Price deal feels an awful lot like the Langston trade

By Danny Gallagher

Canadian Baseball Network

It’s all eeringly similar. Mark Langston in 1989. David Price in 2015.

Two pending free-agent southpaws involving Canadian teams involving Dave Dombrowski. Go figure. The Expos were running for a National League pennant and now the Blue Jays are gunning for an American League pennant. Both pitchers were traded for three prospects.

When Expos GM Dave Dombrowski acquired Langston from Seattle in ’89 in the ill-fated Randy Johnson trade, there was the sense that he would help push the Expos over the hump to win the NL East. There was even speculation that summer that Langston was very close to signing a multi-year contract before the end of the season to avoid free agency to stay with the Expos.

The situation with Price is similar. Tigers GM Dombrowski dealt Price to the Blue Jays because he’s a free agent at the end of the season but also because he felt the Tigers are falling out of the AL race. DD wanted something substantial in return instead of letting Price leave as a free agent for virtually nothing.

Who knows what might happen with Price. Do you think that as summer and fall progresses and the Jays are still contending in the AL East, that he might consider a contract extension like Langston contemplated 26 years ago? This writer was there to see what happened in 1989 and to observe what is going on with Price, I see the parallels.

Expos pitcher Bryn Smith was so elated with Langston’s arrival that he somehow got a hold of a red carpet and slipped it down on the clubhouse floor, leading from the entrance door all the way to Langston’s locker. It was quite impressive. So when Langston arrived, he walked the red carpet.  It was cute and brought a smile to a lot of faces.

Sadly, the Expos crumbled and didn’t win the NL East. During the off-season, Langston signed with the Angels. The way the Jays are playing now, Price is excited like Langston was excited before the Expos folded like a tent.

Could Price be enticed enough to sign a new contract with the Jays before the end of the season? Not likely. The betting game says that he will test free agency in the fall and sign with the highest bidder.
 

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Danny Gallagher

Danny was born in Ted Lindsay's hometown of Renfrew, Ont. but his roots are in nearby Douglas. He played 27 consecutive seasons of top-level amateur baseball in the senior ranks in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec and thrived on organizing events himself, the major one being the highly successful 1983 Canadian senior men's tournament in Sudbury. He began covering the Montreal Expos in 1988 when he joined the Montreal Daily News. Later, he was the Expos beat writer for the Ottawa Sun and Associated Press. He has written four baseball books, including Remembering the Montreal Expos, which he co-authored with Bill Young of Hudson, Que. Gallagher and Young are currently working on a book about the ill-fated 1994 Expos squad. Gallagher can be reached here: dannogallagher@rogers.com