Los Angeles Dodgers

How David Price opting out of 2020 season impacts Red Sox, MLB

How David Price opting out of 2020 season impacts Red Sox, MLB

We won't see David Price in Dodger blue this season, after all.

The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher announced Saturday via Twitter he won't play in Major League Baseball's shortened 2020 season, citing health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dodgers said in a statement they fully support Price's decision.

A handful of other stars already have opted out of the 2020 season -- including Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond and Washington Nationals teammates Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross -- but Price is the biggest star yet to back out.

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From a business perspective, Price's decision saves the Red Sox some cash: Boston no longer has to pay its $5.7 million share of Price's $11.5 million prorated salary for 2020 after trading him to Los Angeles this offseason, per The Boston Globe's Alex Speier.

The Red Sox were just under the luxury tax for their 2020 payroll prior to the pandemic, and while the 2020 luxury tax in the age of COVID-19 has yet to be determined, per Speier, taking Price off their books gives them some flexibility.

But Price's decision obviously is about much more than money. A handful of players already have tested positive for COVID-19 since teams began training camps July 1, and the 34-year-old veteran is one of several players who have legitimate safety concerns about playing the season.

Price was expected to be a key rotation member for the World Series favorite Dodgers, and his decision to step away might cause others to follow his lead.

Sports Uncovered: Crazy facts about Red Sox-Dodgers seven-hour World Series marathon

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NBC Sports Illustration

Sports Uncovered: Crazy facts about Red Sox-Dodgers seven-hour World Series marathon

If you've ever tried sprinting a marathon, you know what it feels like to play in a postseason game that goes into overtime.

If you haven't sprinted a marathon, you should check out NBC Sports' latest episode of the "Sports Uncovered" podcast. NBC Sports Philadelphia takes fans behind the scenes of Game 4 of the 2000 Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, which took five overtimes and seven hours for Philly to earn a 2-1 win.

But the Flyers and Penguins aren't the only professional sports teams that played a seven-hour postseason game.

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Just ask the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers, whose Game 3 of the 2018 World Series lasted seven hours and 20 minutes.

That epic 18-inning affair smashed the record for the longest postseason game in MLB history. And get this: Game 3 alone lasted longer than the entire 1939 World Series, a four-game New York Yankees sweep of the Cincinnati Reds that spanned seven hours and five minutes of total game play.

A few other incredible facts about Game 3, which Dodgers infielder Max Muncy mercifully ended at 3:30 a.m. ET:

-- The teams combined to use an MLB-record 18 pitchers.

-- Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi threw 97 pitches in relief, the most by a reliever in World Series history.

-- Red Sox outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. both switched positions six times.

-- Utility man Eduardo Nunez went 2-for-4 in four plate appearances despite not entering the game until the 10th inning.

The Red Sox rallied from that debilitating loss to win the World Series in six games, while the Flyers also took their 2000 series with Pittsburgh in six games.

But if you thought Red Sox-Dodgers Game 3 was wild, wait until you hear about Flyers-Penguins Game 4.

As you'll hear in the podcast, seven hours of playoff hockey led to a crazy scene that included Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena running out of food, players receiving IV treatments and shifts lasting less than 10 seconds.

Check out the full episode below and subscribe to "Sports Uncovered" for free wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Chaim Bloom: Red Sox OF Alex Verdugo is 'all systems go' for start of 2020 MLB season

Chaim Bloom: Red Sox OF Alex Verdugo is 'all systems go' for start of 2020 MLB season

The best player the Boston Red Sox acquired as part of the Mookie Betts trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers should be ready to play when spring training begins in early July.

Outfielder Alex Verdugo might not have been ready for the start of the 2020 MLB season before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to delay Opening Day, which was originally scheduled for March 27. Verdugo had been nursing a back injury in the spring and his status for Boston's opener versus the Toronto Blue Jays was in doubt.

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But with the shortened 60-game season now set to begin July 23/24, Verdugo is expected to be in the Red Sox lineup from the get-go.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom provided a positive health update on the 24-year-old outfielder during a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday night.

Verdugo, along with prospects Jeter Downs and Connor Wong, was traded from the Dodgers to the Red Sox in exchange for Betts and starting pitcher David Price in January. 

If the Red Sox are going to contend for a postseason berth in the shortened regular season, they might have to get there with an offensive onslaught. Boston has been one of the best hitting teams over the last few years, featuring a lineup that ranked No. 4 in runs scored and No. 1 in hits among American League teams in 2019. 

Verdugo, if healthy, likely will be an important bat in the Red Sox lineup. He hit .294 with 12 home runs, 44 RBI, 101 hits and 43 runs scored in 106 games with the Dodgers last season.

The Red Sox will need multiple players to hit at a higher level in order to replace an MVP-caliber player like Betts, and Verdugo should be a key part of that effort.