By Steve Perrault – Follow on Twitter @Steve_Perrault
One hundred and twenty-four days from right now, in what will surely be a gloomy Opening Day in Cleveland, Ohio, a new glimmer of hope for the Red Sox will emerge 60 feet and 6 inches away from home plate, in the form of one David Price.
Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox got their man, as they have reportedly signed ace hurler David Price to the most lucrative contract that a pitcher has ever agreed to in the history of baseball. A seven-year deal worth $217 million is all it took for the Red Sox to land their biggest ace since recently named Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, and he is worth every last penny. Dombrowski made it clear when he came to Boston that acquiring a big name starting pitcher was at the top of his to-do list, and now he can finally cross that chore right off of said list.
Think about the crop of starting pitchers in Major League Baseball today. How many of these pitchers, exactly, would you consider to be appointment television when they take the mound? By my estimation, you can count them on one hand. David Price is appointment television. He was must-see material with the Rays, the Tigers, and the Blue Jays, and will certainly be must-see material with the Red Sox as well. Just like with Pedro Martinez, Price will make Boston fans schedule that one or two days a week solely around those few entertaining hours in which the five-time all-star takes the hill. This caliber of pitcher – the durable, intimidating, I’ll throw at you if you cross me in any way-shape-or-form caliber of pitcher – simply does not grow on trees. These are the guys that you break the bank for, and that’s exactly what the Red Sox just did.
Anyone who is upset with the amount of money that the Red Sox just sent Price’s way needs to get with the program. The old saying “You get what you pay for,” is never more true than when discussing free agent signings in the offseason. You can’t complain for six months of the year that the Red Sox need a powerful, ace-like pitcher and then also be upset when they go out and land that EXACT pitcher for the price that he was fetching on the free agent market.
In 2014 the Dodgers knew they had to keep their ace, and the best pitcher in baseball this decade, so they inked Clayton Kershaw to a seven-year deal worth $215 million. Then, last offseason the Nationals wanted to make a big free agent splash to vastly improve their starting rotation, so they signed Max Scherzer to a seven-year deal as well, this one worth $210 million. It’s also important to factor in that Price has an opt-out clause after the 2018 season, so he will have all the reason in the world to be a motivated pitcher over the course of the next three years. It’s very clear that if you want to land a top-of-the-line free agent ace, you gotta pony up. So you can save your complaining about big free agent contracts.
David Price was made for Boston sports fans. He’s gritty, plays with a chip on his shoulder, and just wants to win. These reasons specifically are why his past feuds with David Ortiz will forever stay in the past. All Papi and Price want to do is win, so you can expect them to be all buddy-buddy in the next few days as Price is introduced to the Red Sox.
Price clearly has what it takes to compete in the American League East as well. The former Cy Young Award winner has an all-time record of 49-12 against A.L. East opponents, including a 6-1 record with a 1.95 ERA at Fenway Park. In fact, since his debut in 2008, no pitcher has a lower ERA than David Price at Fenway Park (minimum of 10 starts). Jake Peavy has the next best ERA in that span at 3.47. It’s safe to say Price turns Fenway into a pitchers park on every fifth day of the week.
One can’t discuss Price’s resume without delving into his 2-7 career postseason record. I understand on the surface this seems like a red flag, but for a Red Sox team that has missed the playoffs four of the last five seasons, can we just focus on getting into the playoffs first?! Many people forget that Randy Johnson had a stretch of seven straight playoff losses, and it’s safe to say that The Big Unit would tell you he ended up being just fine – as he polishes off his Hall of Fame plaque from this past July.
At the very least, we can all be ecstatic about not having to go through another spring training of Clay Buchholz passing around the “I’m the Ace” shirts to whoever qualified as a pitcher on the Red Sox. We all know that there’s a new sheriff in town now in David Price, and he’s here for one thing only – to bring another World Series championship back to Boston.
Let the games begin.