|12.02.15 at 10:26 am ET|
ESPN baseball analyst Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Wednesday morning to explain why he supports the Red Sox‘ decision to spend a record amount of money for David Price. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Schilling said it shouldn’t matter that owner John Henry decided to open his wallet and shell out a reported $217 million over seven years for a 30-year-old left-hander.
“This is what makes it different here in the sense that when John Henry wants someone on the team, John Henry gets what he wants. … That’s one of the beauties of being a fan here now. Money is no object when it comes to putting a roster together,” Schilling said.
That said, Schilling echoed the thoughts of many in saying that the Red Sox have to expect that the last couple of years of this deal won’t be a good value.
“I don’t know how good he’s going to be or how serviceable he’s going to be [in the final years of the deal], but you don’t put $30 million onto a guy who’s 11-11 with a [4.20 ERA],” Schilling said. “And that is best-case [scenario]. Because are you fully expecting him to make 33 starts, 34 starts a year for seven consecutive years? I always look at things like this as, OK, one of these years he will not pitch. Right? So, it’s a six-year performance deal for seven years worth of money. Where does the other side of the hill, where does the downside begin — does it begin at 33, does it begin at 36?
“But here’s the thing: That doesn’t matter. Because if they go to the World Series and win, then the amount of money this organization makes off that World Series win pays for this a couple of times over.”
There also has been widespread speculation that Price will opt out of the deal after three years — reportedly an option in his contract — but Schilling doesn’t see that as likely.
Said Schilling: “I don’t think opting out is even remotely possible from the standpoint of, what are you going to do, opt out of a $30.1 million deal to get [$]32 million from somebody else? I think that after the first year he’s going to love it here. I think after the first month he’s going to love it here. Because this is baseball heaven. … There’s very few places like this. And he’s in the family now.”
|12.01.15 at 7:25 pm ET|
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Price believed he had a seven-year deal in place to join the St. Louis Cardinals, but the Red Sox upped their offer at the 11th hour to seven years and $217 million, $30 million more than St. Louis had on the table.
That swayed Price to come to Boston. Had he signed with the Cards, according to the story, the Red Sox were in negotiations with Dodgers free agent Zack Greinke, and had been given a Tuesday deadline by his representatives to reach an agreement.
Price was reportedly “enamored” with joining the Cardinals, who are closer to his hometown of Nashville, but the Red Sox offered too much money to ignore, and so he’ll stay in the American League East, where he has spent virtually his entire career.
The Red Sox clearly coveted either Price or Greinke, the top two pitchers on the market, and judging from the size of their offer to Price, it’s clear which one they preferred.
In the end, they got their man.
|12.01.15 at 5:13 pm ET|
The Red Sox have their ace.
The deal is worth $217 million over seven years and includes a three-year opt-out.
The contract is the largest ever given to a pitcher.
Price, who is 30 years old, has a career 104-56 record with a 3.09 ERA and is a five-time All-Star.
The deal was first reported by the Boston Globe.
|12.01.15 at 8:42 am ET|
“[Detroit manager] Brad Ausmus told me back when we first got him that this guy was one of the best teammates he’s ever been around,” the Blue Jays manager told WEEI.com in a recent phone conversation. “I can see what Brad was talking about.”
Price bought his teammates bathrobes and scooters. And he was the first one on the top dugout’s top step to applaud his teammates, while also offering the kind of work ethic befitting a staff’s ace.
But what about those questions that linger when it comes to justifying paying what it will take to reel in Price?
Gibbons said you shouldn’t be worried.
First, there is the anxiety some have in regards to Price’s postseason performance. As a starter in the playoffs, the lefty free agent is 0-7 (his teams have gone 0-8) with a 5.27 ERA.
As for Price’s most recent postseason run, with Gibbons’ Blue Jays, his club lost all three of his starts, with the pitcher 13 earned runs over 20 1/3 innings (5.75 ERA). (For what it’s worth, he did, however, allow just a .211 batting average against, striking out 21 and walking three.)
Still, the man who had to rely on him said such a hiccup shouldn’t be factored in when deciding on investing in Price.
“That doesn’t faze me one bit,” Gibbons said. “First off, he got us there. Without him we don’t get there. He pitched some good games for us in the playoffs. He gave up a couple of home runs and we didn’t score for him in a couple of games. But before that he was golden. That doesn’t faze me at all. I didn’t see any difference in his demeanor. Shoot, I would throw him out there any chance I got.”
Then there is pitching in Boston.
