"If we don't start playing better, J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, maybe myself, we could get traded," Price told Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. "We're, what, 30th in minor-league systems? We're dead last. We don't play better, Mookie Betts will be traded, J.D. Martinez will be traded. It will be tough for a while here."
Entering Thursday, the Red Sox sit last in the AL East at 6-13. They also rank last in the American League by run differential and second last across Major League Baseball, ahead of only the Miami Marlins. Still, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski insisted his club is not at that point.
"I didn't see David's comments," Dombrowski told WEEI's Dale & Keefe. "No, we're not in a position to blow things up at this point. But we do have to play better, there's no question about that. I think his point was probably to people, that, hey, we can't keep playing this way, things end up happening. But we're a long way away from being in that type of situation."
The 26-year-old Betts is set to hit free agency following the 2020 season for the first time after winning the AL MVP Award last year. He's just 14-for-70 with three home runs and one stolen base so far in 2019.
Meanwhile, the 31-year-old Martinez can exercise an opt-out following the current campaign, which would make him eligible for free agency once again. To do so, the two-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger would be walking away from the three years and $62.45 million remaining on his current contract.
After a 43-homer season, Martinez has opened the 2019 campaign hot, hitting .352/.425/.592 with four home runs.
This past winter, Price chose not to exercise an opt-out clause in his own contract and is owed $127 million through 2022. The veteran left-hander is 1-1 through three starts in 2019, with a 3.79 ERA and 3.53 FIP over 19 innings.
The Red Sox have the highest payroll of any MLB team this season and have already given extensions to Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts. Overall, the team has more than $118 million in committed payroll through the 2022 season.