Dodgers left-hander David Price announced that he will not play during the 2020 season via a post on his Instagram page, as first reported by Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe. Price becomes the highest-profile player to opt out of this year’s campaign, joining the likes of Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman, with others likely yet to come.
The Dodgers acquired Price, 34, in the February blockbuster trade that also sent Mookie Betts to Los Angeles. He was set to embark on his first year in Los Angeles after a stint with the Red Sox that included a memorable postseason run culminating in a World Series title. However, with Price choosing not to play this year, the trade certainly looks a bit bleaker from the Dodgers’ point of view. Whereas the team thought it would get at least a whole year with Betts in the lineup and Price in the rotation, it’s looking increasingly likely that the pair will not play a game together in Los Angeles, with Betts set to reach free agency at season’s end.
By choosing not to play this year, Price will forfeit his prorated 2020 salary, which would have been roughly $11.9M for a 60-game season. He will remain under contract with the Dodgers for two more years, valued at $64M total. It’s worth mentioning that, with the Red Sox agreeing to shoulder half of Price’s $32M salary for this year, Boston will also save nearly $6M this season.
From a baseball perspective, Price’s absence will certainly be detrimental to the Dodgers’ title aspirations in 2020. With no Price in the rotation, expect to see Ross Stripling or Dustin May bumped into a regular starting role. The Dodgers have enviable depth in their starting pitching core, so they’re uniquely well-positioned to work around decisions like Price’s: Between Stripling, May, and Tony Gonsolin, the Dodgers have a host of young starters who can share the load in the rotation.
In the statement Price posted to social media, he says that he’s “decided it is in the best interest of my heath and my family’s health for me to not play this season.” His concerns are no doubt shared by plenty of players across baseball, with the Angels’ Mike Trout expressing a similar sentiment yesterday. We’ll see just how many players choose to forego the season out of concern over the coronavirus, but it’s almost certain the Price won’t be the last big name to do so.