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Monday, March 08, 2021

Veteran starter David Price offers to move to the bullpen if it helps the Dodgers

Price will have four more spring outings to be stretched out as a starter, but he made it clear after an 11-pitch inning in which his fastball touched a robust 94 mph that he is willing to pitch in relief.

“I expect to be ready to start by the regular season,” Price said. “But I told them, whatever they need me to do, whatever makes the 2021 Dodgers better, I’m all for it.”

Price said he felt a little “antsy” when he took the mound. It had been a year since he last pitched in a game — he struck out seven of 10 Colorado batters in a March 7, 2020, exhibition — and 18 months since his last regular-season appearance, a two-inning stint for Boston in Anaheim on Sept. 1, 2019.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s in a B game or on the back fields,” Price said, “if I get out there on that mound, I’m gonna be excited about it.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 08, 2021 at 09:59 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: david price, dodgers

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   1. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: March 08, 2021 at 11:03 PM (#6007985)
Anybody know if he got a ring for last year?
   2. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 09, 2021 at 01:08 AM (#6007989)
Lol, he’s preemptively getting ready to say “I wasn’t demoted; I volunteered to pitch out of the pen.” It’s not clear that he’s one of the Dodgers’ five best starters.
   3. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 09, 2021 at 08:05 AM (#6007994)
For all the (IMHO unfair) complaining about him in Boston the dude seemed like a "team first" guy. He conceded that Porcello had earned the right to start game one of the ALDS in 2016, in 2017 he moved to the bullpen after his injury and pitched really well, then in 2018 he took the ball on short rest a couple of times in the playoffs and was always ready in the bullpen between starts. Even his most celebrated blowout (yelling at Eckersley) was in the cause of standing up for a teammate (EdRod).

He may not have pitched as well as we Sox fans had hoped but he never came across to me as a guy worried about covering his ass.
   4. jmurph Posted: March 09, 2021 at 09:45 AM (#6008005)
I'm with Jose, I enjoyed the Price experience. Not his fault he got hurt, and I'm glad he got to have his moments in the World Series run.
   5. Adam Starblind Posted: March 09, 2021 at 10:16 AM (#6008011)
Plenty of veteran starters with his pedigree would never talk about going to the bullpen, let alone before getting a chance to compete in spring. Hell, you hear "I consider myself a starter" from so-so relievers with 2 years in the majors.

If this were just saving face, he easily could have waited until the decision was made. "I told Skip, whatever I can do to help the team."
   6. bfan Posted: March 09, 2021 at 12:38 PM (#6008023)
It does seem appropriate that the Dodgers would have a guy coming out of the bullpen who is making $32 million this year.
   7. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: March 09, 2021 at 12:56 PM (#6008024)
As a Red Sox fan, I was guilty of being disappointed in Price's performance while in Boston, though he seemed like a good guy.

But if you look at his record during his four years in Boston, he wasn't that much worse than he had been prior to signing with the Red Sox:

Pre-Red Sox:

104-56, 3.09 ERA, ERA+ of 126, WHIP of 1.132, K/9 of 8.6

Red Sox:
46-24, 3.84 ERA, ERA+ of 118, WHIP of 1.204, K/9 of 9.3

He got hurt while in Boston, but came back looking good. He was excellent in the 2018 ALCS and World Series, and flags fly forever. I hope he succeeds in LA, and appreciate his time in Boston.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2021 at 04:13 PM (#6008037)
For several years now the Dodgers have followed the (expensive) strategy of having many good but fragile SPs around, pretty much guaranteeing at least 5 good healthy guys at any given time and the ability for any of the big guns to take a couple of weeks of dead arm time during the season to keep them fresh. Sometimes too many guys are healthy and they either go with a 6-man or somebody goes to the bullpen -- that happened to Maeda all the time so hardly an insult if it happens to a 35-yo Price.

From 2015-19, only two Dodger SPs made it to 30 starts (Buehler 30 in 2019 and Maeda 32 in 2016). In those years, they averaged about 7 guys a year making at least 9 starts. Contrast this with the Cubs in that time frame who had 18 SPs reach 30 games and only about 5.5 making at least 9 starts. Even in 2020, the Dodgers had 6 guys with 7+ starts each and still found space for 2 starts for Graterol and 2 for Wood and nobody took the "full" 12 starts.

They may have "overdone" it this year with 8 guys -- Bauer, Kershaw, Buehler, Urias, Price, Gonsolin, May, Graterol. But May is only 23 and hasn't topped 150 IP in a season yet; Graterol is 22 and has barely topped 100 IP in a season. Urias has been in the majors quite a while now but can't stay healthy (plus a DV suspension) and hasn't topped 80 IP; Gonsolin is 27 but still has just one season in the minors over 100 IP.

