Yesterday I was bantering back and forth on Twitter and joked that if Mark Shapiro and Dave Dombrowski switched places (which would be absolutely fucking hilarious) that the two could link up for a Derek Fisher for David Price deal. Hahaaaa! Good one, buddy!
But since making the joke, I haven’t stopped thinking about it.
I’ve been living in Ireland for a month-and-a-half now and the Guinness gets poured like water here, so maybe I’m very rapidly losing my mind. I don’t know what the issue is, but here I am, sitting here, having an absolutely normal one, talking myself into how a David Price reunion with the Toronto Blue Jays makes sense.
Anyways, since it’s the Dead Zone for content in between the end of The Regular Season and the start of Transaction Season, we might as well talk about it.
David Price had a very successful run in Toronto after being acquired by the Blue Jays in 2015. He played a key role in Toronto’s incredible finish and their subsequent playoff berth, going 9-1 in 11 starts while posting a sparking 2.30 ERA. I remember Jose Bautista talking about how adding Price calmed everybody in the room down because it meant the team had a true ace.
Though he wasn’t great for the Jays in the playoffs, the Price acquisition will always be remembered fondly. He was well-liked in Toronto, not only for his great pitching, but for endearing stuff like buying everyone on the team scooters. Price would end up signing the biggest contract for a pitcher in Major League Baseball history that off-season with the Boston Red Sox. The Jays, under new management with Mark Shapiro at the helm, didn’t make Price a contract offer.
Price’s career in Boston has been strange. In 2016, he posted a thoroughly underwhelming 3.99 ERA and got bombed by Cleveland in his one playoff start, adding to his legacy of choking in October. After an injury-riddled 2017 season, Price wasn’t even used as a starter for the Red Sox in the playoffs. Finally, in 2018, Price exorcized his playoff demons, scattering just seven earned runs over 24 1/3 innings between the ALCS and World Series.
But even with that key playoff performance in 2018, Price hasn’t really been well-received in Boston. He’s been in a beef with Hall of Famer and colour commentator Dennis Eckersley for years, he’s had other spats with reporters, and has dealt with racism from Red Sox fans during his four seasons with the club.
It won’t take you long searching Price’s name on Twitter or Reddit to find Red Sox fans complaining about how he’s soft. Here’s a memorable one in which some chud said he was going to dress up as a Price playoff start for Halloween:
Hatred from Boston fans…that never happens 😐…thanks for your support I'll train hard to make you happy 😂 https://t.co/ylRua883U1
— David Price (@DAVIDprice24) October 31, 2016
The latest update to the Price in Boston saga is around video games. Back in 2018, Price missed a start due to carpal tunnel syndrome and Red Sox fans speculated that it was because he was playing too much Fortnite. Since then, Price’s 2019 season came to an end early due to a cyst on his left wrist. The cyst was a nagging issue and likely played a key role in Price’s poor season. The 33-year-old had the worst season of his 12-year Major League career, posting a 4.28 ERA over 22 starts.
Anyways, what am I on about? It’s known that the Red Sox badly want to get under the luxury tax threshold after no-ex-GM Dave Dombrowski busted a nut in order to win the World Series in 2018. The Sox have Mookie Betts set to hit free agency after next season, J.D. Martinez eligible for an opt-out right away, and a wealth of big contracts like Price, Chris Sale, and Nathan Eovaldi currently on the books.
Could dumping Price’s contract make sense for the Sox? And could it make sense for the Jays to pick it up?
Price is owed $32 million per season for the next three years on his current deal. After a down season, the Sox, who are looking to shed salary, could be in the market to move the veteran lefty. The Blue Jays, as we know, badly want to address their starting pitching situation this off-season. This winter could represent a chance to buy-low on a veteran ace who has a good chance of rebounding when healthy.
There are plenty of starting pitchers on the market this winter, ranging from gems like Gerrit Cole to mid-range options like Jake Odorizzi to rebound candidates like Rick Porcello. But given the volume of teams likely looking to pick up starting pitching and Toronto being an unattractive option, weaponizing open salary to acquire a pitcher through the trade market might make sense.
Maaaaaaye Price is that guy? I mean, he could very easily rebound and be a top-of-the-rotation starter in 2020. He’s expensive but is only under contract for three more years. Given Boston’s situation, taking him off their hands likely wouldn’t cost much, if anything in terms of prospect capital. He seems like the ideal guy to have around the young pitchers as they make their way up to the Major Leagues.
I don’t know! There’s a good chance I’ve lost my mind and I’m swept up in nostalgia and emotions from remembering a very lovable former Blue Jay’s short time in Toronto. But, I mean, it makes some sense, right?