Red Sox may be zeroing in on David Price market

Rob Bradford
December 23, 2019 - 10:38 am

In case you turned off your computer over the weekend ...

Dallas Keuchel is headed to the White Sox on a three-year, $55.5 million contract. And Toronto locked up Hyun-Jin Ryu for four years, $80 million.

The bad news for the Red Sox is that they have to cross two more teams off the list of potential landing spots for David Price. The good news is that those clubs who are left needing top-of-the-rotation starting pitching probably are looking at the likely price tag as a suddenly reasonable ask.

Minnesota. St. Louis. Padres. Angels. Dodgers. Atlanta. Others.

There are teams that need a pitcher like Price and have the resources to pay him for the next three years. Heading into the last few days the perception was that Ryu's deal was going to land at about the $60 million it is believed the Red Sox would be asking teams to take on for Price. Nope. And Keuchel? His three-year commitment wasn't that far off from what it would take to secure the Red Sox lefty, who is perceived as a higher-end option when healthy than the former Astro and Brave.

All of it helps the Red Sox' cause. But does that mean Chaim Bloom is suddenly in a position of power?

There are still other teams that are in the same boat as the Sox, trying to take advantage of the quest for starters by shopping some of their own. Robbie Ray of Arizona is a lot younger and has one year left on his deal. The Yankees can also present a roadblock while making J.A. Happ available with the lefty owed $17 million over the next two seasons. (It should be noted that Ray had a standout 2017 (15-5, 2.89 ERA) but finished 2019 with an uninspiring 4.34 ERA and the usually reliable 37-year-old Happ became very unreliable last year, totaling a 4.91 ERA over 34 starts.)

There are also some free agents teams could turn to but none are really considered top-of-the-rotation options (unless you're optimistic about the future of Ivan Nova or Homer Bailey).

This is what the current landscape suggests: The story the Red Sox have to tell potential trade partners is a bit more palatable than we thought it might be.

There are still some sizable obstacles, with the pitcher's health (now and over the next three years) still making some suitors wary. There is no question that Price probably represents the best pitcher one of these teams can get for the type of money they were planning to allocate to such a player. But making sure he is able to make 75 starts over the next three years is something that might be a bit too unpredictable for some.

The conversation has gotten some clarity over the last week or so. How clear? We're about to find out.