If he's healthy, I'll be surprised if Price doesn't grab about 15 starts ... and I suspect he'll spend some time on the IL (whether he's healthy or not :-) and in the pen. Don't be surprised if he's in the opening day rotation.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 09, 2021 at 04:19 PM (#6008039)
I suspect he'll spend some time on the IL (whether he's healthy or not :-)
”Of course. Nothing wrong with that. It stands for ‘Inactive List,’ right?” —Dodgers
   10. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 09, 2021 at 04:22 PM (#6008040)
I doubt there is any plan to use Graterol as a starter. I’d imagine Josiah Gray and Mitchell White would be called up before Graterol would be used in the rotation or even grabbing a guy off waivers.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2021 at 05:46 PM (#6008046)
That's probably correct as I see his two starts last year were of the opener variety. It's a shame -- I mean it's possible the Dodgers know something about developing pitching that I don't but the kid's been outstanding as a starter in the minors.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2021 at 05:47 PM (#6008047)
I should add that I am also willing to do whatever I can to make the 2021 Dodgers better for a mere 10% of what Mr. Price is paid.
   13. JJ1986 Posted: March 09, 2021 at 07:12 PM (#6008052)
Wasn't the whole reason that the Betts trade was initially scuttled that Graterol's medicals indicated he couldn't hold up to starting?
   14. Ron J Posted: March 09, 2021 at 08:34 PM (#6008057)
#12 And I assume you'll do the same for the Cubs -- and give them a better rate.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2021 at 09:15 PM (#6008061)
Scott has told me no hometown discounts!
   16. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 10, 2021 at 10:07 AM (#6008078)
Wasn't the whole reason that the Betts trade was initially scuttled that Graterol's medicals indicated he couldn't hold up to starting?


Yep. Sox pegged him as a reliever only.
   17. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: March 10, 2021 at 10:34 AM (#6008082)
BTW: I still think that Chaim Bloom did very well in the Betts trade, given what seems like little leverage at the time. So in exchange for the difference between Verdugo and Betts, he got an excellent middle infield prospect (Downs), and a decent catching prospect (Wong), saved the delta in the 2020 salary between Verdugo and Betts, and dumped a lot of the Price salary. For the Red Sox, resetting their payroll obligations ASAP was a big part of the goal, and being able to include Price in the deal helped accelerate the rebuild.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 10, 2021 at 10:44 AM (#6008087)
BTW: I still think that Chaim Bloom did very well in the Betts trade,
Oh boy, here we go...
   19. villageidiom Posted: March 10, 2021 at 11:05 AM (#6008088)
I should add that I am also willing to do whatever I can to make the 2021 Dodgers better for a mere 10% of what Mr. Price is paid.
You're already making the 2021 Dodgers better doing whatever it is you're doing right now, for nothing.
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 10, 2021 at 01:58 PM (#6008112)
For the Red Sox, resetting their payroll obligations ASAP was a big part of the goal . . .
Winning the Spreadsheet League is always a big hit with the fans.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: March 10, 2021 at 03:41 PM (#6008136)
You're already making the 2021 Dodgers better doing whatever it is you're doing right now, for nothing.

Alas ... but I could be doing so much less!!

Oh boy, here we go...

Meh. If we take trading Betts as a given, the Red Sox did very well in that trade. It's the decision of a rich team to trade Betts (great and popular and likely to age pretty well) that still rightly gets people riled up.
   22. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: March 10, 2021 at 03:58 PM (#6008139)
May seems like a good bet to stay in the pen. His FIP wasn't great last year, he seemed hittable in the playoffs, plus the innings ramp-up.
   23. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 11, 2021 at 12:35 AM (#6008200)
Meh. If we take trading Betts as a given, the Red Sox did very well in that trade.


They traded one season of MVP-type performance (he should have won the MVP, imo) in a season that they weren't going to make the playoffs anyway for a guy who put up an all-star caliber year and they have for four more seasons. And they also got a good prospect in Jeter Downs. The Price part of the trade was a wash- they lost Price but also cut $16m from payroll, which seems close to fair value, likely a slight net positive. Tough not to like that trade from the Red Sox' perspective.
   24. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 11, 2021 at 11:21 AM (#6008238)

They traded one season of MVP-type performance (he should have won the MVP, imo) in a season that they weren't going to make the playoffs anyway for a guy who put up an all-star caliber year and they have for four more seasons.


So that sounds like a terrible exchange. How many all-star seasons would I have to get to be equivalent to a MVP season -- 8? 10? More, possibly?
   25. Darren Posted: March 11, 2021 at 11:36 AM (#6008241)
So that sounds like a terrible exchange. How many all-star seasons would I have to get to be equivalent to a MVP season -- 8? 10? More, possibly?


You left off the rest of what they got back, but putting that aside, how do you arrive at your 8-10-more all-star seasons = 1 MVP season conversion rate? Looking at it purely by WAR, Verdugo was about a 5 WAR player, Betts about 9, so 1.8 All Stars = 1 MVP?

