Citing family health concerns, MLB pitcher David Price has opted out of the 2020 season. It’s a tough break for the Dodgers, who traded for Price in February. Meanwhile, the Red Sox could get a little CBT buffer due to the pitcher’s hiatus.

David Price opts out of MLB 2020 season
In June, David Price gave $1,000 to each of the roughly 220 minor league players in the Dodgers’ farm system. (Image: Russ D. Franklin/AP)

One of the biggest trades leading into the 2020 season was the deal between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The on-again, off-again trade wound up with Mookie Betts and David Price going to LA in exchange for three key prospects.

The Dodgers, however, will be without the former Cy Young award winner for the 2020 season, now that David Price has decided to sit this one out.

Price Joins MLBers Passing on 2020

When David Price decided to opt out of the 2020 season, he wasn’t the first MLB player to do so. Last week, Ian Desmond (Rockies), Ryan Zimmerman Nationals), Joe Ross (Nationals), and Mike Leake (Diamondbacks) all opted out. Price tweeted his 2020 decision on Saturday, which was also verified by MLB.

Given the risks of restarting major league sports amid a global pandemic, players are between a rock and a hard place. Professional sports careers are relatively short, almost by definition. Opting out of even one competitive year is a gut-wrenching decision. But then again, today’s health and safety concerns are unprecedented.

Meanwhile, David Price’s decision hasn’t moved the odds of a Dodgers’ 2020 World Series Championship. Both Bovada and Caesars still have the Dodgers and Yankees as favorites at +350. Granted, the Dodgers have plenty of other noteworthy arms. They still have their first two starters, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. The Dodgers also have some promising pitching talent in Ross Stripling, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May.

Red Sox Save $6 Million

Meanwhile, LA’s loss represents a silver lining for Boston. As part of David Price’s trade agreement, the Red Sox agreed to cover half of his salary for the first three years. Normally, the pitcher’s salary would be $16 million a year. But due to the shortened season, Price’s 2020 salary is prorated to $11.85 million. As a result of Price’s decision, the Red Sox will get to keep half that amount — or roughly $5.9 million.

Some of Boston’s motivation for trading Betts and Price was to trim its salary budget. Before the trade, the Red Sox would have triggered the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT). The CBT is a tax levied to MLB teams that exceed a predetermined salary threshold.

At this point, it is unclear how CBT calculations will account for Price — or any MLB player — opting out of the 2020 season. But it is possible the Red Sox will not only save $6 million this season, but Boston may also get more CBT buffer based on Price’s decision.

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