Last night, the story broke that the Red Sox would like to trade David Price for salary relief, because even baseball’s richest teams are scared of the de facto salary cap. While baseball has no formal salary cap, there are Luxury Tax thresholds, with escalating penalties, and increasing penalties for the longer you are over that point. Boston is hard against some numbers, and trying to get under, so they would like to move a costly asset or two this off season.
We all know the Twins desperately need to acquire some pitching, so perhaps they should be looking at a trade with Boston?
First, the “pros” of trading for Price. He is a veteran starter, throws left-handed, and has been the true “ace” the Twins need for much of his career. In eleven MLB seasons, Price has accrued roughly 40 WAR (just over or just under, depending on the flavor of WAR you prefer.) Even after a rough 2019, his career ERA is just 3.31. He’s a five-time all star, has won the Cy Young award, and has even garnered MVP votes a couple times. Perhaps most importantly, he’s spent the bulk of his career in the AL East, including the last four season with the Red Sox. In other words, he ain’t scared of the Yankees. The MLB pitcher with the most similar overall career, and career through age 33 is a Twins legend—Johan Santana.
On the con side for Price, he’s coming off a frustrating 2019 campaign. He started 22 games, but only was the pitcher of record in 12 of those. He threw 107 innings, which is under five per start. Some stats do reflect well though. His K/9 was up a bit, which isn’t unusual for 2019. His BB/9 number was in line with his career norms, and his HR/9 was slightly elevated, but not by much. Again, 2019. Juice ball. His ERA was an elevated and ugly 4.28, but that may be partially a result of bad luck and bad fielding, as his FIP was 3.62 and his xFIP was 3.73, both of which numbers of more reflective of the pitcher he traditionally has been.
Price’s contract sounds a little scary to a Twins fan, as he is owed $32 million over each of the next three years. That isn’t too awful, however, if you still see him as the ace he once was. Madison Bumgarner is anticipated to draw $20 million per year for five years, and we know the Twins are involved in that discussion. They also offered over $100 million to Zack Wheeler. With Price only having three years left, it costs a bit more up front, but keeps the future a bit more flexible. He will be finishing this contract in his age-34, 35, and 36 season, and while that is hardly the prime of a player’s career, he may not be washed up. Aaron Gleeman suggested that the Twins ask Boston to pick up part of the contract. That is certainly an option, but will likely increase the prospect cost, so I’d prefer to pick up the whole contract—its not like the Twins don’t have the financial flexibility to make it work.
Prospects are the last question of course. What would Boston want in return for Price? If it involves Alex Kirilloff, Royce Lewis, or Brusdar Graterol; the Twins should RUN, not walk away. On the other hand, if someone less highly-regarded is the ask, I’d probably be interested in talking a bit more. What do you think, should the Twins be interested in trading for David Price?
Should the Twins try to trade for David Price?
This poll is closed
Yes, but only if the Red Sox take some of the salary