Then there's context--the team was likely to be out of it 2020, getting under the cap would help them be better and have more spending power in 2021 and beyond, and there was some chance that they could still sign Betts after trading him.
   26. Darren Posted: March 11, 2021 at 11:43 AM (#6008244)
The timing of the Price trade is what always leaves me wondering. Imagine baseball gets shut down before the Sox make the deal. Price opts out, taking $32 mil off their payroll. They don't sign Pillar, that's another $5 million. They are probably close enough to be able to get under the limit without dealing Mookie. Would they still?
   27. Walt Davis Posted: March 11, 2021 at 04:36 PM (#6008284)
#23: Which might be more concisely summarised as If we take trading Betts as a given, the Red Sox did very well in that trade.

(I'm never more consise than anybody else, I couldn't resist this opportunity.)
   28. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 11, 2021 at 05:05 PM (#6008287)
The timing of the Price trade is what always leaves me wondering. Imagine baseball gets shut down before the Sox make the deal. Price opts out, taking $32 mil off their payroll. They don't sign Pillar, that's another $5 million. They are probably close enough to be able to get under the limit without dealing Mookie. Would they still?


I don't know. I kind of wonder if they were of the opinion that for whatever reason they'd never come to an agreement with Mookie. They could've gotten under the luxury tax limit last year relatively easily without dealing Mookie. Don't offer JBJ arbitration and sign Pillar, that's a $6 million savings right there, trade JDM for a couple of minor league lottery tickets, that's another $19 against the tax so that's $25. They probably could have dealt Price also for a bag of baseballs while eating money, call it half the contract or $16 million, that's $41 million off the top. You then figure out a way to get Mookie done.

I'm sure within that my numbers are wrong by a few mil here and there but I think the bare bones; don't offer arb to JBJ, trade Price and JDM for pennies on the dollar, get you close enough for government work. Maybe you sign a $2 million pitcher instead of Perez or sign a cheaper outfielder than Pillar but it's doable I think. I even wrote a piece on Sox Therapy about it a month before the deal. Their actions both who they kept and ultimately who they dealt make me think that they didn't expect Mookie to stay for whatever reason.

   29. pikepredator Posted: March 11, 2021 at 05:08 PM (#6008289)
I still think Price deserved the WS MVP over Pearce. I didn't really understand the hate he got and am glad I wasn't in Boston to hear the worst of it.
   30. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 11, 2021 at 08:27 PM (#6008334)
I kind of wonder if they were of the opinion that for whatever reason they'd never come to an agreement with Mookie.
Wouldn’t the usual M.O. in that situation be to also leak how unreasonable Mookie’s salary demands were? That doesn’t seem to have happened, which leaves me thinking that Red Sox ownership just somewhat inexplicably changed course and went cheap when the 2019 season didn’t pan out as anticipated.
   31. Darren Posted: March 11, 2021 at 08:55 PM (#6008339)
I still think Price deserved the WS MVP over Pearce. I didn't really understand the hate he got and am glad I wasn't in Boston to hear the worst of it.


I don't know that Price got a lot of hate in Boston, but... He was signed to one of the top (the top?) contracts for a pitcher. In his 4 years in Boston he was slightly above average, and had up-and-down performances in the postseason. He wasn't a bust by any means but he wasn't the superstar he was being paid like either.
   32. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 11, 2021 at 09:38 PM (#6008349)
Price never really connected with the fans. To be honest I never really liked him either but he was a good pitcher and to his credit never came across as a bad teammate or a complainer. He came across to me as a bit aloof. I think JD Drew is a good comparison. Like Drew his first year was a bit underwhelming (in Price’s case complete with post-season meltdown against Cleveland) and that first impression lingered.

As for the World Series, I don’t think either guy was a bad choice. I remember one of the voters had a piece (I think in The Athletic) talking about the voting. Basically it was either or when the 8th inning of game five started, Pearce homered then Price walked the one man he faced and was lifted and that tilted it to Pearce.
   33. Darren Posted: March 11, 2021 at 10:27 PM (#6008362)
I liked him fine in general, but he didn't live up to the contract. That's probably why some fans didn't enjoy his stay in Boston.
   34. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: March 12, 2021 at 01:06 PM (#6008448)
If there was ever a season for a baseball team to mail it in, it was 2020. Bloom obviously didn't know this when he made the Betts trade (although the trade happened on February 11th - closer to when everything shut down than I remembered it...).
   35. bfan Posted: March 13, 2021 at 08:20 PM (#6008539)
February 11 was still a time of innocence. Less than 1 month earlier, WHO had tweeted that COVID 19 could not be transmitted, human to human, and that had not been withdrawn, so far all Bloom knew, we just had to keep the pangolins out of the country and we would be fine.
   36. Darren Posted: March 14, 2021 at 04:34 PM (#6008573)
#23: Which might be more concisely summarised as If we take trading Betts as a given, the Red Sox did very well in that trade.


I think would it would be more accurately summarized as, If we don't taking keeping Betts at all costs as a given, the Red Sox did very weill in that trade.

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