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5 reasons teams want to sign David Price

It's no secret that David Price is in line for a hefty contract this offseason.

Not only is Price arguably the best free-agent pitcher on the market, but he is one of the best starting pitchers in the game, period. There is plenty of evidence to support such a claim, which will be laid out in this latest installment of a series breaking down five key stats for some of this year's premier free agents.

Here's a closer look at five statistics that might help indicate what Price's 2016 team might be able to expect from the southpaw.

Strive for five
The magic number for a victory with Price on the mound seems to be five. Price is 68-1 over his career when his team gives him five or more runs of support while he's the pitcher of record, and that includes a 26-0 mark over the past three seasons. His only loss when receiving five or more runs came as a member of the Rays on Aug. 27, 2012, against the Rangers. Though the Rays provided him with five runs before he departed, Price was tagged for six runs on 10 hits over four-plus innings in an eventual 6-5 loss.

Castrovince: Red Sox must sign Price

Central dominance
No current Major League pitcher has performed as well against American League Central clubs as Price. The southpaw has racked up a 2.45 ERA in 55 career outings against AL Central foes, which is the best ERA among all active pitchers with at least 25 starts against the division. As a heads up for the White Sox, Price has performed especially well against the Twins (9-3, 2.12 ERA), Indians (9-2, 2.19), Royals (2-0, 1.93) and Tigers (5-1, 2.40 ERA). That said, he's also 5-5 with a respectable 3.30 ERA in 13 starts against the White Sox.

Hot Stove Tracker

Racking up Ks
Price tallied a Major League-high 271 strikeouts in 2014, then followed it up by striking out another 225 batters this past season. His 496 strikeouts over the past two seasons are the fourth-most during that span, behind only Clayton Kershaw (540), Max Scherzer (528) and Corey Kluber (514). Price and Kershaw are also the only two pitchers to top 200 strikeouts in at least four of the past five seasons.

Run prevention
Price's 2.45 ERA last season was not only the best in the AL, but also the lowest by a pitcher who played for multiple teams in the same season since John Tudor in 1988. Tudor, who finished the '88 campaign with a 2.32 ERA, pitched his first 21 games for the Cardinals before being traded to the Dodgers for his final nine starts. The team that ultimately signs Price seemingly shouldn't be worried about any type of adjustment period, as the lefty has now finished in the top six in the AL Cy Young Award voting in consecutive seasons despite pitching for multiple teams each year.

Paying for a workhorse
Though some may wonder about the toll it has taken on his arm, no pitcher has worked more innings over the past two regular seasons than Price. The 30-year-old hurler tossed a combined 220 1/3 innings this year after pitching 248 1/3 frames in 2014. That total of 468 2/3 is easily the most in the Majors, well ahead of Madison Bumgarner's 435 2/3 innings. That's a result of not only staying healthy, but also consistently working deep into ballgames. Price has completed at least seven innings in a Major League-best 45 of his 66 starts over the past two years. He's finished at least eight innings in 26 of those outings, also the most in the Majors.

Paul Casella is a reporter for
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