Boston Red Sox: All in on David Price


The Boston Red Sox are willing to go the distance to obtain pitching ace David Price

Now that’s more like it. No sooner had I completed and published an article about how the Boston Red Sox aren’t discounting any aces this offseason, that it comes to light that they could very well be gunning for the cream of the crop. Admittedly I picked a picture of David Price to headline the article, but at the time it was more wishful thinking. Yet here we are.

Yesterday evening was a wild ride, more typical of hot stove rumors than we’ve been seeing since the Craig Kimbrel trade, but it all started with Sports Illustrated writer and Fox commentator Tom Verducci talking on the MLB Network. As reported by

"“David Price is going to break the bank,” Verducci said during a segment with Chris Russo on High Heat. “There’s no doubt about it. I think his landing spot is going to be Boston.”"

If that doesn’t give you thrills you’re either not familiar with Price, or, you are a Twins fan and aren’t used to feeling excitement. Assuming it’s the former, a little introduction to the man behind the hype may be in order. Price is a 30-year old left-handed pitcher and former Cy Young winner who has bounced around 3 clubs in the last 2 years, most recently spending the latter half of 2015 with the Toronto Blue Jays. Indeed, Price’s arrival was the catalyst for the Blue Jays to go on a tear, win the division and ultimately finish better than they have done since 1993.

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Price is a fastball pitcher. His weapon of choice, the 4 seamer, is probably the best in the business. It sits at 94-95 MPH which is nice, but his control of it is unrivaled, pounding every corner of the strike zone. And strikes there are aplenty. His K/9 in 2015 was a exhilarating 9.19 which helped contribute towards his stingy 2.45 ERA. With 18 wins and only 5 losses to his name on the year, Price was worth 6.4 WAR, which is more than the entire Red Sox pitching staff, including the bullpen, combined. With all that behind him, Price now a free agent, is expected to cash in. Nobody believes for a second he will get any less than $200 million spread out over 6 or 7 years, but it could be even more. That would put him in the payroll league of aces like

Clayton Kershaw


Max Scherzer

, i.e., the best pitchers in the world.

So to see that Red Sox President of Baseball Ops Dave Dombrowski is fully behind acquiring Price, a player he traded for when he was GM of the Detroit Tigers, may not be surprising, but it’s certainly reassuring.

Even so, didn’t we previously discuss the unlikelyhood of Price landing in Boston? For a start, Price has had a strained relationship with the club in his career and in particular when he was with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 2013, Price’s decision to plunk both David Ortiz and Mike Carp caused the benches to empty, Boston’s management to be ejected and a war of words between Ortiz and Price that continued long after. Then we learned that Price’s personal choice would be to play in the pitcher-friendly National League (because, of course it is) and he would rather enjoy teaming up with the Chicago Cubs.

What changed? Well, as Verducci notes, while all the above may be true, Dombrowski’s determination and Red Sox Principle Owner John Henry’s deep pockets, have a louder voice:

"“The [Red Sox] are completely all-in,” Verducci said. “They brought in Dombrowski, not to have some five-year plan but to win the World Series. They made a bit of an overpay to get Craig Kimbrel…Dombrowski wants to turn this thing around in three months, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Boston be one of the most aggressive teams.”"

Verducci, it must be said, isn’t the only baseball “insider” to predict Price heading to Boston. Indeed, he wasn’t the only one to make such a connection last night. Fox Sports Commentator Ken Rosenthal, also speaking on MLB Network, mentioned that not only are the Red Sox in on Price but Zack Greinke as well! I think I need to lie down for a bit.

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Ah but this is the hot stove after all and, as it is wont to do, it wasn’t long until further rumors revealed that, contrary to everything you may have heard up until now, Price really wants to stay with the Blue Jays. Something about enjoying the fan fervor provided by representing an entire nation. That’s nice, but is it Price? I don’t know.

And that’s the rub, it’s all so speculative and there’s so many variables out there that it’s impossible to take a rumor as a confirmation of anything. The only hard fact is that Price is a free agent and will sign somewhere. Until now it’s been assumed that Price, like anybody really, will go where he gets offered the most cash, but it’s equally possible he may pick comfort, familiarity and a hero’s welcome over a minimal markup. Though even beyond that, would Blue Jays owners, The Rodgers Group, actually cough up the money required? It seems unlikely and would go against the grain of their previous free agent dealings, but, given Price’s popularity, they might.

On the other hand, at some point comfort only really holds a player back. Rosenthal speculated previously that, even despite Price’s outright desire to jump on the Cubs’ world series bandwagon, an extra $30 million would have him at Fenway faster than you can say “Ortiz and I are friends again”. And why wouldn’t it? It’s worth noting that WEEI’s Rob Bradford was quick to refute the claim that Toronto were even interested in bringing back Price but, with so many contradictory messages running around, it’s difficult to know what to believe.

In the end, the only thing we can take away from this is perhaps the most important thing – Dombrowski means business. Chasing such a high profile pitcher, guaranteed to land a mammoth contract, never would have happened under previous Red Sox GM Ben Cherrington. Clearly Dombrowski is determined not to repeat the mistakes of his predecessor that saw Boston languish in the basement two years on the trot.

Next: Red Sox Hall of Fame debate - David Ortiz

My feeling is this is just the beginning, but take note Red Sox Nation, Dombrowski isn’t playing games and there’s too much smoke for it not to be the hot stove burning wildly. With Kimbrel already in the bag, don’t bet on Dombrowski letting the offseason pass without getting his ace. And don’t bet on it not being Price.