Red Sox lefty David Price announced today that he will not opt out of the remainder of his contract with the Red Sox, as Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com was among those to report on Twitter. The 33-year-old starter, who is fresh off of a redemptive run through the postseason for the World Series victors, will earn $31MM for the 2019 season and $32MM annually for the three campaigns that follow.
It’s no surprise, certainly, that Price has elected to stay in the deal that he inked in advance of the 2016 season. Though he has certainly had plenty of success during his first three campaigns in Boston, there have also been plenty of low points along the way.
At 33 years of age, it’s tough to imagine Price doing better than the four years and $127MM he already has in hand. That said, he would still have been a major part of the postseason picture had he elected to return to the open market.
In the just-completed campaign, Price threw 176 innings of 3.58 ERA ball, registering just over a strikeout per nine while allowing 2.6 BB/9. That represented a bounceback from an injury-marred 2017 campaign and an improvement on his bottom-line results (3.99 ERA) from 2016.
Of course, Price had also logged 230 frames in his first season with the Sox, a number he won’t likely approach again. And his peripherals have eroded since that time as well. Estimators valued his 2018 output well below his actual ERA, with FIP (4.02), xFIP (3.95), and SIERA (3.82) suggesting Price is now more a solid rotation presence than frontline starter.
Price’s postseason performance — which featured four excellent starts in the ALCS and World Series after a rough divisional outing — certainly showed that he can still get the job done when needed … and that he can do it on the big stage. That reversed a long run of difficulties in the postseason though it won’t turn back father time. Over the course of the 2018 campaign, Price’s average fastball (of both the four and two-seam varieties) clocked in at a personal-low 93.1 mph, while his swinging-strike rate dipped to 9.6% after sitting over 11% for the prior three seasons.
In any event, Price’s decision to opt in to the remainder of his deal at one point seemed likely to be met by widespread complaints from the Boston faithful. Instead, he’ll be lauded along with his teammates today in the club’s World Series parade. And while the expectations for the remainder of the contract will necessarily be tempered, the Red Sox have good cause to anticipate that Price will continue to be a worthwhile member of their rotation for some time to come.