David Price is the most talked about free agent during this offseason in the MLB, and no team has stated publicly how much they want him more than the Boston Red Sox. According to one report, the Red Sox are willing to pay $30 to $40 million more than any other team.
Is Price worth something like that? Honestly, the proposed number is likely to be $100 million or more. He’s likely to be seeking a contract of at least five years, and at age 30, he’s probably going to find it. He could even squeak out eight years in the right setting. Price had a wins above replacement number of 5.9 last year, and because it was spread out over two teams, he probably would have done even better if left in a more stable situation. If the Red Sox had won 5 more games last season, which could have been theoretically obtained by picking up Price, they would have had a record of 83-79. It still wouldn’t have gotten them into the postseason, but it would have put them in third place in the division, rather than last. They would have finished three games behind the New York Yankees, and being that close might have given them the drive to be even closer and push harder in the last several weeks of the season. Either way, the extra expenditure would have made Boston a contender, so yes, Price is worth it.
Price, as a starting pitcher, has been a top contributor in terms of daily fantasy baseball points over the last few seasons. However, the instability in his team situation seems to have hurt him a bit. He started with the Detroit Tigers where he didn’t get the kind of attention that he deserved since he wasn’t the top pitcher there. Then, he bounced to the Toronto Blue Jays. He got a lot of press there, and helped bring them to the postseason. But it seems unlikely that he’s going to stay in Canada, especially when other teams, Boston being one of them, are more than willing to pay a higher salary. It seems pretty certain that he’s going somewhere, but exactly where he’s going is far from decided.
On the other hand, Boston is probably the highest profile team that would benefit greatly from adding Price. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2013, but have struggled a lot since then. From that team starters Jon Lester and John Lackey have left, reliever Koji Uehara has struggled and hasn’t played since the beginning of August, and current number one starter Clay Buchholz has been extremely inconsistent. The Red Sox need a new franchise pitcher to replace the holes in their rotation, and Price could be the man to build a new rotation around. And with David Ortiz planning on retiring at the end of next season, there will be extra salary dollars opening up in the future. This could be a great move by Boston, even if they do overpay to acquire Price. In the end, the money is worth it if it wins games and brings in new fans and a trip to the postseason.
There are other teams that would benefit by picking up Price, of course. Many of these teams have the potential to outbid the Red Sox, including the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers. If you’re like many true MLB fans, though, watching what happens in this area is almost as exciting as watching regular season games. Seeing top teams competing to sign top talent is always exciting, and when a big name like David Price is on the market, seeing how the offseason unfolds is an interesting development.