David Price: ‘Players’ health wasn’t being put first’

The Dodgers and former Rays pitcher puts MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on blast after Marlins' coronavirus outbreak.
David Price made two spring-training starts for the Dodgers but has yet to pitch in a regular-season game.
David Price made two spring-training starts for the Dodgers but has yet to pitch in a regular-season game. [ ROSS D. FRANKLIN | AP ]
Published July 27, 2020|Updated July 31, 2020

When Dodgers and former Rays pitcher David Price announced on July 4 that he planned to sit out the 2020 season, he said the decision was “in the best interests of my health and my family’s health.”

If anything, the first few days of the delayed, abbreviated Major League Baseball season have only reinforced his doubts about baseball’s ability to make the game safe for players during the coronavirus pandemic.

After a COVID-19 outbreak on the Miami Marlins led to the postponement of two games on Monday and speculation about the future of the MLB season, Price put commissioner Rob Manfred on blast.

“Now we REALLY get to see if MLB is going to put players health first,” Price tweeted. “Remember when Manfred said players health was PARAMOUNT?! Part of the reason I’m at home right now is because players health wasn’t being put first. I can see that hasn’t changed.”

More than a dozen Marlins players and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus in an outbreak that stranded the team in Philadelphia, the Associated Press reported. The Marlins’ home opener Monday against the Orioles was called off, as was the Yankees’ game the same day at the Phillies.

Price, who won the American League Cy Young Award with the Rays in 2012, was traded from the Red Sox to the Dodgers in February.

He made two spring-training starts for the Dodgers but has yet to pitch in a regular-season game. He has a $217 million, seven-year contract that runs through 2021.

“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,” Price tweeted on July 4. “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.”

The Dodgers backed Price’s decision in a public statement.

“The Dodgers fully support David’s decision to sit out the 2020 season,” the statement read. “We have been in constant contact with David and we understand how much this deliberation weighed on him and his family.”

“We know he’ll be rooting hard for the club every day and look forward to having him back with us in 2021.”

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter

We’ll send you news and analysis on the Bucs, Lightning, Rays and Florida’s college football teams every day.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

HOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code.

LATEST ON CORONAVIRUS: Six things we’ve learned about the coronavirus since March.

MASK UPDATE: Find out where you have to wear a mask in Tampa Bay

GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information.

THE CORONAVIRUS SCRAPBOOK: We collected your stories, pictures, songs, recipes, journals and more to show what life has been like during the pandemic.

HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.