In perhaps the easiest move to predict of the entire winter, Dave Dombrowski went and bought his new team an ace. And it’s the same ace he went and bought 18 months ago, for his old team, so I think we can say with a good amount of clarity that Dombrowski likes David Price. A lot.
To lure the best free agent pitcher on the market to Boston, the team gave him the largest contract for any pitcher in baseball history: seven years, $217 million. In addition to the $31 million annual average value, Price also gets an opt-out after the third year, so the deal could be viewed as a three year, $90 million contract, with a four year, $127 million player option that Price can choose to exercise if he gets injured or sees his performance diminish. So not only does Price’s deal beat Max Scherzer’s contract from a year ago in terms of total value and not include the deferred money that Scherzer took to get that total, but he also gets the right to hit the market again and get an even larger payday in a few years if he continues to pitch at a high level over the next 600 innings.
In terms of expectations, this deal beats the crowd’s estimate by $21 million, though my 7/$215M guess ended up being pretty close, though I didn’t think he’d also get an opt-out. Steamer projects him for +5.3 WAR in 2017, so based on our normal assumptions about the free agent market, the $/WAR framework would have had him at just a hair over $240 million. If you think the opt-out is worth about $25 million, then this is almost exactly in line with an $8 million per win estimate for free agents in this market.
It’s certainly a huge commitment, but it’s a huge commitment for a great player, and Price should help get the Red Sox back to being a playoff contender. Their work certainly isn’t done after adding just one arm, but this is a big first step for the Red Sox.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.
That’s a lot of money to waste on a pitcher who can’t win in the playoffs.
David Price in the regular season: 104-56, 3.10 ERA
David Price in the postseason: 0-7, 5.27 ERA
Come October every year they will regret this signing.
Congrats Red Sux fans, your ticket prices are going up, AGAIN! Highest prices, worst ballpark, perennial losers!
04,07,13 nice talking to ya
Don’t feed the trolls.
What’s the troll response to this? Something about Boston being in last place come October? I think I have to throw in a jab at the projections liking Boston, and probably something about Dave Cameron being personally biased towards Boston. There, I have contributed to this exchange.
Price’s postseason numbers are inconsequential. After all, his team actually has to make it to the postseason for those numbers to matter, so no point worrying about it for a few years.