Red Sox

MLB Rumors: 5 possible trade suitors for Red Sox LHP David Price

MLB Rumors: 5 possible trade suitors for Red Sox LHP David Price

The Boston Red Sox have made their offseason mission clear: shed payroll to go under the luxury tax threshold while maintaining a competitive ballclub for 2020.

One way to do that would be to part ways with left-hander David Price and the $96 million remaining on his contract. Rumors have swirled during the Winter Meetings about Boston looking for a trade partner willing to take on Price's hefty price tag, and reports say multiple teams are in the running for a potential blockbuster deal.

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Here's a look at five possible destinations for the 34-year-old:

1. San Diego Padres

The Padres' primary need is a starter to pair with up-and-comer Chris Paddack at the front of the rotation, so it's no secret they're one of the teams reportedly in on Price.

San Diego is looking to part ways with 1B/OF Wil Myers (owed $68.5 million), so the swap would work out in Boston's favor financially and end its search for a first baseman. There also are plenty of prospects in the Padres system to sweeten any potential deal.

2. St. Louis Cardinals

Another team rumored to be in on the Price sweepstakes is the Cardinals, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com.

St. Louis was one of the teams looking to sign the southpaw before he agreed to his seven-year, $217 million deal with Boston. The Cards could use a veteran arm to put at the front of the rotation alongside young guns Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson.

One roadblock here is it may cost the Red Sox an additional piece (say, Andrew Benintendi) to convince St. Louis to take on Price's salary.

3. Los Angeles Angels

The Angels are desperately searching for a front-end starter and just lost out on the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes to the New York Yankees. With the top dogs Cole and Stephen Strasburg off the free-agent board, Anaheim could pivot to the trade market.

4. Texas Rangers

The Red Sox reportedly have had conversations with the Rangers about a possible deal that would dump Price and fellow Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi's contracts onto Texas. The duo is owed a whopping $147 million over the next three seasons, but the American League West team could use some rotation depth.

Boston likely wouldn't get much in return in this hypothetical trade, but for a front office looking for a solution to its payroll problem, it makes sense as an option.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers

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The Dodgers, like the Angels, were involved in the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes to the bitter end. Since it didn't work out in their favor, they could resort to plan B and take on Price's salary in a trade. With lefty Hyun-jin Ryu likely leaving in free agency, Price would make sense as a replacement.

Tomase: Price trade would put 2020 in jeopardy>>>

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MLB rumors: Latest Red Sox asking price for a Mookie Betts trade revealed

MLB rumors: Latest Red Sox asking price for a Mookie Betts trade revealed

Mookie Betts' future with the Boston Red Sox beyond 2020 remains uncertain, and if another team wants to make a trade for the former American League MVP, it's going to cost quite a bit.

The Red Sox are in an interesting spot with Betts. He's a five-tool player with incredible offensive talents and plays Gold Glove-level defense in the outfield. However, if it looks like he's going to test free agency after next season, exploring a trade makes sense. Allowing a player of Betts' caliber to leave as an unrestricted free agent and get nothing of value in return would be a huge setback for the Red Sox.

The asking price the Red Sox currently have for Betts doesn't just involve getting quality talent in return, it also includes a team taking starting pitcher David Price's contract, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (subscription required).

Boston has indicated to other teams, according to sources, that any team that lands Betts will also have to take David Price (or Nathan Eovaldi presumably), with either most or all of the money owed to Price, $96 million. 

Olney also added Boston is "asking for two high-end prospects to front the deal."

It makes sense for Boston to find a taker for Price's contract. Price is still a quality pitcher, but he's no longer a $30-plus million type of starter, and getting rid of his salary would allow the Sox to invest in younger talent. He's also started more than 22 games just once over the last three years, which isn't the most ideal trend for a 34-year-old pitcher who's played more than 10 major league seasons.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said in a press conference Wednesday that Betts being on the Opening Day roster has "really been my expectation all along.” Boston should do everything it can to extend Betts' contract and keep him in Boston for a long time. He's a top-five position player in baseball, and he's finished in the top eight of AL MVP voting each of the last four years. The 27-year-old superstar also owns four Gold Glove awards and three Silver Slugger awards.

Betts' future doesn't need to be decided right now, though. The trade deadline isn't until July 31. The priority for Boston is finding a new manager to replace Alex Cora. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than a month.

J.D. Martinez: Red Sox will be exonerated by MLB investigation

J.D. Martinez states without equivocation that Red Sox will be exonerated by MLB investigation

J.D. Martinez states without equivocation that Red Sox will be exonerated by MLB investigation

SPRINGFIELD -- For five hours on Saturday morning at Winter Weekend, Red Sox players and coaches delivered basically the same message in regards to the 2018 cheating scandal: We're not at liberty to say anything until the league finishes its investigation.

And then J.D. Martinez stepped in front of the cameras.

The slugging DH, who earlier this offseason chose to remain in Boston rather than exercise an opt-out in his contract, minced no words when asked if the Red Sox did anything wrong during their championship 2018 season.

"You know, it sucks, to be honest with you," he said of the investigation. "It does suck. But you know what? I know I'm excited for the investigation to be over with just so that they can see that there was nothing going on here."

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So he believes the team is innocent of the charges that it used the replay room to steal opposing signs in real time?

"I believe that, yes," Martinez said.

And what gives Martinez this confidence, despite a report to the contrary in The Athletic claiming that the Red Sox stole signs?

"Because I was in there," he said. "I saw what was. . . . Straight up, everyone seems to forget that in 2017 and '16 this team was a really good team. This team won 93 games those two years and then we just got better."

Martinez spoke without hesitation, and also saluted departed manager Alex Cora, while offering some insight into why Cora decided to leave the team.

"Kind of heartbroken about it," he said. "I talked to him before and I understood his side of it. He didn't want to be a distraction going into the season. I know it was wearing on him and his family, so I obviously feel for him and I wish him the best. But I know he played a big, big role for our team and he was one of my favorites, if not my favorite manager that I've had. It's going to be tough."