You can point to Price’s dominance in the American League East — a division he has participated in more than any starter in baseball since 2010. Or maybe you want to lean on the fact he has a 3.14 ERA over those 85 starts, going 43-20.
But there have been others who thought they knew what it was like to call Fenway Park their home because they played there a bunch as a visitor, only to understand the difference. Remember Carl Crawford? And, for Price the stops have been in Tampa Bay, Detroit and Toronto, none the baseball feeding frenzy that can be Boston.
Once again, Gibbons suggests it wouldn’t be a problem.
“He can handle anything,” he said. “As fun-loving as he is, he’s very professional and he understands who he is in the game. He understands he’s one of the top players and the responsibilities that go with that. He never backs away from an interview. He always holds himself accountable. And he’s been very successful in the American League East, so he’s played in Boston a lot, and he’s played in New York a lot. A lot of guys can’t pitch in places like that, but I would doubt that he would worry about it.
“You get some guys who are really good pitchers who kind of do their own thing and are kind of isolated. But he’s one of the boys. He’s a fun-loving guy. He’s the first one up to congratulate guys in between innings, or the starting pitcher. It’s authentic, too. He wants to fit in. He wants to be the leader of the staff, but he also just wants to fit in.”.
And in case Gibbons had any doubts about what made Price tick, it was during that much-scrutinized postseason run that the manager was truly sold on the southpaw.
“He came to me and said, ‘John, pitch me out of the bullpen.’ I was shocked,” Gibbons explained. “Here’s a guy who is going to be a free agent for the first time, sitting on a gold mine,and at the end of the year even though he’s tired and he’s telling me he would pitch out of the bullpen. I never expected that. He’s great.”
|12.01.15 at 7:29 am ET|
With the winter meetings a week away, and another Hot Stove Show airing Tuesday night, it seems like a perfect time to chat all things Red Sox offseason/baseball/anything else with WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. The fun begins at noon, so get your questions in now …
|11.30.15 at 1:44 pm ET|
The Red Sox can check another item off their offseason to-do list: right-handed hitting fourth outfielder.
According to major league sources, the Red Sox agreed to terms with 32-year-old former All-Star Chris Young on Monday, adding him to an outfield that includes starters Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts.
The deal is pending a physical. [UPDATE 9:40 a.m.: Ken Rosenthal reports the deal is two years and $13 million.]
The Red Sox expressed interest in Young at the GM Meetings earlier this month in Florida, where they met with his representatives. At the time, he was portrayed as seeking a chance to play full-time, and it’s unclear if he’ll get that opportunity in Boston.
What is clear is his success against left-handed pitching, which provided his primary appeal to the Red Sox. He hit .327 with a .927 OPS against lefties last year with the Yankees, and lifetime owns a .263 average and .837 OPS against them.
What has kept him from being a full-timer are his numbers vs. righties. He’s a lifetime .224 hitter against them, and last year managed just a .182 average against.
Young revitalized his career with New York last year, hitting .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS in 140 games, appearing at all three outfield spots. That was his best season since 2010, when he made the All-Star team with Arizona, finishing with 27 homers, 28 stolen bases and a .793 OPS.
Young has a swing that is considered tailor-made for Fenway Park. He’s a lifetime .344 hitter in 73 plate appearances here, with three homers and a 1.054 OPS.
FoxSports.com was first to report the agreement.
With Young in the fold and veteran closer Craig Kimbrel also recently acquired, the Red Sox can now turn their attention to obtaining a No. 1 starter. They’ve been linked t0 free agent prize David Price, with Dodgers All-Star Zack Greinke also a possibility.
|11.30.15 at 1:10 pm ET|
Even though the consensus is that Cueto would be a notch below the other two, that doesn’t mean he’s going to come cheap.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Cueto is looking for the kind of payday Jon Lester reeled in last offseason when he inked his six-year, $155 million deal with the Cubs.
One of the selling points for a team interested in acquiring Cueto is that he would not cost a draft pick, having not been eligible to receive a qualifying offer due to his midseason trade. According to FoxSports.com, such a dynamic was a factor for the Diamondbacks, who own the third-most valuable non-protected pick (13) in next June’s draft.
While organizational philosophies don’t always necessarily line up in terms of valuing draft picks, Arizona’s reluctance to part with No. 13 is notable considering the Red Sox own No. 12. The highest pick ever surrendered for a free agent signing since the qualifying offer system went into place was last year, when San Diego forfeited No. 13 to lock up James Shields.
