Red Sox Trade Rumors: David Price Drawing Interest from Blue Jays, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2019

Boston Red Sox's David Price walks to the dugout after pitching during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Boston, Sunday, July 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The Toronto Blue Jays continue to engage the Boston Red Sox about a possible David Price trade, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

Price is owed $96 million over the next three years, and Rosenthal reported the split of his remaining money between the two teams is a sticking point in negotiations: "Such an agreement is not close at this time, and the Red Sox are talking to other clubs about Price and examining different options as well, sources said."

Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner confirmed in September they would trim the team's payroll so as to get under the luxury tax. Boston is currently projected to be a little more than $23.1 million over the luxury tax line for 2020, according to Spotrac.

Trading Price is an easy way to get payroll relief, but his salary makes things a little difficult. Assuming they cover a portion of his contract, the Red Sox would need to make at least one more move in order to avoid luxury tax penalties.

Price has battled injuries in recent seasons as well. He made just 16 starts in 2017 and then 22 starts in 2019. Durability could start to be more of a concern for the 34-year-old after he was so reliable earlier in his career.

When healthy, Price remains an effective starter. He finished 7-5 with a 4.28 ERA and 3.62 FIP while averaging a career-high 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings last season, according to Baseball Reference.

The Blue Jays are looking to strengthen their starting rotation this offseason. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Saturday that Toronto made a "competitive offer" for free-agent left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu. A Price trade might be a contingency plan should the pursuit of Ryu fall short.

Price was a member of the Blue Jays for the second half of the 2015 season, helping the team reach the American League Championship Series.

"We had a good group of guys. We had a lot of fun," he told reporters in April 2016 of his brief time in Toronto. "That's what you dream about when you're a little kid—playing in packed stadiums, doing it with guys you genuinely enjoy being around. It doesn't get any better than that."