The Red Sox made former Cy Young award winner David Price the highest paid pitcher in the history of baseball on Tuesday.
Price will be paid $217 million over seven years. A pitcher with an 0-7 postseason record as a starter will make close to $85,000 per day, if he doesn’t exercise his third-year opt out.
That sounds absolutely terrifying, but was ultimately the move the Red Sox needed to make.
The Red Sox can worry about Price’s postseason clutchness but they have to get there first.
Boston hasn’t been close to playoff contention the past two years. Last year, Boston’s starting pitcher ranked 24th in the MLB with a 4.39 ERA. Price ranked fourth among starting pitchers last year with a 2.45 ERA. He’s also been extremely durable, taking the ball an average of 30 times per season since 2009. He’s had 31 starts in the last two seasons where he’s thrown over 100 pitches.
As much as former General Manager Ben Cherington desired it, Boston was without an ace last year and it killed them. Dave Dombrowski just got one of the best ones in baseball and fans are complaining?
To compete for a championship you first have to get to the playoffs and having Price on the mound every five games will dramatically increase those odds.
Besides, Price’s lack of clutch has been overstated.
Over the last two years, in the months of September and October, Price has an 8-1 record in 10 starts and a 2.55 ERA in 60 innings pitched.
Red Sox fans should also remember Price coming out of the bullpen during Game Seven of the 2008 ALCS to send the Rays to the World Series.
As a reliever, Price picked up the four out save to end Tampa Bay to the World Series when all the pressure was on.
If that’s not clutch I don’t know what is.
Price will also be staying in a division that the left-hander has dominated. He’s never taken a loss at a game in Baltimore and he has an 8-2 record in 15 starts at Yankee Stadium.
He’s been equally good at Fenway, holding the sox to a .186 batting average as a member of the opposition. Now, the Sox have that on their side.
Overall, Price has a .334 career average against the opponents that see him the most.
The Sox haven’t had an ace since alienating Jon Lester.
There will certainly be negatives to this contract.
Pitchers don’t get better as they enter their mid 30’s and Boston will be paying a small fortune for Price if he doesn’t exercise his opt-out.
But the Red Sox needed an ace. They got one. They got maybe the best ones for at least the next couple years. They’re already a vastly better team than last year and it’s barely December.
Winning comes at a heavy cost, but if David Price wins a World Series in a Red Sox uniform it will all be worth it.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.