|What would have Red Sox done if they didn’t get David Price, Zack Greinke? Dave Dombrowski explains||01.27.16 at 12:09 pm ET|
They were going to keep spending until the free agent starter couldn’t say no. It was reminder that Cubs president Theo Epstein offered on the Hot Stove Show, saying that the Sox final offer of $217 million was “about $50 million” more than what Chicago was willing to give.
And if Price fell through, Zack Greinke would have surely gotten the same treatment, with the Red Sox undoubtedly ready to take on the six-year, $206.5 million deal the righty pitcher ultimately got from Arizona.
But what if both fell through?
The Red Sox were clearly prioritizing getting an ace, and those two were seemingly the only pair of free agents who could be classified as no-doubters in that respect. Johnny Cueto? Not the same stratosphere.
Appearing on the Saturday’s Hot Stove Show from Foxwoods, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski shed some light on the Red Sox’ plan of attack.
First off, even a portion of that money that went to Price, or potentially Greinke, wasn’t going to a high-priced position player.
“You can have your original plan, but then what based on what takes place you need to make some adjustments,” Dombrowski said. “I’m sure if we had not signed one of those two guys we still would have looked to do something with pitching, but I don’t know what may have been different at that particular time.”
But the real takeaway was that, according to Dombrowski, there was no chance that the kind of pitcher the Red Sox sought could be reeled in via the kind of trade the Sox would be willing to explore.
“I think that’s one of the advantages you have when you have some experience, and I’ve worked with a lot of the general managers … Some people can tell you that this guy is not available. Well, he might be available. You can really read his tone of voice. There are other guys who tell you that this guy is not available, and he’s not. There’s no sense in knocking your head against the wall all winter long trying to get that guy when he really is not available,” Dombrowski explained. “Now when I say that, any player in baseball is available if you want to overwhelm somebody so much you can basically get anybody. But you may get that guy in a trade, but now you have four other holes on your big league club so you really haven’t helped yourself.
“So I think in reading the trade market early, it was apparent to me to get the type of starting pitcher we needed with what we wanted to do, there was not any of them that were available that were going to come to us with prospects. It just wasn’t going to happen. So really quickly you could say that’s not the direction we’re going.
“I thought we would come back with a closer, back-end type guy through the trade market and it would be costly with players, which it was. But if you were going to get the type of guy we wanted in the starting rotation, that was going to have to come through free agency.”
Another interesting aspect of Dombrowski’s explanation regarding the Red Sox’ offseason plan was his very direct proclamation that any championhip-caliber team needs an ace to lead its starting staff.
It was about as direct of an about-face from the ownership’s previous philosophy as Dombrowski had delivered since taking over.
“To me, the No. 1 need we had was that ace at the top to go out there because I think our organization needed that type of guy,” he said. “And when you look at tradition of good clubs, championship clubs, they almost always have that type of guy. And when I also talk to people in the Red Sox organization it was apparent that when the Red Sox last won, every time they won, they had guys at the top of the rotation that can in turn take pressure off of others.
“Clay Buchholz is a fine pitcher. Now, we need to work, and he has worked hard this winter and done some different things to try and keep himself strong and healthy throughout the years. And Eduardo Rodriguez, he is in a situation where he has a chance to be a very fine pitcher. He’s already shown you those capabilities. But I think it’s a lot different when you say, ‘Well, he might slide into the third day or the fourth day, ‘ compared to, ‘Wow, we need this guy to pitch against the other club’s ace right off the bat.’ I think it puts people in a more comfortable position in an organization.”
|Why does everybody, including Commissioner Manfred, think opt-outs are bad thing?||12.18.15 at 12:24 pm ET|
It’s all the rage: opt-outs.
It’s a trend Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred evidently isn’t a fan of.
“The logic of opt-out clauses for the club escapes me,: Manfred told FOX Sports. (To read the entire article, click here.) “You make an eight-year agreement with a player. He plays well, and he opts out after three. You either pay the player again or you lose him.
“Conversely, if the player performs poorly, he doesn’t opt out and gets the benefit of the eight-year agreement. That doesn’t strike me as a very good deal. Personally, I don’t see the logic of it. But clubs do what they do.”
It is a dynamic that could be surfaced when negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement, which expires on Dec. 1, 2016.
But, while opt-outs undeniably are a good thing for the players, I don’t think it’s all that bad for the team.
Tell me if Johnny Cueto opts out after two years, and he’s pretty good but not great (which, is a very real possibility) the Giants wouldn’t be doing jumping jacks that they got two pretty good Cueto years at $48 million.
In that time you can develop pitchers to take his place, potentially targeting players who you are more comfortable riding into their 30’s then the guy who is going to cost you more than $80 million over the next four years.
