The Blue Jays still need to upgrade their starting rotation, and with the free agent market dwindling by the day, the David Price rumours have heated up again.
For those of us that have been following the Blue Jays closely this off-season, we’ve definitely seen and heard our fair share of rumours. Some come to fruition, like the Travis Shaw signing on Sunday morning, but many others have ended with another team getting a roster upgrade and the Blue Jays left looking for an alternative.
Free agency has been just like that for the Blue Jays thus far, save for their two year, 24 million dollar deal with Tanner Roark. They also upgraded their starting rotation by trading for Chase Anderson at the beginning of the off-season, but Ross Atkins and company are still looking for someone to lead their starting group. We’ve also heard our fair share of rumours connecting the Blue Jays to Hyun-Jin Ryu, but now that he’s the only impact starter left on the market, the competition is going to get pretty serious.
Thankfully it sounds like the Blue Jays are making plans in case they miss out on Ryu, and that could come in the form of an old friend in David Price. The 34-year-old has three years and 96 million remaining on his contract with Red Sox, and from all reports it sounds like Boston would like to clear that money from their payroll, even if he’s still a fairly productive pitcher. The Red Sox are looking to get under the luxury tax threshold, especially if they are going to try and re-sign Mookie Betts after the 2020 campaign when he becomes a free agent.
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The idea of a reunion with Price has come up before this off-season, and we’ve even discussed it here at Jays Journal a few times. However, it sounds like there could be some legitimacy to the rumour, at least according to Ken Rosenthal at the Athletic. By all accounts, it sounds like the Blue Jays are still in on Ryu, and perhaps they view Price as more of a back-up plan.
If the Blue Jays were to trade for the veteran southpaw, one of two things would likely have to happen in order to get it done. One scenario could have the Red Sox eating decent chunk of his remaining salary in order to get his contract off their books. I’m guessing Boston would prefer to get another team to take most or all of the remaining financial commitment, but that could be nearly impossible to do. Unless, in a second scenario, the Red Sox could attach someone of value to the deal in order to get it done, and incentivize the acquiring team to pay more of Price’s salary.
The Blue Jays certainly have the payroll space to fit Price into the fold, whether the Red Sox take on any of his remaining salary or not. He’s not worth 32 million a season anymore, and chances are that’s not going to change as he pitches into his age-36 season, but he would still top the group in place in Toronto right now.
If the Blue Jays can get the Red Sox to eat some of the salary or send another worthwhile piece along with him, then it’s certainly worth exploring. That becomes especially the case if the Blue Jays miss out on Ryu, which is looking more likely than not at this point. We’ll be sure to keep you posted here at Jays Journal if and when any news breaks.