Column: The Price is wrong

MLB pitcher David Price’s freshly signed contract is fiscally irresponsible on the part of the Red Sox


Just a month ago, the Kansas City Royals claimed its first World Series since 1985. The Royals, a team built on a high-octane bullpen, the best defense in baseball and a stingy offense that puts the ball in play provide a blueprint for future generations of champions. Devoid from this winning formula is a frontline starting pitcher.

The ace pitcher is no longer needed in this age of Major League Baseball. The Royals proved the value in a dominant bullpen, essentially turning nine inning games into seven inning games by boasting a stable of incredibly productive bullpen arms.

Despite this, the Boston Red Sox reached deep into its pockets to sign ace pitcher David Price Tuesday. Price, a Cy Young Award recipient, 20-game winner, five-time all-star and one of the true upper echelon pitchers in MLB, signed for a record-seven year, $217 million contract.

However, this deal doesn’t plug the holes in the Red Sox. Tying $30 million per year into one player, albeit a great one, doesn’t solve the issues with the present team. The starting rotation of the Red Sox is an easy punching bag for pundits, but the staff performed admirably after a horrid start to the season. The 4.44 ERA in the first half ranked 27th in the MLB, while the 4.21 second half mark landed 15th overall. Red Sox pitchers suffered from a .309 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play), ranking them 25th in the league. An outfield replacement and a rebound performance at key defensive positions will continue the improvements made by the team in the second half.

The rise in the production from the starting pitching staff can be at least partially attributed to the improvement of the defense. The defense was outstanding outside of two expensive players. The worst fielder in baseball last year, Hanley Ramirez, will be relegated to first base.  His replacement, Jackie Bradley Jr. would only need to provide league average offense to be an incredibly valuable player because of his defensive prowess. Ramirez’ expensive counterpart, Pablo Sandoval, can’t possibly be much worse at third base after owning a steady track record of defensive adequacy before this season.

Following the Royals’ blueprint for success is possible by directing the $30 million per year given to Price to other players instead of one large piece. Darren O’ Day, a shutdown reliever, would cost around four years, $28 million and could join Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa to form a powerful back end of the bullpen. Scott Kazmir, another player who has thrived in the American League East division, could probably be had for four years, $55 million, and step in as a solid starter behind Clay Buchholz. Lastly, the Red Sox could have its pick between Tyler Clippard, Anotonio Bastardo, or Ryan Madson as another productive reliever that could be had reasonably (three years, $20 million for any of the three).

The team would spend about $28 million per year for all three of the aforementioned players. However, the Dombrowski-led team invested that entire amount to one player. David Price is a great player, but the price isn’t right for this Boston Red Sox team. I pray they prove me wrong.