Even for a guy like Price it might not be a terrible thing. He could be awesome the first two years, and then have some hiccups in the third season that makes the idea of a mid-30’s pitcher stick around at $30-million-a-year-plus for four more seasons a bit uncomfortable.
And, you know what? Even if there is that sense of doubt from the team, it probably won’t reach the level where the player doesn’t take the opportunity to make more money.
Of course, the argument you’re always going to get is that the team is going to have to replace that talent. Look at what the Dodgers are going through now with trying to solve the Greinke departure.
But in some case the three or so years allows a franchise to get their stuff together, develop top talent players they might not have had at the time of the initial signings and start turning the page.
There is obvious risk for these teams, but let’s not pretend there isn’t potential reward.
So, with all due respect to the Commissioner, I do embrace the logic of these opt-outs.
|Will David Price start new ‘Scooter Gang’ in Boston?||12.15.15 at 10:58 am ET|
“David Price is the best teammate I’ve ever been around.”
Perhaps. But, thanks to a bunch of scooters, Price has certainly defined himself as one of the most unique teammates in the big leagues.
Setting the scene …
It was Sept. 7, and the Blue Jays had just dropped an 11-4 decision to the Red Sox. Considering the pennant race Toronto was immersed it, one might expect Gibbons’ players to be trudging back toward their team bus with the expression befitting a beaten down club.
But about an hour or so after the final pitch, a wave of eight or so Blue Jays players — led by Price — could be found flying through the antiquated concourse of Fenway Park, all riding contraptions called EcoReco Scooters.
It turns out, not only was the group exiting Fenway on the electric scooters, but they formed a convoy on the streets of Boston, riding them to the park from the team hotel.
“We went from the hotel to the field. Nobody recognized us,” said Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson. “That was our posse. We were the ‘Scooter Gang.'”
This was Price’s gang.
Upon arriving in Toronto via a midseason trade, the pitcher took it upon himself to buy about eight of the environmentally-friendly scooters, handing them out to some of his new teammates. Among the group joining the club were Dioner Navarro, Chris Colabello, Kevin Pillar, Liam Hendricks, Ryan Goins, and Donaldson.
“He just got a bunch of them and we were like kids in a candy store,” Donaldson said. “They all showed up when we were playing the Yankees in New York. Then the Yankees security tried to tell us they were going to take us to jail if we rode them at the stadium. We were like, ‘We don’t need to go jail so let’s put them away.’ I’m not going to jail.
“If the park was close enough we would ride together to the park with our own little posse.”
Price had evidently first been introduced to the scooters while in Detroit, with word spreading throughout the majors about the device. It was a following that may have started with former Red Sox reliever Mark Melancon, who helped his Pirates shorten their walk from the parking garage after doing a bit of research.
Hence, Price’s connection.
The scooter can go 500 miles on a $1 of electricity, while accelerating up to 20 mph. There is some talk of the new Red Sox ace spreading the word of his newfound transportation via national television at some point. But until such a plan is formally put in place, he will have to settle for his new teammates for the next marketing tool.
“We want to develop a culture that is very different than a big corporation,” said the co-founder of the San Franscico-based scooter company, Jay Sung. “So we try and make all of our companies happy and help the world, which is what David Price has been doing.”
|Joe Kelly on Red Sox starting pitching surplus: ‘I’ll stay on my phone’||12.07.15 at 11:30 am ET|
NASHVILLE — Joe Kelly’s first reaction to the David Price signing?
“I didn’t think he was going to sign with Boston,” the Red Sox pitcher told WEEI.com by phone. “And then we signed him and thought, ‘Wow, this is pretty crazy.’ He’s been so good for so long. He’s so dominant. I was pretty stoked that we signed him. It’s another teammate who can play ‘Call of Duty’ with me.”
When it comes to the video game — which Kelly said he has played against Price “once or twice” — the Red Sox righty isn’t about to take a backseat to the new $217 million man. (“I’m probably better. Check his stats and then check mine.”)
But when it comes to the starting pitching pecking order, Kelly knows the deal. It’s Price and then everybody else. The question is now: who is going to be that everybody else?
The Red Sox have six starters (not including Henry Owens) at the moment, with the possibility that one of the group gets dealt, perhaps at some point during this week’s winter meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
“I haven’t put too much thought into it. Whatever happens is going to happen,” Kelly said on a Red Sox starting staff shake up. “I haven’t really checked up on anything. But I’ll probably start checking my phone over the next week with the Winter Meetings. That’s always a possibility. We have six guys and obviously Price isn’t going anywhere. It will be interesting to see what will happen. I’ll stay on my phone, that’s for sure.”
