Price charms as Red Sox announce 7-year deal
Contract for ace left-hander includes opt-out clause after 2018 season
BOSTON -- During his seven-year Major League career, David Price has not only built up a reputation on the field, but also off of it.
No one knows that better than Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who acquired Price in July 2014, while with the Tigers. That relationship was a huge catalyst in the team signing the left-hander to a seven-year, $217 million contract Friday.
"This is a great day for the Red Sox. When we first talked to Dave [Dombrowski] in August about improving the team, the first person he mentioned was David Price," Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said. "Not just because of his talents on the field, but what everyone in baseball knows about David. He's a leader, has an extraordinary work ethic. He'll not only be a leader for the pitching staff, but for all of us."
Price's contract was the largest ever awarded to a pitcher, just edging out the $215 million extension Clayton Kershaw signed with the Dodgers and the $210 million contract Max Scherzer signed with the Nationals. The average annual value of $31 million per season tied the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera for the largest deal in history, regardless of position. Zack Greinke's reported deal with the D-backs on Friday night is likely to eclipse that average annual value.
Lacking a No. 1 starter in 2015, the Red Sox now have Price, who led the American League with a 2.45 ERA and finished second in the American League Cy Young voting last season.
Boston also has Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Joe Kelly, Wade Miley and Eduardo Rodriguez back in the mix for 2016.
"I'm definitely a competitor and want to win. I want to be out there for nine innings. In between starts, I want to be the best teammate I can be," Price said. "I'm loud. I'm sure Red Sox players have heard me the previous years I've been in the Majors on the other side. It's real and genuine. I get to know my teammates on a personal level. I know their wives' names, their kids' names. It's something that I enjoy. It's not fake, it's real."
Price, who spent most of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays, knows the Red Sox well. He helped the Rays beat the Red Sox in the 2008 AL Championship Series with a dominant relief performance in Game 7. However, in the 2013 AL Division Series, Boston flipped the script on Price, beating him in Game 2 and winning the series in four games.
Price has had plenty of success pitching in the AL East, a division in which he is 49-21 against with a 3.15 ERA. That includes great numbers at Fenway Park, a venue where Price is 6-1 with a 1.95 ERA in 11 career regular-season starts.
"I didn't want to run away from it. That's what happens a lot. Guys leave this division because this is ... I feel like it's the toughest division in baseball -- to pitch in the AL East," Price said. "The parks make it tough as well. Hopefully I can continue to throw the baseball the way that I have."
Red Sox manager John Farrell, who has managed in the AL East for five seasons, will now see Price up close after admiring him from afar.
"I've seen an extremely talented, competitive guy across the field. That's the impression he's always given me and then when you get around him, you find out how engaging he is and it supports comments everyone around the league says about what a great person and teammate he is," Farrell said.
"When you talk about that No. 1 starter label, all eyes go to him. He leads by performance and example. It can have a trickle-down effect to every guy in our rotation."
Price's fun-loving personality shined brightly in his press conference at Fenway. When asked about his poor performance in the postseason, in which he's 0-7 with a 5.27 ERA, Price shrugged it off.
"I was just saving all my postseason wins for the Red Sox," Price said with a smile. "I know big things will happen to me in October. That just hasn't been the case thus far. That will change, and I've worked too hard. I know I can do it."
Price also believes living in Boston will be an easy transition.
"Coming to Boston, I know my way around this city. I get on a Hubway and I just start pedaling. That's something I love doing. I'll always tweet about it," Price said. "Every time I come to Boston I get my Hubway and I ride down Newbury Street and it was something I always did. I drive around the city. I get coffee. I can start drinking Dunkin'. I had some of that today.
"I'm familiar with this city and comfort comes with familiarity. For me, that's huge. I like to be comfortable, I like to be happy, and I see myself being very happy here."
While he's only been in Boston a short time, Price said he's already received a ton of high fives and handshakes from fans who are excited for the 2016 season.
"If I go out there and throw the baseball the way I'm capable of throwing, I know the expectations for all of Red Sox Nation will be met," Price said. "If I come anywhere close to meeting the expectations that I set for myself, I'm very positive that everybody else will be happy with that."