Examining the David Price Opt Out

The question of this offseason: Will David Price opt out of his contract? Let’s take a look!

Most fans of the Boston Red Sox know that when David Price signed in 2015 for a whopping $215 million that there was an opt out that Price could exercise if he so chooses. It almost seemed like a slam dunk that he would opt out as he was coming off of seasons where he was lights out during the regular season.

That opt out comes this offseason. The question is, will he take the out?

If one were to talk to David Price, he would tell you that he has not thought about it. John Morosi of MLB.com talked to Price about it and this is what the exchange was:

He has not thought about it and he wants to win in Boston, at least that’s what David Price is telling the media and the fans.

Since coming to Boston, David Price has had his ups and downs. Some would say that it is mostly downs and that he cannot pitch in big games. Some would say that there were signs that the lefty would start doing well in Boston. Others would say that he is in his own head and psychs himself out of big starts. If you remember, he gave up 5 home runs to the New York Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball.

Whether or not David Price is doing well or is mired in a slump, what has happened in the past to opt outs for pitchers? Do they usually take them and cash in on a bigger contract? There have not been many that have opted out, but there are 2 that stand out.


Zack Greinke: Greinke had an opt out and took that opt out in the same offseason that David Price was a free agent. He ended up leaving the Los Angeles Dodgers and headed over to the Arizona Diamondbacks to the tune of $206.5 million over the course of 6 years. He was 31 during that season and he had a phenomenal season. Greinke went 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA and threw 222.2 innings while striking out exactly 200 batters. He walked away from 3 years and $77 million on his contract and more than doubled it heading into his age 32 season. It has not exactly gone well for Greinke since leaving the Dodgers, and definitely not what the Dbacks were hoping for.

CC Sabathia: Sabathia did not technically opt out of his contract, but the Yankees ended up giving him a new contract anyways and effectively added another year and $25 million more as well as a vesting option for the same amount in 2017. The original contract had $92 million remaining over four years. Sabathia was also 31 when he signed this extension to the end of his current contract. This contract was redone in 2011. He had a 3.38 ERA while going 19-8 and throwing 237.1 innings with 230 strikeouts. Father time caught up to Sabathia and the contract quickly turned sour for the Yankees.

Interestingly, Masahiro Tanaka ended up opting in to the final 2 years of the original deal that he had signed and it was largely performance based. He ended up with a 4.74 ERA and went 13-12 over 178.1 innings while striking out 194. It was clear that in his age 28 season he was not going to be able to cash in.


Time will tell what David Price will do. Clayton Kershaw faces the same opt out in his deal for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Will Price opt out as many expect Kershaw to do?

It is tough to say, but it would be hard to believe that he would opt out. David Price would be walking away from 4 years and $127 million dollars if he left the Red Sox. He would be a 33 years old when the contract begins in 2019. It is hard to see him earning the same dollars, given that he had elbow troubles in 2017. His performance hasn’t helped him either. He has a 4.44 ERA with 100 strikeouts over 100.1 innings this year so far.

Price might not enjoy Boston, and he might decide to leave via this opt out, even for less money. It would just be mind boggling to see someone walk away from $32 million dollars a year guaranteed. The Red Sox might just be stuck with David Price, or better yet, David Price might be stuck with Boston.

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