(Price would not cost a team a draft pick, while Greinke would.)
Prior to joining Kansas City in July, Cueto was viewed neck-and-neck with Price as the top free agent-to-be starter. But rumors of an elbow issue, coupled with a 4-7 mark and 4.76 ERA in 13 starts with the Royals, seemingly diminished the 29-year-old’s value.
“It depends,” said Cueto on if he would sign with the Red Sox after this season. “Because I’m a free agent, and I’m just going to pick the best choice to go. The main thing ‘ I would like to come here because it’s a championship-caliber team.”
Clubs in the Johnny Cueto market believe he's looking for a $140-160M payout. That's Cole Hamels-Jon Lester territory.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 30, 2015
|11.29.15 at 8:31 pm ET|
After The Boston Globe reported Sunday that there’s “talk in the front office that Dave Dombrowski is trying to move Ramirez in a deal,” the Red Sox are making it known that a change in plans in regard to the team’s blueprint for the position isn’t changing.
On Sunday night a high-ranking team source definitively told WEEI.com in regards to Ramirez, “He is going to be our first baseman.”
While there would seem to be some potential fits for Ramirez throughout the American League as a designated hitter (the Mariners, Orioles and Angels were mentioned in the Globe article), trading the 31-year-old would be considered extremely difficult.
Ramirez hasn’t proven he can play a position on the 140-game schedule the Red Sox are mapping out for him at first base, and he’s coming off a season in which the health of both of his shoulders is still uncertain.
He is owed $22 million a year for the next three seasons, with a vesting option (based on plate appearances and health) for 2019. So even if the Red Sox ate half of his salary, it would be risky investment for the acquiring team, all things considered.
For the Red Sox, the payoff of Ramirez bouncing back and finding a one-year home at first base is considered by the team worth more than going to the ends of the Earth to orchestrate a deal shipping him out of town.
Early signs point to Ramirez taking the mandate from the Red Sox to lose weight seriously, with the first baseman posting what appears to be a somewhat revamped body on Instagram. (Click here to see Ramirez’s post.)
|11.29.15 at 12:31 pm ET|
The pool just got more shallow.
According to CBSSports.com, the Tigers have agreed to deal with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. Because Detroit has the ninth pick in June’s amateur draft (with the top 10 picks protected), it will only have to surrender its second-round selection to sign Zimmermann, who had been extended a qualifying offer by the Nationals.
According to FoxSports.com, the deal will be worth five years in the vicinity of $110 million.
The Red Sox have long had interest in the 29-year-old Zimmermann, who is coming off a 2015 season in which he went 13-10 with a 3.66 ERA. It was a downturn from the previous year, in which the righty went 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA.
With Zimmermann off the board, it leaves Price, Greinke and Johnny Cueto as the only legitimate free agent options who might be considered No. 1 starters. Other available starters include Jeff Samardzija, Mike Leake, Wei-Yin Chen, Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir.
|11.27.15 at 9:57 am ET|
“This [would be] someone guys can look up to. You would think it would be someone who would be a leader by example, in addition to the performance he puts on the field. That would go a long way in taking our rotation another step forward.”
Then you talk to former Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos — who acquired a pitcher named David Price at last season’s non-waiver trade deadline — and the mystery in regard to whom the Red Sox might be targeting gets a tad less murky.
Price is certainly the kind of top of the rotation talent Dave Dombrowski has been suggesting remains on the top of the Red Sox‘ to-do list. But, evidently, he also fits the bill when it comes to the rest of the package the Sox are prioritizing.
“You hear about how he’s a great guy, good teammate,” Anthopoulos told WEEI.com. “You hear that a lot about certain players, and it’s mostly guys who can change a clubhouse and a culture. You would think it comes from the position players side. But I remember Ryan Dempster years ago telling me at one of the Baseball Canada dinners how he was considered a great clubhouse guy. But he said, ‘Look, I pitch every five days. There’s only so much I can do.’ But David Price was one of the guys that if you talk to people in that clubhouse … We already had a good clubhouse, but he took it to a whole different level. He’s probably the best teammate I’ve ever seen. I haven’t been in the game that long, but everyone else who has been around him has said he’s the best they’ve ever seen.
“Look, he’s got front-line stuff. But he’s legitimately a great teammate. His work ethic is off the charts and he makes everybody else on the team a lot better. He brings something else more than just the two ERA and the 240 innings and everything else. He leads. He sets a great example. He’ll be a great get for any team that gets him.”
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