The oft-forgotten second piece coming along in the reported Mookie Betts deal — and mind you, these trades are still not completed as of this writing — is left-handed starting pitcher David Price.
The 2012 AL Cy Young award winner has been viewed as something of a throw-in or “cost of doing business” in the Boston/Los Angeles (and Minnesota) swap. However, MLB Network Analyst, and 18-year big league veteran Dan Plesac is still high on Price.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) February 5, 2020
[The Dodgers] are getting a good pitcher. I think 2018, you go back to the World Series run, he was so big in October for the Boston Red Sox … he’s an easy guy by the postseason record to take some shots at, but when he’s healthy he’s as good a left-hander — he’s in that top 5 or 6 left-handers in the game of baseball.
It’s easy to forget that Price is a 5-time All-Star in the American League, and twice lead the AL in ERA. However, since turning 30 the 6’5″ hurler has gone from elite to middling at best. In 103 games since the start of 2016, he’s recorded a 3.84 ERA with a comparable 3.74 FIP in 588 innings pitched.
Of course, he’s done all that while remaining in the demanding AL East, pitching against the powerhouse New York Yankees and the surprise Tampa Bay Rays. Now he’s working full-time on the west coast for the first time in his career. Moreover, Plesac likes the idea of Price pitching in sunny Los Angeles.
I think what’s going to help too, he’s going to go pitch in more of a warm-weather climate. And I think that really helps a veteran, older-type of pitcher that you start the season primarily on the west coast and you’re playing in nice warm weather.
With the Dodgers, Price will be in warm weather from the get go. LA’s spring training home of Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona offers pretty near-perfect weather for baseball in March, and Dodger Stadium, as we know, is a baseball paradise 9 games out of 10.
The hope for the Dodgers and fans is that Price can prove out to be a sneaky good veteran addition to the rotation to help replace the likes of a Rich Hill type. On paper, he grades out to be a more consistent option in the middle of the rotation over the likes of Kenta Maeda or Ross Stripling.
Don’t count Price out yet.