If the Red Sox do choose to deal one of the current starters, Kelly and Wade Miley figure to be prime candidates.
|Red Sox owner John Henry on acquiring another starter: ‘I do think there is trade potential’||12.05.15 at 3:06 pm ET|
It looks like the Red Sox are done spending on free agent pitching. But according to owner John Henry, the trade market remains very much in play.
Asked on Friday after David Price‘s introduction if he could see the Red Sox spending again on a free-agent pitcher, Henry said no. But president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski remains on the hunt for a starting upgrade.
“I do think there is trade potential,” Henry said. “We have a lot of pitching and we have a lot of talent. We’re not going to trade away our core young players, but we might be able to get a core young pitcher. Dave is exploring a lot of other things. He’s well known as someone who’s not afraid to pull the trigger. Because of these young players we’re in good shape, not just for this year, but going forward.”
Acquiring a core young pitcher without sacrificing a core young prospect won’t be easy, and presumably takes the Red Sox out of the market for a big name like Oakland’s Sonny Gray, Chicago’s Chris Sale, or Miami’s Jose Fernandez. Henry said that the Red Sox engaged teams on trade talks early in the offseason and found the costs prohibitive.
“We talked to a team about going after a No. 2 (starter), and the price was two everyday position players,” Henry said. “So it was clear to us that going the trade route was going to be expensive. We are committed to staying younger.”
With the winter meetings opening on Sunday in Nashville, one possible trade partner to watch is Cleveland. If Henry wants to add a core young pitcher who could be reasonably obtainable, 25-year-old right-hander Danny Salazar would be one possibility. The hard thrower has struck out nearly 10 batters nine innings over his career, and isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season.
|Now teammates, David Ortiz has no problems with David Price||12.03.15 at 8:36 pm ET|
That was, of course, in large part because of their well-publicized feud.
But now? In the world of big league baseball, becoming teammates have a way of changing the dynamic.
“No, you know, since that incident happened [in 2014, when Price hit Ortiz in the back], we pretty much kind of shut it down,” Ortiz said at the opening of his annual celebrity golf tournament at the Sanctuary Resort. “He’s not a bad guy. I know him from before. Things happen in the game, but that doesn’t mean that’s how you are. Our adrenaline kicks in on the field. We all have the purpose of what we want to do on the field. You make up your mind from there, but that doesn’t dictate what kind of person you are. If you go around the league, you hear a lot of people saying good things about him. I know we have our moments. Like I say, it’s time to turn the page. We’re teammates now. We’ve got to be on the same page if we want to win ball games, definitely.”
It was a sentiment that Ortiz passed on to the Red Sox decision-makers when they called the designated hitter to inform him of the organization’s pursuit of Price.
“Yeah, at some point the Red Sox asked me about and I told them I got no problem with it,” Ortiz said. “All that matters to me is winning and I know that him being on our side, we’re going to win ball games. I have no problem with that.”
Some of those seen in the early stages of the Ortiz event were former Celtic Ray Allen, former Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, former Patriot Troy Brown and former NESN sideline reporter Jenny Dell.
|David Ortiz on David Price rivalry: ‘Leave the past in the past’||12.02.15 at 12:55 pm ET|
When news broke that David Price had agreed to a seven-year deal with the Red Sox, it led to immediate concern among Red Sox Nation about how David Ortiz would react, considering the players’ rocky history over the past three years.
Ortiz alleviated those concerns Wednesday, insisting he’s ready to move on.
“No problems. All that’s in the past,” Ortiz said in an interview with radio station 102.5 FM in the Dominican Republic (via ESPN). “Now he is my partner. When a person joins your cause, you must leave the past in the past.”
In the 2013 postseason, Price objected to Ortiz taking his time to round the bases after a home run. The next time they faced each other, in May 2014 at Fenway Park, Price drilled Ortiz with a first-inning pitch. During a benches-clearing gathering later in the game — following another Sox batter (Mike Carp) being hit — Ortiz animatedly pointed and screamed at Price. After the game Ortiz referred to their dispute as “a war,” implied he would go after Price if he got hit again, and said, “I have no respect for him no more.” Price accused Ortiz of acting like he’s bigger than the game.
Ortiz now apparently is willing to forgive and forget in order to have a chance for another championship in his final season.
“That’s fine. We need pitching, and David Price is a great pitcher and has showed that for years,” Ortiz said. “I hope he will help us. It’s a marquee pitcher, and that’s what we need.”
|Curt Schilling on D&C: Red Sox might pursue Zack Greinke for 1-2 punch with David Price||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.”
|Report: David Price chose Red Sox at last minute over Cardinals; Sox nearly signed Zack Greinke||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.
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.
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