By Terry Cushman — @cushmanMLB
It’s no secret that David Price has long had disdain for the city of Boston, it’s media, and it’s fans. After being signed by Dave Dombrowski, Price said all the right things at his introductory press conference. Red Sox fans were all happy to finally have an ace, and hoped Price would thrive under his new contract with his new team. Well that didn’t happen. Price still choked in the post season, has battled several disgruntled Boston fans on social media, and as indicated in a recent interview with the Boston Globe, he isn’t lovey dovey with our media either. Price seems quite miserable in Boston, like it’s the last place he wants to be.
And then on the Red Sox side of things, it’s probably occurred to the front office they made a big mistake signing Price to a long term deal. Going back to December of 2015, if someone could look 16 months into the future and tell John Henry & Tom Werner:
- David Price would lose 5-6mph on his fastball IMMEDIATELY
- David Price would once again CHOKE in the post season.
- David Price would have elbow issues and start 2017 on the D.L
Price never would have been signed. Somewhere right now Ben Cherington is laughing his ASS off. Not only did Henry & Werner get burned, it cost them seven years, and $217,000,000. That’s an expensive way to violate your own previous principles. Every day this off season they have driven to the office realizing that their worst nightmare has possibly come true.
So ask yourself these questions: How bad would David Price like to play for another team? How bad would the Red Sox love for him to opt out at the end of 2018? What if Price REALLY does need Tommy John surgery amd they’re keeping it under wraps ? It’s hard to imagine he does NOT need it. Aside from Masahiro Tanaka, how many players have comeback for an elbow injury without surgery and dominated? I personally cannot think of any recently. The possibility Price may in fact need surgery would finally explain his drop in velocity. Until these elbow issues cropped up, nothing made sense. Now it makes perfect sense.
If the Red Sox and Price mutually agree to push surgery off until July, that would mean Price would not pitch again in 2017, and most likely 2018 as well. He will have made $91,000,000 for essentially pitching one season. Price would then be able to pitch in a drama free market without constant bombardment of the media or obnoxious fans. In turn, the Red Sox would be off the hook. Both parties would get exactly what they want, and nobody gets hurt.
When people hear of this theory, the first thing they point out is, “Price would NEVER walk away from all that money!” Actually, he probably could. The remaining balance of his contract will be $124M. Going into the 2019 season Price would be able to return to the negotiating table with a completely healthy and reconstructed elbow, having last pitched a season where he won 17 games. That’s some pretty serious leverage. More than likely Price would easily command a deal of around 4-5 years and around $100M. So we aren’t talking about a HUGE pay cut here.
Is this a long shot? At the moment it definitely is. We are still early in the season with a lot of circumstances to play out. If the Red Sox insist Price will recover without surgery, but then come July he suddenly needs surgery, the stars will then be aligned, and the wheels in people’s heads will start spinning. If Price decides he doesn’t want to pitch ever again for Boston, he definitely will not have to. A small pay cut may be well worth his peace of mind.
The ultimate worst case scenario is that Price does NOT opt out. He under performs for the next six years, and is absolutely miserable for the rest of his career. Red Sox Ownership will be stuck with the worst contract they ever gave out, and be wincing when he chokes in big games. One thing Henry & Werner will never ever do, is admit they were wrong. Six years is a long time for them to have to constantly lie to themselves about that fact. Nobody wins under this scenario. But if Price opts out, everyone wins.
Both sides have a clear and easy motive to pull this scheme off. Nothing would shock me.
“I have fun on Twitter; Boston is not going to change that. I don’t care. I’m not going to change to come here and change to please people in Boston. No chance, man.” – David Price