David Price and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year contract worth $217 million, according to a report by Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe on Tuesday afternoon and confirmed by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. No money will be deferred and Price is allowed to opt out after three years, per Rosenthal.
The deal exceeds the $210 million earned by Max Scherzer during the previous offseason and puts Price on par with Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera for the largest annual value in a contract, at $31 million. It ranks as the most a pitcher has ever been paid.
Price became a free agent at the end of the 2015 season after helping pitch the Blue Jays into the ALCS after being acquired ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. The move to Boston reunites him with Dave Dombrowski, who as general manager of the Tigers first acquired Price at the trade deadline in 2014 and then moved him to the Blue Jays a year later. He now serves as president of baseball operations for the Red Sox.
During an eight-year career, Price has put together a 3.09 ERA and 3.19 FIP. He's struck out 1,371 batters in 1,442 innings. Price has five All-Star appearances and a Cy Young Award under his belt. However, this past season -- his 29-year-old season -- ranks as his best, with a 2.45 ERA, 2.78 FIP, and career-best ERA+ of 161.
The knock on Price is that he's not a playoff pitcher, and the 2015 postseason did little to change that perception. He allowed 16 runs in 23 innings (three starters, one relief appearance) with the Jays for a 6.17 ERA. He has seven losses in eight postseason games started across his career and a 5.12 ERA.
This deal is the largest given out to a pitcher by the Red Sox, our Red Sox blog, Over the Monster, notes, adding:
Price brings a presence to the top of the Red Sox rotation that was sorely needed last season, and should help to solidify what looked to be an improved starting five even before his addition. He takes pressure off of Clay Buchholz and his health, Eduardo Rodriguez's sophomore campaign, and Porcello's attempt at a rebound. This is precisely the kind of deal that Dombrowski was brought on board for.
If Price can help the Red Sox win now -- during David Ortiz's final season, while Dustin Pedroia remains in his early 30s, as this first wave of youth starts to make their mark on the franchise -- then it'll all be worth whatever the end of the deal looks like next decade
Over the Monster has already done a Photoshop of Price in his new uniform, too.
The past few days have been active for the pitching market. On Monday, the Tigers announced they had signed starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann to a five-year deal worth $110 million. This does leave Zack Greinke -- Grant Brisbee's top free agent of this offseason -- who opted out of his contract with the Dodgers, still on the market. Greinke is not expected to top Price in the total value of the contract. Johnny Cueto, who reportedly turned down a $120 million offer after winning a World Series with the Royals, is also still available to teams seeking a frontline starter.
The winter meetings begin Sunday in Nashville and run through Thursday.