The Boston Red Sox took a page from the New York Yankees’ playbook on Tuesday, signing southpaw David Price to a seven-year, $217 million deal. Too bad the Yankees aren’t “about that life” anymore.
By Jeff Weisinger
David Price’s seven-year, $217 million deal with Boston is the richest contract ever given to a pitcher, and to his credit, it’s deservedly so.
He finished with a combined 18-5 record and a career-low and league-best 2.45 ERA with both Detroit and Toronto this year; finished second in the AL Cy Young voting to Houston’s Dallas Keuchel; and played a huge role in the Jays’ run to their first American League East title in over two decades and to the American League Championship series in 2015.
His deal includes an opt-out clause after the first three years; he will have made $90 million of the $217 million total by that point.
David Price’s annual salaries: 30, 30, 30, 31, 32, 32. 32. No deferred money in deal. Opt out after 3 yrs #redsox
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 1, 2015
The New York Yankees were never a potential suitor for the 30-year-old lefty and properly so especially at the price tag he came with — a proper move for the now budget-conscious Bombers.
Despite the Yankees not going after one of the two top-tier pitchers on the free agency board this winter – don’t count on Zach Greinke coming to the Bronx anytime, ever – they can still succeed using their current method: cheaper and younger. The Yankees will have a healthier Masahiro Tanaka (12-7, 3.51 ERA), Michael Pineda (12-10, 4.37 ERA) and Nathan Eovaldi (14-3, 4.20 ERA) in 2015 along with a more-seasoned Luis Severino (5-3, 2.89 ERA). The Yankees nearly won the AL East had it not been for Price and the surging Blue Jays. Although Price was a catalyst in that (as mentioned before), $217 million is too much of a risk to believe that he’ll do it again with another team in the AL East.
The Bombers still really need another pitcher to solidify the rotation, however they don’t need to look any further than their own rotation to learn the mistakes from the past, the same mistakes that Boston could learn first-hand with Price.
CC Sabathia finished 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA with the Yanks last year, leaving the team to enter rehab for his alcohol addiction just before their Wild Card game against Houston. Sabathia has been a shell of his former self, recording less than six wins in each of the last two seasons. CC recorded a combined 40 wins in his first two years in the Bronx, then slowly declined.
Unlike Sabathia, Price is expected to not only get the Sox back to the Postseason, but to the World Series, something that Price hasn’t had much success with. He’s just 2-7 in the Postseason with a 5.12 ERA in 14 appearances. He went 1-2 this Postseason, splitting a pair of decisions against the Rangers in the ALDS and recording a loss in two starts in the ALCS against the eventual World Series champion Royals.
Price mostly owned the Yankees last year, going 3-1 with a 4.08 ERA in five starts. He did, however, allow 13 of his 70 total runs allowed against them in 2015. The Yanks tagged Price for eight of those runs in just 2 1/3 innings in his first start against them in Detroit on April 22.
The Yankees are reportedly going after Jeff Samardzija and Wei-Yin Chen, but with Price’s deal, they could raise their demands, forcing the Yankees to possibly look within their farm to hope to improve their pitching.
The Yankees history since 2009 proves that throwing money at problems is a temporary fix. It could work in the first year, which Boston would obviously love. But with the Yankees waiting for their last big investment to finally come off of the books after next year — Mark Teixiera ($23M), Sabathia ($25M) and Alex Rodriguez ($21M) in 2017 — letting Price go isn’t a terrible move.
If there’s anything that the Yankees fan base has learned the hard way throughout the 2000’s, it’s that money doesn’t always buy championships, postseason appearances, let alone wins. Just ask the 2015 Red Sox, and the 2015 World Series champion Kansas City Royals.
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