Red Sox: David Price isn’t eyeing opt-out
Boston Red Sox ace David Price can opt-out of the $217 million deal he signed after three years, but he’s not intending to.
He hasn’t even thrown his first regular season pitch in a Boston Red Sox uniform, yet David Price is already being asked if he has any intention of bolting back into free agency again.
The Red Sox signed Price to a 7-year, $217 million deal that makes him one of the game’s richest pitchers, but the contract comes with a catch. As an added incentive bonus, the deal includes an opt-out clause after three years that would allow Price to hit the open market again at the age of 33.
So does that essentially mean that Price is working on a three-year deal?
"“That’s not the way I view it,” Price told WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “I’m a glass-half-full guy.”"
Even if the option to leave after three years is on the table, Price isn’t thinking about going anywhere else. He’s hoping to finish out his full seven years in Boston before determining whether or not to call it a career.
The opt-out clause is a bargaining chip that has become common around Major League Baseball. A few of the most lucrative deals handed out this winter came with an opt-out, including ones given to Johnny Cueto, Jason Heyward and Yoenis Cespedes. The Los Angeles Dodgers felt the downside teams face in giving players the chance to opt out when Zack Greinke spurned them to sign a new deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, tacking on an extra three-years and an additional $135 million to what he would have made under the terms of his original deal.
If the richest team in baseball can’t hang on to their ace after he opts out early, are the Red Sox in danger of suffering the same fate three years from now? It’s possible, but Price didn’t come here with the intention of it being only for the short term. In fact, he didn’t even ask for the clause to be included in his contract.
"“I think that’s just kind of the new way to do things these days,” said Price. “It’s been the trend over the past couple of years. I don’t even think I knew about it. I didn’t ask all the specifics when [agent] Bo [McInnis] had told me we had reached an agreement. This is how it goes.”"
Price went on to explain how the Red Sox won him over when they visited him in Nashville. They made him feel at home and convinced him that Boston is where he should be. He wants to be here and isn’t looking for an exit.
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If Price puts together three excellent seasons then he’ll earn the right to cash in on a more lucrative deal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll want to leave Boston. At least as long as the Red Sox are willing to pay up. While Greinke is the most recent example of a player bolting for greener pastures after exercising his opt-out clause, we’ve seen previous examples of players that stayed put after agreeing to a new deal. The New York Yankees have two such examples in Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia.
Granted the Yankees would end up regretting those decisions, as they are now saddled with a pair of albatross contracts due to their decision to hand new long-term deals to declining players. Which suggests that the opt-out clause could be a blessing in disguise for the Red Sox. They will have Price for at least three years when he is still in the prime of his career. If he does opt out then perhaps Boston will end up doing what the Dodgers did with Greinke, letting him walk so that another franchise can worry about paying for the tail end of his career when players are bound to regress.
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The future may be cloudy, but for now we should simply appreciate having one of the game’s top pitchers leading the rotation in 2016. A lot can happen in three years that can shape the decisions made on both sides. Until then, let’s not worry about whether or not Price intends to hit the free agent market again in 2018. He’s certainly not thinking about it right now.