David Price has landed with the Red Sox. Not the Toronto Blue Jays, not the Chicago Cubs or the Los Angeles Dodgers. He signed a record-setting contract with the Boston Red Sox to the tune of $217 million dollars.
For anyone who’s been following the David Price sweepstakes over the past several weeks, it’s been nothing but a giant storm of speculation related to where the lefty would eventually sign a long-term contract.
First, there were thoughts of the Blue Jays re-signing David Price; then he was all but gone to the Chicago Cubs; then the Jays suddenly emerged as contenders once again; now he’s settled in Beantown with one of the Blue Jays’ interdivisional rivals.
This is both good and bad news for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Good News
Not to play up the “good, we didn’t need him anyway” angle, but $217 million dollars is a lot of money. It’s a sizable amount for a pitcher who has pitched very well in the past and fairly well in the present, but how will David Price hold up over the next seven years?
Regardless of how good the player is, a deal of that magnitude has the potential to become an albatross contract in a hurry. And for an organization like the Blue Jays who seem to be trying to get a little leaner payroll-wise, bringing back David Price at that price point ran counter to their new organizational philosophy.
The Blue Jays have two very important decisions to make over the next 12 months in regards to Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Both players will invariably fetch a lot of money in their next contracts (whether or not it’s with the Blue Jays).
So if the Jays were to commit something in the neighbourhood of $30 million dollars annually to David Price, that may have precluded them from re-signing Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion as well.
As much as an impact that David Price had on the Blue Jays in 2015, to me, I’m more concerned about the long-term future of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion and whether they can both fit into the long-term plans of this baseball club.
Also, not to completely discount what David Price did for the Blue Jays in the regular season, but maybe the Jays didn’t exactly like what they saw from him in the postseason? After all, the Royals discovered that Price was tipping his pitches … what else might there be going on under the hood?
The Bad News
I’d say most realists surrounding the Blue Jays organization had already prepared themselves for the inevitability that David Price wasn’t coming back. It’s tough losing a front-line starter and the quality innings he provided, but the Jays had already moved on.
But then came the news that Price signed with the Boston Red Sox of all places. To me, this was the gut punch. It wasn’t so much that David Price didn’t re-sign with the Blue Jays (because that was probably a long shot anyway), but it’s the fact that he signed with one of the Jays’ division rivals.
The guy that once helped propel the Blue Jays into the playoffs and all the way through to the ALCS will now employ his services to aid the Red Sox in competing with the Blue Jays.
Not only does he make the Red Sox better (a team the Jays will be in direct competition with for the division title and potentially even a Wild Card), the Blue Jays will also likely face David Price at least five or six times during the regular season.
Let’s put it this way; David Price signing with the Red Sox is like discovering your next door neighbour got a Nintendo 64 for Christmas … with Expansion Pak, Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong 64 and Major’s Mask. I mean, you’ve still got a pretty sweet SNES, but you can’t help but be a little jealous.
I mean, David Price could’ve signed with pretty much any team other than the Red Sox or Yankees and it wouldn’t be nearly as devastating to the Blue Jays fan base. Just knowing that Price will anchor the starting rotation on a very talented Red Sox team is kind of frightening.
They may have finished dead last in the standings and looked like one of the most dysfunctional teams on the field in 2015, but I get this sense that the Red Sox are a sleeping giant. They clearly have no issue whatsoever throwing good money after bad.
And even though the Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval signings may never pan out, Boston still has an impressive core of very talented, young position players to supplement any shortcomings by their veteran players. Plus, they just added David Price and Craig Kimbrel this offseason, which makes them even more worrisome.
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