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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Yu Darvish, David Price and Padres

Martin FennContributor IIDecember 14, 2019

FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2019, file photo, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Yu Darvish delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, in Chicago. Starting pitcher Darvish and outfielder Jason Heyward are staying with the Chicago Cubs, who exercised their $11.5 million option for 2020 on left-hander José Quintana on Saturday, Nov. 2, and declined their $6.5 million option on lefty Derek Holland, which triggered a $500,000 buyout.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

The 2019 MLB winter meetings came to a close Thursday, with Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon all inking free-agent contracts to take three of the premier players off the market.

However, the action is far from over.

A number of teams have needs at multiple positions, which might mean that the trade market soon begins to heat up.

Here are the latest rumors surrounding Yu Darvish, David Price and the San Diego Padres.

                  

Yu Darvish Unlikely to Waive No-Trade Clause

The Chicago Cubs did not make a move at the meetings, but they were in headlines all the same.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been considering a number of possible trades as they look to slash payroll and rebuild their farm system, including a move that might involve third baseman Kris Bryant, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

But while Bryant and catcher Willson Contreras have been the two names circulating most often throughout trade circles, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Cubs also fielded inquiries concerning right-hander Yu Darvish.

The 33-year-old would figure to have plenty of value, with so many teams still in the market for premium starting pitching, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that Darvish is unlikely to waive the no-trade clause is included in his contract through the 2020 season.

Darvish is set to make $81 million over the next four years, so moving him would clear payroll. However, he is likely Chicago's ace heading into the 2020 season.

After a frustrating first few months, Darvish settled in to post a 2.76 ERA and a dazzling 0.808 WHIP in 13 starts after the All-Star break. He was one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, rattling off a 16.86 strikeout to walk ratio while finishing 10th in fWAR and third in skill interactive earned run average (2.45), according to FanGraphs.

The Cubs already need an option to replace Cole Hamels in the rotation. It does not seem likely that they would trade Darvish regardless of whether he elected to waive the no-trade clause.

               

Red Sox Will Pay Down Some of David Price's Salary

The Boston Red Sox are another team looking to navigate payroll issues.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported that while most of the rumors prior to the meetings involved Mookie Betts, the Red Sox might have an opportunity to move left-hander David Price.

According to Chase Jennings of The Athletic, Boston is willing to pay down some of Price's $96 million over the course of the next three years if it means getting most of his salary off the books.

Price might be the foremost casualty of Boston's attempts to slash payroll
Price might be the foremost casualty of Boston's attempts to slash payrollAdam Hunger/Associated Press

This is likely to appeal to a number of teams in the market for a starter. Price posted a 3.24 ERA in 16 first-half starts before injuries decimated the remainder of his 2019 campaign. He will be 35 in August, but his four-year stint in Boston has shown that he still has plenty left in the tank.

Feinsand noted that the San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Angels could all be in play for Price in the coming weeks and that he—as well as Cleveland's Corey Kluber—might be the most attractive arm readily available in the trade market.

                  

Padres Trying to Deal Wil Myers, Austin Hedges

The Padres are clearly trying to shuffle things as they hope to take strides toward being more competitive in 2020.

Aside from their aforementioned inquiries into Price, San Diego is still hoping to move some of its pieces. Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark of The Athletic reported that the Friars are looking to find partners for outfielder Wil Myers and catcher Austin Hedges.

Myers signed a six-year, $83 million contract with the Padres in 2017 after making the National League All-Star team in 2016, but his numbers have been on the decline since. The 29-year-old posted his lowest OPS (.739) since an injury-riddled 2014 season this past year, and Rosenthal and Stark indicate that "he's being crowded out of playing time on an overstuffed roster."

Of course, Myers is still relatively young, and he has 30-homer, 20-steal capabilities, as he proved in the past. He also has a club option in 2023, which might be a nice kicker for rival executives.

Meanwhile, Hedges is more one-dimensional. He can hit for power, but he rarely gets on base (.257 career OBP) and struck out in 109 of his 347 plate appearances (31.4 percent) last season. However, he was the top framer in baseball in 2019, according to Baseball Prospectus.

Perhaps more importantly, Hedges still has two more years of arbitration after 2020, making him a controllable asset for suitors in the market for a new backstop.

            

All stats obtained via Baseball Reference and all contract information via Spotrac unless otherwise noted.