The Boston Red Sox continued their active offseason by going all-in on free-agent starting pitcher David Price, to a seven-year, $217 million deal on Tuesday, according to the Boston Globe.
It’s the biggest contract ever for a starting pitcher, edging out Clayton Kershaw’s $215 million deal from 2014. Price will have the option to walk away from Boston after three years.
New president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski took over a team with run-of-the-mill starting pitching in August, one of the things that led Boston to their third last place finish in four seasons. In 2015, Boston’s starters had the seventh-worst earned run average in baseball (4.39). Price went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA splitting time between Detroit and Toronto. He had the lowest ERA in the league and his 225 strikeouts were the fourth-most in baseball.
Price is no stranger to the AL East, where he spent over six seasons with Tampa Bay and the second half of 2015 with the Blue Jays. Over his eight-year career, Price is 104-56 with a 3.09 ERA with a Cy Young award, two second-place finishes and five All-Star appearances.
Dombrowski has a history with the left hander. He traded for Price in 2014 while in Detroit before flipping Price to Toronto last season but apparently Dombrowski had his eyes on reuniting with the 30-year old lefty since taking the Boston job. Last week, Hall-of-Fame columnist Peter Gammons wrote that half a dozen general managers around the league felt Price would end up in Boston. One GM speculated, “Boston will go $30-40 million above anyone else,” according to Gammons.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal serves as an attestation of Boston ownership’s faith in their new president of baseball operations.
The power of Dave Dombrowski: Red Sox didn't want to spend $100M+ on any free agents. He convinced ownership to spend $217M on David Price.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 1, 2015
The most recent move from Dombrowski comes on the heels of the Red Sox acquiring closer Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres in November. Boston gave up four prospects for the 27-year-old who saved 39 games in 43 chances in 2015. The Red Sox then agreed to a two year, $13-million deal with free-agent outfielder Chris Young pending a physical, FoxSports.com reported on Monday. Young is a career .235 hitter with 169 home runs over parts of 10 seasons with four teams.
Signing the veteran Young makes sense on multiple levels for the Red Sox, who were looking for a right-handed bat as fourth outfielder, according to ESPN’s Jim Bowden. Young is an above-average defender that can play all three outfield positions and hits has success against left-handed pitching. Against lefties, he hit .327 in 153 at-bats a season ago for the Yankees with a .397 on-base percentage. He serves as a capable, experienced alternative in an outfield with younger players like Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Dombrowski told Bowden that his three goals in the off-season were an impact closer, a right-handed fourth outfielder and a No. 1 starter. With Kimbrel and Young on board, the Red Sox turned their attention toward Price. By Dec. 1, Dombrowski has crossed off the three things at the top of his offseason check list and suddenly the Boston pitching staff looks much more dangerous at the front and back ends.