Why Dodgers' David Price could be primed to bounce back in his first season out west
The veteran lefty shouldn't be overlooked in the 'Mookie Betts trade'
The Dodgers will hold a press conference Wednesday ( ) to announce two new additions: superstar outfielder Mookie Betts and (former?) star pitcher David Price. For weeks, we've been referring to the trade in shorthand as "the Mookie Betts trade." There is no doubt that the 2018 AL MVP is the headliner here. We should not, however, gloss over the Price part of the deal.
With the Red Sox paying half of what is left on Price's deal, the Dodgers are getting him for three years and $48 million. There's a decent chance this is a bargain. We know about the track record, which includes five All-Star games, a Cy Young and two Cy Young runners up. He's also led the AL in ERA twice.
Now Price shifts to the NL. Specifically, the NL West.
First up, let's point out the differences between the AL East and Price's new home through park factor (a stat that shows if the ballpark favors pitchers or hitters).
AL East park factors
- Oriole Park, 5th-best park for hitters
- Fenway Park, 9th
- Rogers Centre, 12th
- Tropicana Field, 25th
- Yankee Stadium, 29th
NL West park factors
- Coors Field, 1st
- Chase Field, 16th
- Dodger Stadium, 24th
- Petco Park, 28th
- Oracle Park, 30th
Take note that Price is trading out a very hitter-friendly home park for one of the most pitcher-friendly yards in the bigs. Aside from the obvious Coors Field factor, the NL West is home to pitcher-friendly venues. When you average it out, the NL West is the most pitcher-friendly division in baseball.
We've seen how moving from the AL to the NL can work wonders for pitchers in recent memory, too.
With Price, it's a leap to assume full health after injuries marred two of his last three seasons. But if he is healthy I'd expect a good to great season.
Last year, Price had a 4.28 ERA, but his FIP (3.62) suggests he was better than the ERA says. His strikeout rate (10.7 K/9; 28.0 percent) was the highest of his career. His .336 BABIP allowed suggests that he was unfortunate on the balls that did find their way into play.
Price's days of being an ace and a Cy Young contender are behind him, but factoring in a clean bill of health with the league switch and pitching in the NL West, it's reasonable to believe Price will be an excellent third starter this coming season. I could see something like a 3.50 ERA in 175-ish innings while approaching 200 strikeouts.
For three years and $48 million as part of the "Mookie Betts trade," that wouldn't be too shabby.
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