What if the Blue Jays Offered David Price an Opt-Out Clause?

Another day, another flurry of rampant reports and rumours linking David Price to the Toronto Blue Jays. It doesn’t seem like this David Price talk is going to die down any time soon. So why not add more fuel to the fire with a little bit more speculation?

The one thing that keeps coming up time and time again is David Price’s expressed desire to play with the Blue Jays and his affinity to stay in Toronto. For the Blue Jays, that’s the heavy lifting of any potential contract negotiations.

And if David Price is even remotely interested in re-signing with the Blue Jays, that’s one very positive sign.


Hammering out the contract details in term and dollars is where this thing could really come together or completely fall apart. Six, seven, eight years at $200 or $250 million dollars total? The term and total dollars are wide open … but a traditionally structured long-term contract might not be the way to go.

If David Price loves playing in Toronto as much as the media says he does, might he consider taking a different kind of deal – one that still gives him some options, but also allows him to stay with the Blue Jays for as long as he likes?

What if the Blue Jays offered David Price an opt-out clause?

In the history of 1 Blue Jays Way, opt-out clauses haven’t been handed out very often. In fact, there have only been a pair delved out by the Blue Jays since 1997: one to Roger Clemens and his rumoured “secret” opt-out clause, and one to A.J. Burnett.

A contract with a player-activated opt-out clause would be beneficial for both parties. Not only does it allow David Price to pull the chute if he chooses and hit free agency down the road, but it also keeps the Jays off the hook for any potential long-term financial commitment.

However, David Price would be doing the Blue Jays favour by agreeing to a contract with an opt-out clause. At age 30, he has much more to lose than gain in this scenario, so the Jays would need to offset that by front-loading the contract.

For a deal like that to be beneficial for David Price, he would need to be among one of the highest paid pitchers in the game in the short term. As big of a hit as it would be, I’m thinking something in the neighbourhood of $30 million annually for at least three years.

Again, this allows David Price to fetch a well-paying salary, while at the same time, it gives him the opportunity to go for another free agent contract some three, four or maybe even five years down the road.

A $30 million dollar salary hit is invariably going to be a tough sell to the front office. The Blue Jays are already on track to easily surpass $100 million dollars in salary in 2016. Adding David Price would only elevate that even further and puts them in Boston Red Sox territory.


I guess it really depends on where David Price’s priorities lie at this very moment. If his sole goal is to get as much money as possible, he’ll take as many guaranteed years for as much money this offseason.

There’s a chance (albeit an incredibly remote one) that he might sacrifice a little money down the road for a chance to win now with the Blue Jays, and return to a place where he feels like he might have some unfinished business.

Image via Stephen Dunn/Getty Images Sport

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

5 thoughts on “What if the Blue Jays Offered David Price an Opt-Out Clause?

  • November 26, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    "However, David Price would be doing the Blue Jays favour by agreeing to a contract with an opt-out clause."

    No, he wouldn't… he'd be doing himself a favor. A player will only activate an opt out clause if he feels that he'd make more money as a result and he'll simply play out the deal if can't.

    I'd be fully in favor of doing it if it'll get his name on the dotted line but let's not go off and say he'd be doing the team any favors by doing so. Hell, I say put two opt-out clauses (one after year two and another after year four) just get the "Yes".

  • November 26, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Great idea sounds like it would be good for both parties and we get our ace and Canadian fans would be happy!!!!!!!

  • November 27, 2015 at 12:08 am

    Aren't we talking $30 mil anyways if he gets $200 mil over 6 or 7 years?. And why would anyone pay this much when the 2014 Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber, is the same age, and other than win/loss had better metrics than his Cy season, and makes $10 mil through 2021? The Jays might even be able to get him, or one of his younger rotation mates, Sanchez or Carruso, who are cheaply controllable for several years. I don't agree with putting all our eggs in one basket.

    • November 27, 2015 at 1:24 am

      If they were go to a 6 or 7 year deal, it would probably be back-loaded (think Russell Martin's contract). It would likely average $30 million per season, but may be a smaller amount up front to give the Jays short-term payroll flexibility.

  • November 27, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Just as an FYI – Vernon Wells' giant contract also had an opt-out. He just decided – wisely – not to use it.

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