Call me crazy, call me delusional … but I think the Blue Jays have a real legitimate chance to re-sign David Price this offseason.
Admittedly, it’s way too early to be thinking about 2016 and beyond, but it’s a topic which has been broached by the media and fans alike; could the Toronto Blue Jays table a competitive offer to David Price and bring him back to Toronto long term?
David Price will undoubtedly have plenty of suitors lined up this offseason willing to give him a blank cheque for whatever amount he wants. The scales could very easily skip $200 million dollars and even $250 million dollars for one of the best arms in baseball in David Price.
Surprisingly, the Toronto Blue Jays could be one of those teams, to likely go along with the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers and any other big market team. They’ll all be competing for his services, but the Blue Jays just might have the upper hand.
Although the purse strings were fairly tight in 2013, the Blue Jays front office has proven that they’re willing to spend money on the right player. Russell Martin of course being the prime case, as he fetched the largest free agent contract ever signed by a Blue Jays player.
The Blue Jays aren’t in the business of spending money just for the sake of spending money, but as of late, it appears as though there’s been a culture shift towards getting value from the very best players on the market. David Price would certainly fit that description.
Sure, another team like the Yankees or Dodgers could easily surpass any potential offer put forth by the Blue Jays to David Price. But for a player of Price’s calibre at his age, it might be more about the quality of team rather than the quality of contract.
Here’s the strongest indication to me that the Blue Jays have a decent chance at bringing back David Price. And it know it might seem weird and superfluous, but here goes … it’s the scooters and the bathrobes.
It was innocent enough; David Price buys scooters for all his teammates just a few weeks after his arrival in Toronto. Then just last week, Price went and bought customized matching blue bathrobes for the entire roster.
Those were two different ways in which Price wanted to endear himself to his new teammates, and it sounds like the gestures were appreciated all around. To me, these aren’t the kinds of things that “rentals” do; this behaviour is indicative of guys who foresee themselves being with this team beyond the near future.
In reality, David Price is the one who should’ve had a scooter and custom bathrobe awaiting him in his locker on July 31st. Yet here was David Price wanting to prove his worth when he didn’t need to prove his worth to anybody on the Blue Jays roster.
During his tenure with the Blue Jays, Price has really gone out of the way to try to be “one of the guys”, which hints that he may actually be in this for the long haul.
As far as recruiting David Price to re-sign in Toronto, I think the Blue Jays have already presented their case as to why he should come back. Just look back at his very first start as a Blue Jay on Civic Monday and the unbridled passion from the fans not only that day, but every subsequent home game after.
David Price spoke at great lengths about how he was blown away by the reaction of the fans, and with six weeks under his belt as a Blue Jay, I think the team’s case is only getting better as the season progresses.
While he was fairly anonymous in Tampa Bay and was part of a better supporting cast in Detroit, David Price is a rockstar in Toronto. Ever since his arrival to the Blue Jays, he’s been regarded as a saviour for this franchise. Price is so well-liked in Toronto that he may not want to leave this environment come season’s end.
Even Alex Anthopoulos thinks the Blue Jays have a leg up on the competition now that David Price has experienced what Toronto is like as an organization and as a city.
Anthopoulos spoke to Prime Time Sports last week about the prospect of re-signing Price, and he was actually quite optimistic.
“I would think our chances have only improved since he’s been here.
I’ve been here long enough that we try to recruit players and bring them to Toronto and try to tell them what it’s like, and what the travel is like, what the team is like and what the clubhouse is like.
We don’t have to do any of that now. He knows exactly what it’s like to live in the city during the season.
What the fan base is like, what the environment is like and the support staff … he has all those questions answered. And there’s an advantage to that.
With elite players like Price, he doesn’t need more teams to be in the mix for him. It’s going to come down to where he wants to play. Just to hopefully be in the conversation because he likes where he is and he likes what he’s seen and been around, that’s a big part of it as well.
I think we’ve only helped ourselves, the fact that he’s been able to spend two to three months here.”
This is the the distinct advantage the Blue Jays have over any other potential suitor for David Price (save for Tampa Bay and Detroit); Price gets to take a two-month long test drive of the Toronto Blue Jays organization before hitting free agency.
The thing to remember here is depending on how far the Blue Jays take things this year, David Price could see himself as a pivotal figure on a very successful Blue Jays team; one that is not only built to win this year, but is also set up to be competitive in the near future as well.
Much like Robinson Cano signed long term in Seattle and the Chicago Cubs locked up Jon Lester long term, I think for players, there’s definitely an appeal of going to another team and helping establish a winning franchise. If David Price could do that in Toronto with the Blue Jays, he would be revered until no end.
From the Blue Jays’ perspective, the desire to have David Price return is very strong. Even with a healthy Marcus Stroman returning next season, the Blue Jays’ starting rotation picture looks very hazy.
Since Mark Buehrle and Marco Estrada are free agents at season’s end, take your pick from R.A. Dickey, Aaron Sanchez and Drew Hutchison. Even with Marcus Stroman, there’s quite a bit of room for improvement in the Blue Jays’ starting five.
Remember, pitchers like David Price don’t come around very often and this offseason could the Blue Jays’ rare opportunity to lock up a pitcher of his calibre to a long-term contract.
I won’t argue the pitfalls of signing long-term contracts to starting pitchers on the other side of 30. It’s a risky proposition, but as with any signing or trade, there is inherent risk; you get the production up front and eventually pay for it on the back end of the contract.
Perhaps with Mark Shapiro taking over as team president, the universally panned “five year policy” can officially finally be abolished; which in turn, can help make the Blue Jays a serious player for big name free agents like David Price.
Even at upwards of $250 million dollars, many teams would say that David Price will be worth every single penny. And the Blue Jays have already made a strong case for Price to re-sign with Toronto.
If the money is truly there for top tier free agents, the Blue Jays may have already laid the framework for a potential David Price return.
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