Howard Herman: Boston Red Sox had to sign David Price


Red Sox fans got an early Christmas present this year, David Price all wrapped up and placed under the tree.

Just what Sox fans need, a great regular-season pitcher who turns into a tub of goo in the post-season.

I agree with that sentiment, but I also strongly believe that the Red Sox HAD to sign Price. If you have a team looking to make a splash, you have to go after the best player at the biggest position of need.

Pitching was Boston's biggest need and Price was the best pitcher available.

His post-season history is there for all to see. In six years of playoff baseball, Price is 2-7 with a 5.12 earned-run average.

One of those two wins came on Oct. 11, 2008 in the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox. The lefty was called on to close in the 11th inning of a 9-8 Rays victory. In 2/3 of an inning, Price gave up no hits, no runs, one walk and one strikeout.

Actually, both of Price's playoff wins were in relief.

Dave Dombrowski and by extension, John Henry, had no choice but to break the John Henry credo about giving huge contracts to pitchers age 30 or over.

"There are exceptions to any rule," Henry said at Friday's press conference announcing the signing of Price. "Certainly, this is one of the most exceptional pitchers."

It's a seven-year, $217 million contract that includes an opt-out clause after three seasons. So that means if Price is great, he opts out and makes even more money. If he stinks, he takes the rest of the Red Sox deal.

What David Price has done in the regular season has been outstanding, and nobody has to defend the deal for what Price accomplishes between April and October. It's what happens after Oct. 1 that we all need to watch.

And for those of you who say it's too much money, remember, it's not your money.

The Red Sox aren't the Pirates, the Rays or the Astros. They have a seemingly unlimited amount of resources. If you have it, use it.

The Red Sox also traded for closer Craig Kimbrel, giving up some top prospects, but none who are poised to make a major league debut for a couple of years.

If there were Duck Boat parades for off-season deals, the Boston Duck Boats might need new tires because of all the off-season parades. But we only see the boats in November, and we'll have to see whether the Price signing gets Boston back into the playoffs.


David Price says he likes Boston.

"I know my way around this city," Price said at Friday's press conference. "I get on a Hubway [bicycle sharing system] and I just start pedaling.

"Every time I come to Boston, I get my Hubway and I ride down Newbury Street."

Price is also, to the best of my knowledge, the only member of the Red Sox pitching staff to ever toe the rubber at Wahconah Park.

The Wayback Machine takes us to June 25, 2006, when Dan Duquette's Pittsfield Dukes were playing in the NECBL.

Duquette had invited Team USA to train for a few days at his Sports Academy in Hinsdale. And then on the 25th, there was a doubleheader at Wahconah Park.

Price watched while his teammates played in an afternoon intrasquad game in front of more than 60 scouts and one reporter.

Price took the bump in the 5 p.m. nightcap of the doubleheader against the Dukes. The rain washed out the game in the fourth inning. Team USA was leading 6-0 and Price was dominant. He walked two and struck out four. Very few Suns players got good swings against the left-hander.

In the afternoon, the Red Team beat the White 4-3. Todd Frazier, who currently plays for the Cincinnati Reds, had three hits for the winning team.

Thirteen of the players in red, white and blue that day went on to play in the bigs. San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford and Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta were two of the more famous names on the list.

Price was at the top of that list, and in Boston, he'll be on top of manager John Farrell's pitching list.

If he pitches up to his reputation, it could be a very interesting summer.

Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.


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