Seven Free Agent Signings That Will Impact Playoff Races in 2016

Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America

Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America

Number 3: Starting pitcher David Price

Much like the Cubs coming in and plucking Heyward from their hated rival, David Price‘s decision to sign with the Boston Red Sox will without a doubt impact positioning in the A.L. East for 2016.

Price just turned 30 in August, and was easily the top free agent on the market this winter. The Bo McKinnis client signed for seven years and $217 million in early December, making it the largest contract for a pitcher in MLB history. Clayton Kershaw signed a seven-year extension worth $215 million with the Dodgers in January 2014.

Price will receive $30 million in each season from 2016-18, $31 million in 2019, and $32 million per year from 2020-22. Price’s average annual value (AAV) of $31 million is tied with Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera for the largest AAV in MLB history.

After spending the majority of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays before being traded to the Detroit Tigers in 2014, the lefty ace was traded to another A.L. East team, the Toronto Blue Jays, at last year’s trade deadline, helping to fuel Toronto’s postseason run.

The Red Sox are coming off a disappointing 2015 campaign, and Price will hope to provide a similar impact on Boston as he did in Toronto and Tampa.

The Sox lacked an ace at the top of their rotation last season, and because of that their rotation was one of the worst in baseball in every statistical category. The addition of Price at the very least gives the Sox a number-one starter that they have been lacking since Jon Lester departed.

Price, who finished second in American League Cy Young Award balloting and led the American League with a 2.45 ERA, gives the rotation a chance to function as a serviceable unit in 2016. Price will give this team a chance to win every time he takes the mound, and will without a doubt make everybody else in the rotation better.

Whether it’s Tom Brady for the Patriots in football, or LeBron James for the Cavaliers in basketball, having a star who leads by example can have a tremendous impact on the athletes around him or her, and Price fits that description to a T.

Don’t be suprised if the Red Sox, in what is shaping up to be a extremely competitive A.L. East, go from worst to first once again just because of the addition of Price.

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