The Boston Red Sox have been criticized over the past few years for overpaying the wrong guys (Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Rick Porcello) and lowballing the right ones (Jon Lester). In most cases, being overpaid creates immense pressure which is near impossible to deal with in a huge market like Boston.
But the Sox have never spent quite this much on one player: 7 years at $217 million to David Price.
That’s a lot for anybody to live up to, and even averaging 16 wins per year for all 7 of those years doesn’t necessarily mean he will be worth it.
But with Price’s track record in the regular season and the progress he’s already made thus far, there is no reason to doubt his ability to carry the struggling starting rotation — the main goal they would like him to accomplish.
When you look at his regular season stats, there’s a lot to love.
- He won the American League Cy Young Award in 2012. He also came in second for it last year and in 2010.
- In his 7 years as a starter, he’s gotten 15+ wins in a season four different times.
- He had his second best season in 2015, going 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA: the lowest ERA he’s ever had.
- When pitching in Fenway Park, he’s held opposing batters to a .186 batting average.
- Since 2010, he’s had five seasons in which he’s pitched 200+ innings.
- 5 career All Star Appearances
The big question mark that has fueled the “David Doubters” is his failure to pitch well in the postseason. He’s 2-7 with a 5.12 ERA. His postseason numbers shouldn’t be a factor yet. The Red Sox need to focus on actually making the postseason first, then they can worry about October.
Getting there is the most important thing, and Price has consistently shown he can do that: he helped lead the Toronto Blue Jays to the Postseason last year, the Detroit Tigers the year before, and the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010, 2011, and 2013.
No pitcher can go out every fifth day and be worth $217 million no matter how well they perform. But its the off-the-field contributions that will make Price fully worth the money.
The Red Sox have three young lefty starting pitchers that show tremendous potential in Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens, and Brian Johnson. Price will be able to relate to them as a lefty, and mentor them through video sessions and his personal work ethic. If all three achieve even half of what Price has, the Red Sox will have a set rotation for years to come.
This does not mean that Price can’t help Porcello or Joe Kelly. A veteran voice will be useful to everyone in the rotation.
His work ethic alone could change the makeup of the entire starting rotation. In his latest workout, which was just yesterday, Price impressed in the simulated game he threw. He pitched two innings with 38 pitches. In total, he faced 11 batters, allowing two hits with one walk and two strikeouts. The opposing lineup consisted of everyday big leaguers such as Sandoval, Ryan Hanigan, Chris Young and Rusney Castillo.
Price was very happy with his performance.
Here is David Price pitching pic.twitter.com/tU9Y198QiO
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) March 5, 2016
“It was the first time I’ve thrown, sat down, got back up, and thrown again. Everything felt good,” Price exclaimed. “I was working on fastball command and making sure everything was going in the right direction and under control.”
Price is a great addition to the team, and the rotation, and there’s a good chance he lives up to the money too.