Sep 11, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher David Price (14) pitches against the New York Yankees during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
2) Do they “fit” in Boston?
The ace is more than just the best hurler on the staff, they are the face of the franchise, the foundation upon which the rotation is built for years, the seller of much merchandise. When things are going bad the ace suffers much scrutiny, when things are going good the very same. Everything is under a microscope and the win button is permanently pushed. The pressure is enormous.
Bottom line, to be top of the rotation you need to fit at Fenway. I could see this becoming a potential stumbling block for some of the top choices available.
David Price has a somewhat strained history with the Red Sox and certainly with David Ortiz. A rivalry blossomed with one Big Papi bat flat in 2012 that resulted in Price plunking Ortiz and Mike Carp on May 30, 2014. Price so infrequently hits batters with pitches that its chance of being accidental has the same percentage as the number of batters you and I plunked this year.
Speaking on Red Sox Hot Stove chat, WEEI’s Rob Bradford said the following:
"“I like Price. I think his delivery translates into a healthy 30’s. But I have a hard time believing he will make his home here.”"
Bradford also quotes from a rather awkward interview earlier in the year between Price and colleague at WEEI John Tomase. Nothing seemingly ruled out, but I concur with Bradford that it’s difficult imagining Price taking the mound in Boston, which could be thousands of miles outside his comfort zone.
Then there’s Greinke, whose stunning 1.66 ERA and reliever-beating 0.84 WHIP are the best in baseball. He’s just fresh off of a regular season with 19 wins, 3 losses and an amazing 222 innings pitched. Greinke would and should, you’d imagine, be at the top of the list to be the top of his rotation. Not so, as the Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber writes, Greinke nearly quit baseball in 2006 after being diagnosed with social anxiety disorder on top of clinical depression.
Greinke “definitely wouldn’t want any more stress or additional media attention,” one source close to the pitcher told Lauber.
Well, that’s that then. See, the media in Boston isn’t exactly unknown for scrutiny, exhibit A – Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval was answering nature’s call on the great white telephone during a game, meanwhile using his actual telephone to show approval of photos on Instagram. Just such an event caused a media fury and ended, somewhat ironically, with him doing a lot more sitting as he was benched for the Red Sox next game. This time, without the phone of course.
Greinke would perhaps struggle with the pressure of being the sole leader in Boston. Ultimately the situation in his current club, the LA Dodgers, is more comfortable for him as he is able to sit behind Clayton Kershaw and avoid the stresses of being the sole No. 1 starter.
In the end, I expect that Dombrowski will chase both Price and Greinke to the limits. Both are among the best pitchers in baseball today and are so obviously the best choices available that it would be folly not to try. Just don’t be too surprised if you don’t see them wearing a B cap next year for reasons other than money.
Next: John Henry