Boston Red Sox

Jul 10, 2018, Boston, MA: Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi hits an RBI double during the third inning against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park. (Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt McCarthy,

As the MLB Winter Meetings kick off in San Diego, one of baseball’s biggest insiders is suggesting the Red Sox could get creative in their effort to slash payroll ahead of 2020.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote Sunday that the Sox might consider using Andrew Benintendi as a bargaining chip to convince other teams to take on the contract of David Price or Nathan Eovaldi. As Rosenthal points out, neither Price or Eovaldi have no-trade clauses, meaning the Sox can move them should they find a suitor.

But finding a team interested in Price or Eovaldi, who are both owed big money over the next three years, could be a difficult task. That’s why including Benintendi, who is three years away from free agency, might be necessary to get a deal done.

Price is due $96 million over the next three years and Eovaldi is owed $51 million.

The Red Sox might be able to take advantage of a pitching market that already appears active this offseason. Zach Wheeler signed with the Phillies for $118 million over five years and Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg will almost assuredly command more than $30 million per season. As teams get priced out of the Cole and Strasburg markets, Price and Eovaldi could become viable options for pitching-needy clubs.

In an offseason where Drew Pomeranz has already gotten $34 million guaranteed, the Eovaldi and Price contracts might not look so bad.

The 25-year-old Benintendi batted .266 with 13 home runs and a .774 OPS in 2019.

The MLB Winter Meetings run through Thursday.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.