It made sense in paper. The Red Sox staff needed an Ace, and David Price was available.
Yet, the Boston-Price dynamic has become a side show over the last two years, where his off field tirades outnumber the totality of gutty performances the lefty has delivered since signing. There is hope, however.
As David preps to begin his third year with the Sox, it’s imperative to point out his player option that is to be exercised next offseason. If Price has a great year, he can justify declining the option, and galavant off to his destination of choice, knowing teams will still be interesting in his services. But what if he has seasons like he did in ’16, where he was a shade under a 4.00 earned run average, or ’17 where he smattered 11 starts across 6 months? He won’t be attractive as a starter in the free agent market, and would be leaving $125M on the table if he were to decline the contract option; that leaves Boston contractually obligated to the 6’5″ thorn in their side through 2022. But with a new coaching staff in place, and a player friendly manager, will we we see a shift in Price’s discourse? He pitched his best baseball under Joe Maddon, after all.
This means that while Price is left with a resolution, us as fans are too. Where will we stand if the Red Sox pitcher has a Cy Young caliber season? It may result in a full 180°, as a solid season on the mound would have the fan base no longer clambering for his departure, but instead feeling his dominance is crucial to the team’s forward success. Also, in the not-so far fetched scenario where Price is once again lackluster, the negativity should be enough to decline the option, driving himself out of town.
The Red Sox showed last season they can be successful without Price appearing in games, or in the media. If he wants to be a contributing piece, he can be, and the town will move on from his past charades. But it’ll be interesting to see what kind of 2018 he puts out, knowing the impact it’ll have on his paychecks in the back end of his career.