The Los Angeles Dodgers took a risk in acquiring 2012 American League Cy Young Award Winner, David Price, from the Boston Red Sox in the trade that also landed them Mookie Betts.
The 34-year-old left-hander is coming off one of his worst seasons in 2019. Price went 7-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 22 games with the Red Sox last season. Adding insult to injury (pun intended), Price has three years remaining on his seven-year, $217 million dollar contract he signed in 2016.
However, the Dodgers have a few things to be hopeful about when it comes to Price pitching for the Boys in Blue in 2020. Firstly, the Red Sox included a total of $48 million to help pay down roughly half of the remaining money owed on Price's contract for the next three years.
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Secondly, Price admitted he was injured during his imperfect final season in Boston, and had surgery in September to remove a cyst in his left wrist.
Price told reporters during his introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, that the cyst was causing circulation issues and he would lose the feeling in his left hand. He said that he had been dealing with the issue off and on since the early days of his career in Tampa Bay, but after surgery and rehab, is now starting to see a noticeable difference.
"The way I was explained is it was kind of like gravel," said Price of the injury. "It was something that we would try and scrape out and use different tools to kind of smooth it out. It kind of just accumulated to be so much that the best thing was to go in there and cut it out and get it over with.
"So we just cut some extra growth out that I had in my main canal. It would just get inflamed and it would swell up and cut everything off to my hand. That's why my hand would get cold, and I would lose feeling it.
"Ever since I had the surgery and would go to rehab every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, with our trainers in Boston, they could instantly tell how much warmer my hand was. The feeling in my hand overall was a lot better and I'm looking forward to going out there and testing it with a baseball."
Price has been playing catch and throwing off a mound at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona during the early days of the Dodgers 2020 Spring Training. He says his hand feels better, but he notices the biggest difference during day-to-day activities at home with his wife and two you kids.
"I'm hopeful to have a feeling that I haven't had in a very long time," said Price. "I can feel it in every day activities and more so when I'm playing catch or throwing a bullpen."
Finally, the Dodgers and Price are hoping that a switch in leagues from the American League to the National League could provide a late-career boost for Price.
The 12-year veteran has spent the entirety of his career in the American League where the designated hitter provides an added boost for offenses. Additionally, Price has pitched in three of the worst pitching parks in baseball while playing with the Blue Jays, Tigers, and Red Sox.
After pitching in hitter-friendly Fenway Park for the last few seasons, Price is hoping for some statistical improvement in the pitcher-friendly confines of Chavez Ravine.
"I hope a big boost, you know," said Price. "I mean, facing the pitcher is cool. Having the ability to pitch around the 8-hole is part of the strategy. But at the same time, National League guys are taking BP [batting practice], they're running the bases...that can take a toll on you as well."
Two players excited to have price in Dodger Blue are left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who has always admired Price, and fellow Vanderbilt alumni Walker Buehler.
"We're obviously really, really excited to add two players of their caliber," Buehler told MLB Network Radio of Price and Betts. "This is a pretty big deal for us."
The Dodgers have tremendous pitching depth in their starting rotation and will play it safe with Price throughout the spring. Thus far, Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts has not announced when Price could conceivably make his first start in a spring training game, but Price is expected to be ready for the start of the season.