Red Sox

Trading David Price would save Red Sox a ton of money, but not without meaningful risk

Trading David Price would save Red Sox a ton of money, but not without meaningful risk

SAN DIEGO -- The Red Sox could save a lot of money by moving on from David Price.

They could also blast a gaping hole in their rotation that precludes them from seriously contending in 2020.

Welcome to Chaim Bloom's nightmare.

Rumors have swirled for a week that the Red Sox would rather move the three years and $96 million remaining on Price's contract than trade former MVP Mookie Betts. Given Price's injury history -- he just started playing catch after September surgery to remove a cyst from his wrist -- it would be hard to blame them for attempting to get out from under as much of that salary as possible.

ESPN on Tuesday reported that multiple teams have targeted Price. The opinions of rival executives in the lobby at the Manchester Grand Hyatt for this week's winter meetings run the gamut. One believes the Red Sox could make taking Price a requirement in any deal for Betts, a la the 2012 mega-trade with the Dodgers that carved about $400 million off of Boston's books and allowed for the reset that led to a 2013 championship.

Another not in contact with the Red Sox believes they could move Price, keep Betts, and then entertain offers for the five-tool outfielder at the deadline in July if they're out of contention, noting that the Nationals missed an opportunity to make a similar move with Bryce Harper in 2018 before he walked in free agency.

And still another with a team interested in Betts and to a lesser extent Price expressed mild surprise that the Red Sox hadn't reached out as of Tuesday afternoon.

While trading Price seems like the right long-term move, it would come with considerable risk. There's a clear path to a World Series in 2020 if Betts stays, Price and Chris Sale regain their All-Star form, and Bloom makes some smart acquisitions for the right side of the infield. Jettisoning Price eliminates the possibility that he muddles through another injury-marred campaign, but it also removes a potential ace, and his spot would either be filled with a mid-level signing or (ugh) another opener.

For all his faults, particularly when it comes to clubhouse distractions like picking a fight with Dennis Eckersley, Price has been better than he gets credit for in Boston. He's 46-24 (.657) with a 3.84 ERA and in his 2016 debut, he led the AL with over 230 innings pitched. He was otherworldly in the 2018 postseason, shedding his reputation as a playoff choker once and for all.

Thus far it has been hard to read the direction of the front office under Bloom, who's still learning the organization and has remained tight-lipped in his dealings with the media. That said, after spending a couple of days around the team, it feels like the Red Sox have been forced into a reactive position where they're serving as Plan B for a number of clubs, particularly as it relates to Price.

Any team that misses out on one of the top-tier free agent starters could make a case that Price's upside outweighs concerns over his health. Premium starters, after all, remain a precious commodity. Zack Wheeler and Stephen Strasburg have already signed nine-figure deals, Gerrit Cole could soon earn $300 million, and Madison Bumgarner and Hyu-Jin Ryu will draw interest, too. Once they're gone, anyone shut out of that market could consider Price.

The Red Sox know this, which is why they signed Price to a $217 million deal in the first place. Though he has yet to make an All-Star team or earn a Cy Young vote in four seasons here, he has dominated a postseason run to a title, and ditching him in a salary dump has some serious come-back-and-bite-you potential.

That said, if they can find a taker without eating too much money, it's hard to imagine they wouldn't pull the trigger. This winter is all about saving money, and clearing Price's $32 million salary off the books is the most palatable way to do it.

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MLB Rumors: Reds interested in signing Brock Holt

MLB Rumors: Reds interested in signing Brock Holt

Brock Holt still doesn't have a team, but he's garnering attention in free agency with spring training less than one month away.

The Cincinnati Reds are one of the teams interested in signing the former Boston Red Sox utilityman, according to Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

While Holt wouldn't be an everyday player, he'd be a valuable presence off the bench. The 31-year-old is a career .271 hitter and capable of playing virtually any position. In 2019, Holt played everywhere except pitcher, catcher, and center field.

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In addition to his versatility, Holt proved throughout his Red Sox tenure to be a fan favorite and beloved teammate. The 2015 All-Star undoubtedly would be a welcome addition to the Reds clubhouse.

Boston recently signed ex-Reds utilityman Jose Peraza, presumably Holt's replacement, to a one-year deal worth about $3 million.

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MLB rumors: Red Sox have shown interest in Hensley Meulens for manager job

MLB rumors: Red Sox have shown interest in Hensley Meulens for manager job

The Boston Red Sox need a new manager with pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training in less than a month, and one potential candidate is Hensley Meulens.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported late Sunday night that Boston has shown interest in New York Mets bench coach Hensley Meulens.

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Meulens is a really good option for the Red Sox. Before joining the Mets in November, he spent the last decade with the San Francisco Giants as a hitting coach and bench coach, helping the National League club win World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. He also managed the Netherlands at the 2013 World Baseball Classic and speaks several languages. Meulens was a candidate for the New York Yankees' manager job in 2017.

The Mets also need a new manager after parting ways with Carlos Beltran last week, and they would be smart to promote Meulens instead of letting him leave for Boston.

The Red Sox parted ways with manager Alex Cora last week after Major League Baseball named him 11 times in a nine-page report detailing the Houston Astros' sign-stealing operation used over the last few years. Cora was the Astros' bench coach in 2017 before joining the Red Sox as their manager for 2018. The MLB report concluded Cora played a key role in creating and implementing Houston's sign-stealing system. The 2018 Red Sox currently are being investigated by the league.

The sign-stealing scandal has resulted in three managers -- Cora, Beltran and Houston's A.J. Hinch -- losing their jobs, and none of these positions have been filled yet.

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