Padres Editorial: Looking Forward- David Price

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Mandatory Credit: Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images

There are going to be a lot of quality pitchers available this coming off-season when free agency hits Major League Baseball. The San Diego Padres are in need of some starting pitching and David Price, the left-handed ace from the Detroit Tigers could very well be the answer for the team.

Price provides a legitimate ace and being left-handed he would fit very nicely with the current group of Padres starters. The Padres could make a run at David Price, but his cost would surely be astronomical. On the open market Price is sure to command somewhere around $125-$150 million dollars at least.

Price is making $19.75 million this season in the last year of his arbitration. One would figure his future contract will be in that neighborhood yearly. He will be looking for a six-year contract at least, taking the deal in the $120 million dollar range. It is quite possible and very likely he will get more than that on the open market.

Teams like the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox are in need of starting pitching. Not a positive thing for Padres fans, as these teams could easily overpay for the services of Price in their rotation. Luckily for the Padres Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmerman, Mat Latos, Doug Fister, Yovani Gallardo, Scott Kazmir, Jeff Samardzija and even perhaps Zack Greinke will become free agents. That is a huge haul of pitchers. Price and Cueto are truly the best of the bunch, but some of those other starters could be a very nice pick up for a team.

At the age of 30, David Price has had a very successful Major League career so far. His career started in 2008 (a year after he was drafted) when Price came on to throw out of the bullpen for the Devil Rays late in the season. He was a vital member of that team’s playoff run, coming on to save game seven of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. As a 22-year old rookie, Price came on to get the last four outs of the game (three by strikeout). That showed the character of this young man right there, at an early age.

Mandatory Credit: AP Photo
Mandatory Credit: AP Photo

Price has a career record of 95-53 with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.140 WHIP. He is a five time All-Star in his eight Major League seasons. Last season Price went 15-12 with Detroit and Tampa Bay combined. He threw a league leading 248.1 innings and struck out a league high 271 batters. That was easily his career best totals in each category. It’s evident that at the age of 29 Price is really beginning to find himself as a pitcher.

Padres fans could only imagine what a rotation made up of Price, James Shields, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner is capable of? Having Price on top of your rotation puts less pressure on each pitcher and in a playoff series, going against Price, Shields and Ross/Cashner would be a tough task for any team. Adding his services would be extremely tough for Padres management though.

The contract demands of Price are surely to get crazy. Left handed ace pitchers do not grow on trees and Price would have to really make an effort to pitch in San Diego. He has no direct ties to the city that I am aware of, so it seems unlikely he takes a “San Diego discount”. With that being said, the Padres will have to go out of their way to sign Price. It will not be like how James Shields just fell into their lap, Price will need much reassurance. Another reason why dealing James Shields would not be a good idea. Moving him would surely send the wrong message to future potential free agent acquisitions. A player signs a free agent contract somewhere to have a sense of normalcy for an extended amount of time. The last thing a player wants is trade rumors swirling around them while trying to perform on the field.

The whole structure of the Padres team seems to be in flux. It looks as though anybody could be dealt by G.M. A.J. Preller. Some seem sure to be dealt such as Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy, and Joaquin Benoit. While others like Will Venable, Craig Kimbrel and even James Shields could be dealt as well. The chemistry and consistency on this team started out well, but took a nose dive late in April. Nobody can quite put their finger on what sent this team into a tailspin. The team will hope to find its groove soon. Sadly trades do have to be made and the roster does need adjustments.

The addition of David Price would be great for the team but I highly doubt the Padres can afford his asking price. The Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox will offer him a boatload of money at the end of the day. It’s quite possible he never even leaves Detroit as the Tigers need an ace. Justin Verlander is not the pitcher he used to be. This off-season will be interesting and the Padres will be major players once again. Padres fans will just have to wait and see what kind of approach the front office takes. The team could easily go in a number of different ways. Who knows, one of those scenarios could revolve around David Price.

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