David Price will always have a special place in the hearts of Blue Jays fans. If you include the 2015 playoffs, he was only here for three months, but they were the three months.
We all know what happened from there: the Blue Jays learned how much it would take to re-sign him, realized it was far too much for their budget given their needs, and then moved on (whether they formally offered him a contract or not is immaterial). Price signed for the Red Sox for far more than the Jays ever would have been willing to offer, and far more than any other team did offer.
His first year in Boston didn’t exactly go swimmingly. He posted his worst ERA and FIP since his rookie season in Tampa in 2009. His 4.34 first half ERA was made to look better by a 3.58 mark in the second half, but that doesn’t mean he pitched any better. The slash lines against him and wOBA were almost identical between the first half and the second, and his FIP and xFIP each got markedly worse. His strikeout rate dipped from 27.1% to 20.3%.
Then came the playoffs.
I know we all know about his struggles, and he knows about his struggles, but the numbers are really quite striking. He made just one postseason start in 2015, lasting 3.1 innings and giving up five earned runs on six hits and two walks. Since 2010 he’s pitched in 10 playoff games — nine starts and that one relief appearance in the 2015 ALDS — and his earned runs allowed have gone like this: 4, 3, 3, 7, 2, 5, 3, 5, 3, 5. That’s… not good.
And, of course, now he’s hurt. He may have avoided Tommy John surgery after a scare that was the talk of baseball last week, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still uncertainty over his immediate future and how he’s going to be able to perform this season.
So it maybe shouldn’t surprise anybody if the man we knew in Toronto as smiling, happy David Price isn’t feeling so hot on his new surroundings. Especially since, y’know, those surroundings are filled with fucking Red Sox fans and the Red Sox fans who disguise themselves as Red Sox media.
“I have a foundation, Project One Four,” he told Scott Grossfeld of the Boston Globe this week. “That’s one of the things that honestly chafed me about being in Boston — with the reporters, not one time did anybody take the time to get to know me or my foundation or anything I do away from the field.”
Uh… one of the things? One of the several things? One of the many things? At the very least we know here that he means one of the more than one things. Also: he wasn’t done.
Though I hesitate to lift too much from Grossfeld’s piece, I think the whole exchange here is pretty fascinating:
Q. So Satchel Paige always said, “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.” So why are you still looking behind you on this 0-8 (playoff record) thing?
A. It’s what’s going to be said. If I say it first, what do you have to say about me? You have nothing to say about me personally. That’s the only thing you have to say.
Q. Tell me something about you that people don’t know. Surprise me.
A. People in Boston don’t know anything about me. The only thing I have to do is pitch good. People don’t care about what I do or the type of person that I am. That doesn’t matter.
Q. It matters to me.
A. It doesn’t matter to these people in Boston. I’ve got to go out there and earn respect by pitching well. Period. That’s the only thing that’s going to turn the page for me in Boston. I’ve got to go out there and dominate. People don’t care what I do off the field.
Q. You don’t think they care if you’re a good person or not?
A. No, no chance. They don’t care. If they care, I wouldn’t have went through all that crap that I went through last year. If they cared. Period. You have to be in my shoes. If you lived it . . .
Q. What size are your shoes?
A. 13½. If you lived it and you told me they cared, OK. If you experienced it on a day-to-day basis — everything — you wouldn’t think that. They don’t care. I’m David Price the pitcher; I’m not a person.
Q. You’re David Price, the human being.
A. Oh, I appreciate that, but you’re not everybody in Boston.
There’s more even after that, but you get the picture.
Despite the author’s rather transparent attempts to steer Price away from this, he certainly gets his point across. And while you could probably replace his name with a whole lot of other athletes’ names and the city of Boston with a whole lot of other cities, including this one in some cases, it’s… y’know… pretty fucking hilarious!
Or… OK… look, I don’t want to see David Price having a shitty time. That sucks and he doesn’t deserve that. But do I want to see shitty Boston fans run a great pitcher out of their town to their own detriment because they can’t help but be shitty? Holy shit, yes!
Hey, and you know what? At the end of this season the Jays will have a couple of big holes to potentially fill in their rotation, as Marco Estrada and Francisco Liriano hit free agency…
Sure, we’re talking about damaged goods. And the two seasons at the front end of Price’s contract are much more valuable than the ones at the back, so no team should have to pay the full $157 million that at that point will remain over the last five years of his deal. And the whole playoff thing probably needs to be factored in even more at this point, seeing as it didn’t exactly go away last year. So, really, we’re talking about a rather distressed asset here! Somebody would be doing the Red Sox a favour even considering it, frankly. And yet still, if things don’t go so well again this year in Boston… I mean… I dunno…. maybe… ? *holds invisible phone to ear, mouths ‘call me’*