The Minnesota Twins scored one of their biggest offseason victories in years when they agreed to a four-year deal with Josh Donaldson. The Twins' new third baseman should be able to fit right in with a team that slugged an MLB-record 307 home runs last season and his defense at the hot corner should be a welcome sight for their pitching staff.
Wait? Pitching staff? Oh, shoot! The Twins forgot about their pitching staff!
OK, so the Twins didn't completely forget and they made some moves to fill four out of the five empty spots in the rotation. The team retained Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda and made a pair of low-level free-agent signings in Rich Hill and Homer Bailey. Throw in Jose Berrios and there's a debate to be had that this rotation is better than the one the Twins trotted out in 2019.
Yet with under a month to go until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, it still feels like something is missing. That would be a dominant ace that the Twins have lacked since Johan Santana was traded after the 2007 season. With the options on the free-agent market exhausted, the best way to get an ace via trade may be to head to Boston where the Red Sox are debating the future of David Price.
What would Price bring to the Twins?
Price's resume alone is something that should intrigue the Twins as a five-time All-Star and 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner, but what he could bring to the team is something that the Twins shouldn't pass up on despite a turbulent couple seasons with the Boston Red Sox.
2019 was not kind to Price as he made 22 starts compiling a record of 7-5 and a 4.28 ERA (his highest since his rookie year in 2009). Despite the rough overall numbers and the wrist injury that required offseason surgery, there was still plenty to like about Price's game.
Although his spin rate and velocity are in the lower percentiles among major league pitchers, Price still has a solid repertoire of pitches at his disposal. All five of his pitches recorded movement well above the major league average in 2019 according to Baseball Savant and it helped produce a career-high 10.7 K/9 rate even in a smaller sample size.
Price also brings a sense of durability despite having injury-marred campaigns in two of the past three seasons in Boston. With six seasons over 200 innings, Price has been dependable and with the up-and-down seasons that the Twins pitching staff just had, adding Price to the mix would be a very welcome development.
Where would Price fit in?
The Twins seem to have their optimal rotation filled with Berrios, Odorizzi, Pineda, Bailey and Hill, but there are still a couple of holes as they open the season. Pineda will miss the first two months as he wraps up his suspension for violating MLB's performance-enhancing drugs policy and Hill will miss the first three months recovering from offseason elbow surgery.
The Twins could rely on some of their younger pitchers such as Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe to fill in for the first couple of months, but there's no guarantee they would be effective enough to stem the tide until Pineda and Hill are ready to contribute. Bailey is also far from a sure thing as just one year ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired him in a trade and immediately told him to walk before throwing a single pitch.
The process would seem much easier for the Twins if they added Price to the rotation, who has an extensive track record and shouldn't cost too much as the Red Sox are looking for any way possible to dump salary.
The Twins would also have to eat a majority (if not all) of Price's $32 million salary over each of the next three seasons, but that's a formidable stopgap as they wait for their top prospects such as Brusdar Graterol, Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic to develop in the minors.
Price hasn't been the same pitcher he once was at the beginning of his career, but he still has enough in the tank to get the job done. If the Twins can bring him to Minnesota, it adds a security blanket the Twins will need in order to hold off a pitching-heavy Cleveland Indians squad and a Chicago White Sox team that is on the rise.