In keeping with the theme this winter, it’s been another long weekend of innuendo and teasing that a Dodgers trade that would acquire Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox. Many reports say a deal is ‘imminent’ and will happen today or tomorrow.
The latest rumors are (still) that the Dodgers are the front-runners, that San Diego is still hanging around, and that lefty starting pitcher David Price may or may not be included. So, not much further along than where we were on Friday.
Still, the Price involvement once again is picking up steam. If he does indeed land in Los Angeles, where might the nomadic pitcher land in the Dodgers rotation?
Everyone would agree that Walker Buehler has taken over ace status for the Dodgers. The young righty was just named the number 10 pitcher in baseball according to “The Shredder” on MLB Network. He should be and will the Dodgers’ number one starter for years to come.
That relegates the past decade’s ace to second in line, which I almost think at this point is okay for Clayton Kershaw. He has literally and figuratively carried this team on his back for so many years that it’s time to let someone else take over the heavy work. That’s not to say that he won’t still be a really good pitcher, or go deep in games. Earlier this winter, Dennis covered what the year ahead for Kershaw might look like and where he projects to finish the regular season.
If Price were to join the Boys in Blue, one would figure he would slot into the third or fourth spot in the rotation. A lot of this would depend on where Alex Wood finishes Spring Training. Oh wait, maybe it’ll be Kenta Maeda who has something to say about that third rotational slot. Or it could be Julio Urías. Maybe Jimmy Nelson gets his mojo back finally being healthy and with a new team. Hmm. Dustin May also might have something to say about it. I also didn’t even mention Ross Stripling or Tony Gonsolin.
If Price does join the team, he will definitely be fighting for a spot at the lower end of the rotation, and he has some stiff competition. While they may all not be top-end starters, the Dodgers definitely have plenty of depth behind Kershaw and Buehler. If everything goes right with all of those pitchers, the Dodgers will have an incredibly happy problem.
But, we as Dodger fans know that that’s not how our pitching staff works. Someone from the rotation is always on the IL at some point or another, sometimes more than one at a time. The Dodgers have more than enough capable pitching to get them to the playoffs. Where Price slots in to that is of little consequence.
Where Price could make his mark would be the postseason. Like Kershaw, Price has had some issues there, but he also recently pitched really well for the Red Sox in the 2018 World Series. While his DS and CS stats are not as good, he is 2-0 in two World Series games with a 2.12 ERA.
The thing holding the potential trade up is rumored to be Price’s contract. He is owed $96 million over the next three years. As the Red Sox are looking to shed payroll, they would probably want the Dodgers to pay as much of that as possible.
If anyone can work that situation to their advantage it’s Andrew Friedman, whether it’s still having the Sox pay a bunch of Price’s salary or a reduced player return. Pitchers and catchers report next weekend, so one could believe that there actually will a be a resolution to this very soon.