David Price wasn’t satisfied with his first season in a Red Sox uniform, telling Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that “last year was the first time in my career I didn’t have fun when I was on the field.” Price’s 2016 season (3.99 ERA, 8.9 K/9, and 4.56 K/BB rate over a league-best 230 innings) counts as a down year only by his high standards, though the southpaw did post a career-high 1.17 HR/9 and he struggled in his only postseason start. Price signed a seven-year, $217MM contract with the Sox last winter, and while that deal contains an opt-out clause after the 2018 campaign, Price said he will remain in Boston throughout the life of the contract. Even if Price delivers better numbers in 2017-18, he’ll be entering his age-33 season when he’s officially faced with the decision to opt out, which could make it hard for him to top the $127MM he’s already slated to earn from the Sox from 2019-2022.
Here’s more from around the American League East…
- Speaking to Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link), Rays GM Erik Neander says his team “will continue to have an open mind” about moving another starting pitcher. Trade rumors have swirled around Tampa’s rotation all winter, seemingly culminating in the deal that sent Drew Smyly to the Mariners earlier this week. Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Alex Cobb also drew interest, so it’s not out of the question that the Rays would deal another starter if they can score a significant return.
- In a recent radio interview with 105.7 The Fan (hat tip to MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko), Chris Tillman reiterated that he would love to sign an extension to remain with the Orioles. There doesn’t appear to be much progress in talks between the two sides (“I haven’t heard anything, I haven’t seen anything,” Tillman said), though the right-hander did note that he lets his agent handle business negotiations until late in the process. The O’s began preliminary talks with Tillman’s representation last month, and Kubatko figures more serious discussions will take place during Spring Training to see if a deal can be reached before Opening Day. Tillman avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $10.05MM deal for 2017, and he is eligible for free agency next winter.
- The Blue Jays’ rotation enjoyed an unusual amount of good health in 2016, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes, and such durability will probably be hard to replicate this season. With the Jays short on depth options, it opens the door for top prospects Sean Reid-Foley or Conner Greene to emerge as potential late-season call-ups.