Red Sox ace David Price already understands his role

Feb 20, 2016; Lee County, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (left) and relief pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. (28) look on as they work out at Jet Blue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 20, 2016; Lee County, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (left) and relief pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. (28) look on as they work out at Jet Blue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Newly acquired David Price gives the Red Sox the ace they’ve desired as well as a leader in the clubhouse. He has already begun mentoring Eduardo Rodriguez.

With pitchers and catchers reporting this week, all eyes have obviously been on newly acquired ace David Price. It was a mega-deal that was agreed to this past offseason between Dave Dombrowski and the lefty starter, but it looks as though that the millions upon millions of dollars hasn’t affected Price’s work ethic early on.

USA Today posted a piece on their website in which Price discusses the need to have consistent routine from the get-go in spring training: “It’s very important to have the six or seven weeks in spring training to get out there, to throw bullpens with these guys, to throw live BP and to get into games so they can learn me a little bit more, I can learn them, we can get on the same page. That’s very key whenever you’re out there on the mound, to be on the same page with your catcher so you can get into a rhythm.”

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Fortunately for Price, he is already slightly familiar with one of the three Red Sox catchers currently in Fort Myers. Ryan Hanigan played with Price in Tampa Bay and has been working with Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart on what to expect from him. This of course is why Hanigan has a solid chance to stick around in Boston for at least the near future. However, according to Hanigan, there’s not a ton to pass on when your catching someone as talented as Price: “He’s one of those guys who knows what he wants to throw on the mound,” Hanigan said according to the USA Today post. “He’s very prepared and committed to his pitches. With a veteran guy, that takes a lot of responsibility off the catcher in terms of calling the game. He’s real confident. So for me with David, you never have to question his focus or his preparation. It’s just trying to get him into that rhythm where everything’s coming out right.”

Not only is Price working on his own stuff early on, but he’s already showing the leadership qualities the rotation lacked last season. Eduardo Rodriguez was one of the first of Price’s teammates to voice his pleasure with the huge addition over the winter, and he recently told Rob Bradford that having Price around could only help him. WEEI’s John Tomase wrote about Eduardo Rodriguez already asking advice of Price, and Price offering up some tips for the up-and-coming hurler. Price had this to say about Rodriguez: “He’s eager to learn. That’s not always the case with young guys. A lot of young guys, especially with an arm like his, they feel like they can kind of figure stuff out on their own and they like the way they’re doing things because it’s worked for them thus far. He’s come up to me every day, two and three times a day, to pick my brain about certain pitches or how to use certain pitches. That’s good to see.”

Price understands that he came into his own with the Rays with the help of seasoned veterans around him. According to the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, Price is willing to give Rodriguez as much knowledge as he can offer, has already analyzed video with him and is approaching it in a very positive and humble way – even going as far as claiming that Eduardo may be a little more “advanced” than he was at the same stage.

As for those in the media who are salivating over the possibility of some kind of inner turmoil due to past disagreements with David Ortiz, it doesn’t look like any of that will be an issue. These are two veteran competitors who need to help each other win, especially with Big Papi in the final year of his illustrious career. The Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley agrees with me as he threw cold water on the issue in a column last week. “I’m ready to be his teammate and his friend,” Price said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to. I want to be accepted by all my teammates and that’s something you need to have if you want to get to where you need to be.”

THIS! This is precisely what the Sox lacked last season. They were missing it on the field and in the clubhouse. A fierce competitor who will be taking the mound every five days and give everything he has, a leader and mentor and someone who has an overall presence that other guys can look to during the good times and especially in the bad times. It’s extremely early in the process, but the future is looking very promising for the Red Sox staff as the spring approaches.