Last fall I got the opportunity to ask David Price a question via teleconference shortly after he signed his seven-year $217 million contract. Price hesitated after I asked him “What’s a question about your career that one’s asked you that you wish someone would ask?” before he talked about the questions he gets from coaches and teammates alike when he’s on the mound, and how everything he does gets put under a microscope. “I know what kind of pitcher I was from 2008-2011,” he added, “past three seasons I’ve made a lot of strides to take it to where I want to be and I have a ways to go.”
Simple, humble, and constructive.
There’s no doubt that Price will be under a lot of pressure this year, especially if the Red Sox make it to the post-season. A quick glance at his post-season record shows a less-than-stellar record (2-7 with a 5.12 ERA). But it’s hard to blame him for his poor post-season performance, especially if you take a good look at some of his more recent games. In Game 2 of the 2015 ALCS, Price, then with Toronto, held Kansas City scoreless until the seventh inning when shortstop Ryan Goins fumbled a routine pop-up, igniting a rally that ended in a 6-3 Royals win. In Game 3 of the 2014 ALDS vs. Baltimore, Price pitched 6 scoreless innings before giving up a 2-run home run to Nelson Cruz. That wasn’t poor pitching as much as Detroit failed to produce the offense Price needed to win. And while he did give up a home run to David Ortiz in Game 2 of the 2013 ALDS in Boston, having his former adversary-turned-teammate at his side can now only be a boon to Price. But if the Red Sox can get it together season, Price will have an easier time avoiding anymore post-season blunders.
Will This Be the Best Year Ever for David Price?
The 5x All-Star, 2012 AL wins leader, 2014 strikeout leader, and 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner will have a well-seasoned team behind him this season with some wondering if this could be Price’s best year yet (It better be given how much he’s getting paid). If Ortiz comes close to matching last season’s numbers, Boegarts continues to hit well, and Pedroia stays healthy, Price will have the offensive support he’ll need for a 20-win season. Price can also count on seeing a lot of hits die in the gloves of defensive prodigies Xander Boegarts, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr.
I see David Price’s addition to the Red Sox as the missing piece of a puzzle that could very well make them into a semblance of the team we saw in 2004, 2007, and 2013. Even more so, the Red Sox Nation will have a man who’s worked hard to learn from his past mistakes, knows what he wants to accomplish this season, and recognizes that it’s going to take a lot of hard work to make that happen. If the Red Sox as a whole can keep themselves from sliding into an abyss of self-pity and remorse that fans saw all too often last season, if they can make fire out of the sparks that we hope to see this season, then we’ll see a team on fire, a blaze that can only be extinguished by the spraying champagne that will come after winning another World Series.