One of the biggest names in free agency will be David Price, coming off a short and successful run with the Toronto Blue Jays, which might lead him to signing with the Boston Red Sox, possibly intending to overspend and beat the competition to him.
Price turned 30 in August. He had a great season with the Tigers and Blue Jays, but fluttered in the playoffs in both the ALDS and ALCS, posting a 6.13 ERA in four games and three starts, giving up four home runs in the process. Still, his health and consistency over the last six years make him enough of a draw for a lot of teams to look into the possibility of signing him, and with the Red Sox hungry to win and make the playoffs again, they might be ready to splurge in order to keep him away from the competition.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Red Sox approach the Price situation. They low balled Jon Lester last season and in general, have recently been against giving starting pitchers over 30 the megadeals they’re looking for (and eventually find) because of the track record of erosion among starters in the past. However, Price, excluding the playoffs last year, has been one of the most successful and consistent starters in the American League for quite some time, and doesn’t look like someone with a medical problem or decline to worry about.
How much will it take to sign Price? When the Yankees signed C.C. Sabathia a few years ago, their offer was $60 million higher than the next best bidder. However, Lester took less money from the Cubs a year ago compared to what the Giants were offering him, feeling more comfortable with the front office and the situation in Chicago compared to the then defending World Series champions. It worked out quite well for Lester.
The Red Sox offered Lester $135 million on their last offer before getting out of the race to keep him. It’s going to take more in order to sign Price, who will be entering his ninth season in the league, coming off a 2015 in which he started 32 games for the Tigers and Blue Jays, going 18-5 with an AL best 2.45 ERA, making the All-Star game for a fifth time and finishing second in the Cy Young voting, posting a strikeout rate of 9.2 per nine innings, his second consecutive season of going over 9.