.
Fast forward to 2022, and Price was still somehow not ready to begin the year as a starting pitcher because he wasn’t “built up.” For a guy who’s only pitched in 107 games (74 starts) since the start of the 2017 season, it’s very puzzling how he’s been unable to properly prepare himself for a full season’s worth of contributions.
And it appears the Dodgers are done with the charade. Price hit the COVID-19 list after his last outing on April 22 and hasn’t pitched since. The team has not activated him despite the fact he’s apparently ready to go. Now, that’s spurred trade rumors, with Peter Gammons of The Athletic suggesting the Dodgers are willing to move the left-hander to “give him a starting opportunity.”
We’re not sure what that means since Price still cannot start — he said so himself right before the season began! — but we’re at least willing to dive into who might be willing to take a chance on him in a hybrid-type role.
Disclaimer: the Dodgers are probably going to have to pay at least half of his remaining salary unless they attach a player/prospect, so be prepared for that reality or a very underwhelming return.
3 trade destinations for Dodgers’ David Price as rumors swirl
3. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are off to a solid 16-13 start, but they’re a team that always needs pitching help. Whether it’s Steven Matz faltering to a 7.01 ERA in the early going or Giovanny Gallegos not exactly instilling confidence in the closer role, there’s always room for improvement.
While Miles Mikolas is having among the best starts of any pitcher this season, he’s thrown just 80 total innings since the start of 2020. How long will he be able to last this year? St. Louis also has eternal bullpen struggles, and with Jordan Hicks now in the rotation (he’s thrown a total of 55.1 innings since the start of 2019), this team is going to need all the innings eaters they can get.
The fact they took chances on over-the-hill veterans in JA Happ and Jon Lester last season clearly indicates they’d be willing to go the same route this year assuming the price is right. This could be a win for both sides, because the Dodgers would really benefit from getting his money off the books, while the Cards can easily absorb salary with just $152 million committed to their payroll.
If he can provide starts and multi-inning relief for the Cardinals, Price will find himself in a much better role on another contender that could better utilize him.