Dodgers without Price in 2020, Braves face uncertainty

David Price of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch.
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

MLB· 1 year ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

Los Angeles Dodgers lefty David Price announced this weekend that is opting out of the 2020 Major League Baseball season. Price, like several other players before him, made the decision due to health concerns stemming from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The 34-year-old posted the following message on his social media channels: “After considerable thought and discussion with my family and the Dodgers, I have decided it is in the best interest of my health and my family’s health for me to not play this season. I will miss my teammates and will be cheering for them throughout the season and on to a World Series victory. I’m sorry I won’t be playing for you this year, but look forward to representing you next year.”

Dodgers still favored

As for this year, the Dodgers should still be loaded. Their pitching rotation includes Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, Dustin May, and a couple of other viable candidates. They are +425 favorites to win the World Series, just ahead of the New York Yankees (+500).

Price was heading into what would have been his first season with the Dodgers after being traded in a blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox. It also included outfielder Mookie Betts, while Boston received outfielder Alex Verdugo and prospects. The Red Sox are +2200 to win the American League.

Braves’ new issues

Second behind Los Angeles (+150) among National League favorites are the Atlanta Braves (+1000). They have coronavirus issues in their own right, as veteran right-handed Felix Hernandez has reportedly opted out of the 2020 campaign and first baseman Freddie Freeman recently tested positive. Reliever Will Smith, starter Touki Toussaint, and infielder Pete Kozma also have the virus.

“It’s a serious matter,” Braves outfielder Nick Markakis assured. “I hope Freddie heals up quickly. I know he’s young, healthy. I hope he heals up and gets back as quickly as possible because as you know with 60 games, one week can change things quickly.”

Hernandez, 34, had been hoping to revitalize his career in Atlanta following three straight disappointing seasons to wrap up his otherwise illustrious tenure with the Seattle Mariners. The Venezuelan is a six-time all-star and he earned AL Cy Young Award honors in 2010. Despite Hernandez’s likely absence from the rotation, the Braves still boast Mike Soroka, Mike Foltynewicz, Cole Hamels, Max Fried, and perhaps either Toussaint, Kyle Wright, or Sean Newcomb.

Atlanta is +2000 to win the World Series and outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. is a +400 favorite to win NL MVP.

Be sure to check out our daily MLB expert picks when the season begins in late July.

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