Although SP David Price is long past his CY Young Award winning season, his presence on and off the field is still a valuable asset to any team — even with a $96 million price tag for the next three seasons.
Accumulating a 41.6 career WAR, Price has been a dominant force on the bump since he made his MLB debut with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008. However, approaching his 35th birthday, Price is certainly on the back end of his career, as injuries and poor production had limited his innings pitched over the last three seasons with the Red Sox.
Currently with the Los Angeles Dodgers, after being acquired along with OF Mookie Betts in a blockbuster trade earlier this year, Price has yet to throw a regular season pitch for the Dodgers, but has committed to donating $1,000 to each minor leaguer not on the 40-man roster (221 players) in the Dodgers’ farm system in June, according to USA Today.
While some may worry Price has taken a step back on the mound, this action alone would make any organization want him on their roster. He is a veteran pitcher with 99.1 innings of postseason experience and, most importantly, he leads by example.
Tampa Bay Rays
As a 12-year veteran, the Dodgers will be Price’s fifth team; the previous four being the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Tigers, and Rays. The organization Price saw the most success with was the Rays, or the first seven years of his career (before being traded mid season to the Tigers in 2014). From 2009 up until he was traded, Price was the ace of the Rays rotation, earning four All-Star nominations (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014) and winning the Cy Young Award in 2012.
In his Cy Young season, Price went 20-5 in 31 games with a 2.56 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, holding opponents to a .226 batting average. He also had 205 strikeouts to 59 walks over 211 innings pitched.
Price’s 2014 season was arguably his best season of his career. Between the Rays and the Tigers, Price led the MLB in innings pitched (248.1), strikeouts (271), and games started (34). His innings pitched and strikeouts that season were also career highs, and his 34 games started is second behind his 2016 season when he started 35 games.
Although it has been six years since Price wore a Rays uniform, he is still ranked first in ERA (3.18), first in WHIP (1.14), second in complete games (10), second in innings pitched (1,143.2), second in wins (82), and third in strikeouts (1,065) among all-time Rays pitchers with at least 500 innings.
Price was acquired by the Tigers at the 2014 trade deadline in a three team trade that sent P Drew Smyly and then-INF prospect Willy Adames, along with INF Nick Franklin from the Seattle Mariners, to the Rays. With hopes of being contenders, the Tigers got the ace they needed in Price.
With no shot at the postseason, Price was sent to the Blue Jays at the 2015 deadline. As a Tiger, Price lived up the the expectations of an ace. In 32 games over two seasons, Price pitched 223.2 innings with a 3.06 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 220 strikeouts. In his one postseason appearance with the Tigers, Price pitched 8 innings, allowing 2 earned runs with 6 strikeouts and two walks. Price was handed a loss even with a quality start under his belt, and the Tigers were eventually swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2014 ALDS.
Toronto Blue Jays
Price’s stint with the Blue Jays was even shorter than with the Tigers, lasting only 11 games and 74.1 innings. However, the production Toronto received in 2015 was nothing to frown upon.
Over the course of 11 regular season games, Price was dominant, going 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 87 strikeouts, and held opponents to a .207 batting average. But Price collapsed in the postseason. Although Toronto made it to the ALCS, ultimately losing to the eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals in six games, Price struggled greatly. Over four games, three as a starter and one as a reliever, Price went 1-2 with a 6.17 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 23 strikeouts over 23.1 innings pitched.
Boston Red Sox
Finally arriving with the Red Sox in the 2014-15 offseason, Price signed his lucrative seven-year, $217 million deal, which was almost three times larger than Rick Porcello’s four-year, $82.5 million extension.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, aside from one above average season, Price’s injures have been a plague for the organization. In the first season after signing his mega contract, Price was still the workhorse he had been, even if his ERA had slightly inflated. Over 230 innings and 35 games started, Price went 17-9, had a 3.99 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and held opponents to a .258 batting average. He also had 228 strikeouts against only 50 walks.
After finishing with a 4.4 WAR and starting in a career-high 35 games, Price dealt with several left elbow injuries in 2017 that limited him to 74.2 innings pitched, being used as a starter in only 11 of his 16 appearances. The investment in Price did not pan out as planned for Boston, and although it cost Betts as well, the organization was pleased to be relived of an expensive burden, although it is reported the Red Sox will pay half of Price’s remaining salary, $48 million.
Price was no where near the player he was with the Rays, Tigers, and Blue Jays. In four seasons with Boston, Price went 46-24 and pitched 568 innings with a 3.81 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 609 strikeouts, and held opponents to a .243 batting average.
Even if Price is no longer a top 10 pitcher in the league, the Dodgers are lucky to have a dedicated, hard working, and experienced player on their roster leading the way for their young prospects to make a splash at the major league level.
Cover Photo Credit to Gregory Bull-AP
My name is Sebastian and I am a senior at Northern Arizona University. I am a double major in journalism and communication, along with a minor in German. I have been in various editorial positions and have contributed articles to The Lumberjack, NAU's student-run newspaper.