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With Red Sox, David Price admits, ‘I could have made a bunch of better decisions'

New Dodgers pitcher David Price loosens up Friday.
New Dodgers pitcher David Price loosens up Friday.Gregory Bull/Associated press

GLENDALE, Ariz. — David Price wanted to know where he was.

“This isn’t the back of the complex, right?” Price asked.

He looked around once more early Friday afternoon, trying to confirm his location at Camelback Ranch, the Dodgers’ spring training complex.

The tall trees inside the parking lot area even blocked the vision of the 6-foot-5-inch Price, forcing him to contort his wiry frame just so he could get a better view of his surroundings.

“No, it’s the front.” He stopped again for a moment, questioning where he was.

“Yeah, this is the front,” he finally concluded. “Where do you want to do this?”


There was a golf cart on one side, and another cart on the other, which had a longer back. It allowed Price to stretch out his long limbs, so, he plopped down on that one.

Much of the Dodgers complex had cleared out for the day. Price, meanwhile, had an appointment at 2:30 p.m. He didn’t want to leave the stadium since his appointment was close, so the 34-year-old lefthander had a few hours to spare.

The setting is unfamiliar to Price, but he’s a veteran who’s been on the move before. He’s used to the business of baseball. Now, in his new home, he had time to reflect on his previous one.

Price’s career with the Red Sox was a polarizing one. He knows that.

He came over to the Sox before the 2016 season, inking a record-setting seven-year, $217 million deal. At the time, he tied Miguel Cabrera for the richest average annual value in major league history.

“I went there to win,” Price said. “To me, that is the reason why I went to Boston. I wanted to be able to win right now. I wanted to be able to win the year after and the year after that. That was something I wanted to be a part of. I was comfortable in the American League and even more so in the American League East.”


Yet the general thought among media members and fans was that Price didn’t like Boston and never quite fit in. The belief was that he didn’t want to go to Boston, but couldn’t turn down the money former president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski put on the table.

Price said that wasn’t the case.

“I do think it was overblown,” Price said. “I didn’t feel like it mattered what I said. They’re going to make their own assessments and that’s completely fine. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t get there at 12:30. I love baseball, I love being around the field, and that didn’t change in Boston.”

Price said a player is under a microscope in Boston. He noted he could feel the difference, even in the tone of his introductory news conference in Boston. His core, in a way, was hardened from the start of his tenure with the Sox. It’s no secret that his relationship with the media, at times, soured.

“In Boston, they’re all competing against each other,” he said. “There’s a bunch of different big papers. They’re all trying to get the big story. I get that.”

Price’s career with the Sox wasn’t linear. After leading the league in games started (35) and innings (230) in 2016, he made just 11 starts in 2017 after dealing with an elbow injury. In 2018, he rebounded, compiling a 3.58 ERA in 176 innings. The Sox won the World Series and Price probably should have been named World Series MVP. In 13⅔ innings against the Dodgers, he tallied a 1.98 ERA, shining in the closeout Game 5 when he went seven innings and allowed just three hits and a run.


He defeated his biggest foe: the postseason.

Yet at his postgame news conference, Price infamously said, “I hold all the cards now and that feels so good,” which some critics viewed as an odd time to say that.

“That card was played,” Price explained. “That was the first question I was asked in my introductory press conference in Boston. It was, ‘You think you can win in the playoffs?’ That card had been held over my head for a long time — a very long time. It took a while. To go out there and do it once and then do it again. That felt good. It wasn’t anything scripted.”

As Price spoke, a FedEx truck pulled up. Music blared from the speakers, but Price didn’t lose his train of thought. A kid and his father passed by and wished Price good luck on the year. He thanked them and got right back to his conversation.

The fresh air now allows for Price to have a clear perspective. Some of the Boston criticisms, Price knows, came from his missteps.

“I could have made a bunch of better decisions,” Price said. “But that’s life. You make bad decisions, you make poor choices. You live with the consequences. Whether people could forgive you and move past that, that’s one thing. I’m human. I make mistakes.”


Price finished his four-year Boston stop with a 46-24 record and a 3.84 ERA in 98 starts. He wishes they could have won more, but winning one World Series is hard enough. He found peace in knowing that.

“I went there to win multiple World Series,” Price said. “But we won one and that experience was pretty special. I’ll always remember it. Both my kids were born in Boston. I got married while I was in Boston. It was a very significant chapter of my life.”

Price now enters a situation where he might not be looked upon to be the No. 1 guy and he can blend with the other pitchers. He is situated between Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, Price’s mentee who also attended Vanderbilt, in the spring training locker room.

“He’s one of the first guys that put that [Vanderbilt] program on the map,” Buehler said. “He was really accessible to all of us.”

Said Kershaw: “We’re excited to have him. If he’s healthy he’s a really good pitcher.”

There’s some gray in Price’s beard now. He’ll be 35 in August.

Manager Dave Roberts said his spring training workload will largely be dictated by Price. Price said his wrist is healed, and he threw his first bullpen session Saturday morning. He’s entering the twilight of his career and has just one goal in mind.


“For me, I’m going to put team success in front of my personal success,” Price said. “I want us to win a World Series. Whatever it takes to do that, I’m on board for it.”

The move has brought about a fresh perspective. He’s weighing the possibility of selling his home in Florida and moving his family out West. Video calls don’t suffice.

After nearly an hour, Price got up from the cart. He knew where he was going this time. He had an appointment to make, but first had to go back to the clubhouse to change.

“Is that David Price?” one kid yelled out from afar.

Indeed, it was.

“See, I told you,” he told his friend next to him.

By that time, though, Price was long gone. A clean slate and possibly his final act ahead of him.

Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams @globe.com.