It’s a great day for Red Sox Nation.
The Sox have wisely junked their phony, “We don’t need an ace” philosophy and signed the best free agent pitcher. Not afraid to admit they were wrong, the Sox on Tuesday agreed to a deal with 30-year-old lefthanded starter David Price on a seven-year, $217 million contact.
Nitwits and analytic overthinkers will immediately fret about how the Sox will not be getting commensurate value three, four, or five years from now.
Who cares? Seriously. Why quarrel with what the Red Sox will be paying Price if he ultimately gets hurt or falters in the final years of this contract?
The Red Sox just finished in last place for the third time in four years. Three times in four seasons, they have rendered Boston’s baseball summer meaningless by July. Emboldened by their fluky/inadvertent championship in 2013, they announced that an ace was insignificant and attempted to show the baseball world they are smarter than everybody else. They insulted Jon Lester, a proven commodity, then lost the ace lefty when the price got too high. After dumping Lester in the summer of 2014, they went 101-115 and finished last twice.
Now that arrogance has yielded to reality. Give the Sox and owner John Henry, who also owns the Globe, credit. They have admitted they were wrong and gone back to the formula that won championships here in the first place. They signed the best pitcher available.
Pitchers get hurt. There are no sure things in this game. But Price is an established stud in the American League East. He is 104-56 lifetime. He is 6-1 with a 1.95 career ERA at Fenway. He is a five-time All Star. He went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA and 225 strikeouts last year. He is somewhat better than Joe Kelly. He has won in Tampa, Detroit, and Toronto. He is lefthanded and can give you 200 innings and 34 quality starts. He is a legitimate ace in an era of Wade Miley mediocrity.
This is not your money, Red Sox fans. You are going to get gouged at the box office no matter what. You may as well have a good team to go with those prices and the privilege of sitting in Fenway. Signing Price is reminiscent of what the Red Sox did when they got Manny Ramirez and Keith Foulke. The Sox have secured the best player on the market and they have done it without giving up prospects.
Price is a different cat. He is not like Manny, Foulke, or Pablo Sandoval. He is sensitive. He made himself an enemy of Red Sox Nation when he rightfully called out David Ortiz for pimping home runs in 2014. He said Ortiz thinks he is “bigger than the game.’’ Big Papi, in turn, said he had “no respect” for Price and called Price a “little girl.’’
It will be fun watching Price and Ortiz attempt to remove themselves from this big bowl of awkward. They will say it was all overblown. They will get along great. And it will be legit. Money talks and Price and Ortiz are now united in a common cause.
Price is the real deal. Mock his postseason numbers (2-7, 5.12 ERA in 14 playoff games) if you want, but try hitting off him. He is dominant.
He is also, as we mentioned, sensitive. So be careful what you say, you tough-guy Tweeters. Price’s contract has a clause that allows him to leave after three years if he doesn’t like it here.
Think Carl Crawford was swallowed up by the Boston baseball beast? Here’s what Price told WEEI’s John Tomase last summer:
“I definitely got my fair share of hatred from this fan base as well. The amount of hatred I get from this fan base blows every other fan base away. Some of the things I get, I just know. Whenever I see something on Twitter, I know where it’s from. That’s part of it. I want no part of that. I want to be somewhere where I’m wanted by the entire fan base, not just half of it.’’
There you go, anonymous cowards. You are newly empowered. Know that when you scribble nasty things about Price on the bathroom wall of social media . . . Price is watching.
But if you are truly a Red Sox fan, you also can be comfortable in the knowledge that while you are paying the steepest prices in baseball, your front office is again operating like a big-market team. With this signing, we have more validation that Dave Dombrowski is about Winning Now.
It’s another seismic shift for the Sox front office. They saw Ben Cherington fail with his conservative style and commitment to the draft and development. So they hired Dombrowski. And Dombrowski has stamped his footprints on the basepaths at Fenway.
The Red Sox annually enjoy the adulation of a local and national media that wants them to succeed. In recent years, the Sox have been artificially inflated by pundits who overrate the Boston farm system and want the team to be good.
Now it’s legit. Since the end of their abysmal season, Dombrowski has secured the services of a very good closer (Craig Kimbrel) and the best free agent starter on the market. This makes Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts better. This makes the Red Sox legit.
Opening Day is April 4 in Cleveland. Barring unforeseen injury, David Price will be on the mound for Boston.
The Red Sox have an ace again. It should be a fun baseball summer. That’s all we ask.