Could David Price be an option for the Houston Astros?
Adding David Price could be an intriguing option for the Houston Astros front office as the organization continues to look for ways to improve the starting rotation.
It has actually been speculated for some time that the Astros may try to make a play for the former Rays, Tigers, and Blue Jays starter. Well, now the pitcher that bested Price for the most recent Cy Young award may have added fuel to the fire, according to an article from Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
That’s right, Dallas Keuchel has campaigned for Price to join the Astros! But before you get too excited, there is no sign of how serious Keuchel’s pitches to Price have been. Signing Price is still interesting to discuss.
After all, the fit seems to be there from first glance. The organization is rumored to be looking for another starting pitcher to join the rotation, especially if Scott Kazmir is not re-signed. Price would also address the need for another southpaw starter on the active roster (Lance McCullers, Scott Feldman, Mike Fiers, and Collin McHugh are all right-handers). Heck, Price even has a dog named Astro.
Even beyond the obvious, Price would, in theory, be an excellent addition to the Astros and give the team a much-needed one-two punch a top of the rotation. He did finish second the Cy Young award running, behind Keuchel, going 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA/2.78 FIP and 6.4 WAR with the Tigers and Blue Jays. In the past two seasons, Price has managed to keep an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 23.1% and 20.0%. He maintains a consistent ground-ball percentage (41.2% in 2014 and 40.4% in 2015), which would fit in well with Minute Maid Park.
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While the benefits are great, the same could be said of the risk involved in signing Price as well. The 2-7 postseason issue should slightly raise an eyebrow, but the most concerning issue is long-term durability. Not only has Price thrown 1,441.2 innings in his major league career. And even though the 30-year old starter has no major medical red flags, the thought must enter the minds of the Astros front office as the organization wants to pursue short and long-term success. While adding Price now would be a great addition to the pitching staff, one has to wonder when Price’s arm may begin to falter. Of course, this is all speculative, but it is a notion to entertain.
Regardless of the benefits and risks involved, the pairing of Price and the Astros is to be considered a long-shot at best. Not only does Price expect to demand top dollar on the free-agent market, but the Chicago Cubs are also rumored to be the favorites to land him due to his relationship with current Cubs, and former Rays manager, Joe Maddon. Any serious offer would probably have to start at $25 million per season with at least a five-year term. There isn’t any guarantee that the Astros ownership would break the bank on just one pitcher, even if that pitcher is Price. All of these factors make it unlikely that the free-agent southpaw would join the Astros.
But hey, just the possibility of adding a pitcher of Price’s caliber is worth getting excited about. Slowly, but surely, Houston is becoming a viable destination for players. If Dallas Keuchel is recruiting top quality, free agents, I would think that you have to be at least intrigued by the possibility.
**Statistics provided by Fangraphs.com and Baseball Reference**