The Los Angeles Dodgers have been in tempered trade discussions with the Tampa Bay Rays surrounding David Price, and to a lesser extent Ben Zobrist. While the Dodgers possess one of the best starting rotations in baseball, adding David Price would undoubtedly make the rotation the strongest in the National League.
The question isn’t would David Price benefit the Dodgers? He would. The question is what’s the cost of acquiring Price and are the Dodgers comfortable severly depleting their top-notch farm system?
There have been calls in recent days for the Dodgers to move on from their expensive, underperforming outfield and bring up Pederson, who is absolutely destroying the offensive-happy Pacific Coast League. The Dodgers organization clearly views Pederson as their CF of the future and would like to bring him up; however, they’d also like to trade off one of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, or Carl Crawford before doing so.
Bringing up Pederson, in a vacuum, seems like a smart move. He’s a young CF who is clearly the Dodgers future. He would be a massive defensive upgrade over Ethier or Kemp in CF and he’s a really talented hitter right now. He would be the starting CF for about half of MLB teams right now. While he still struggles with striking out, his defense alone would likely make the Dodgers a better team right away.
However, the Dodgers have no interest in carrying six outfielders on the roster and would prefer not to bring up Pederson now, thus beginning his service time in the majors. So, in order to bring up Pederson, the Dodgers are either going to have to trade one Kemp, Ethier or Crawford, bring him up due to injury, or wait until September. Here’s a good breakdown from Dodgers Digest.
The larger question here though doesn’t revolve around when the Dodgers should bring up Pederson, but rather is it worth trading Pederson and Urias/Seager for Price. David Price will be a free agent at the end of the season and the Dodgers would have to re-sign him for about 80-90% of Clayton Kershaw‘s contract. That would represent the third Dodgers pitcher to be making more than $20M per season. The Dodgers can afford it, but is it worth risking the future of the franchise to get Price and make a strength even stronger?
I can’t answer that question, but we’ll find out over the next couple of weeks. Ned Colletti has a decision to make that may change the direction of the Dodgers for years to come.
Editors Note: David Price will not be a free agent after this season. He is under contract for one more season; however, he would be eligible for somewhere around $20M in arbitration.