Boston Red Sox starter David Price had a pretty awful year in 2017. When he wasn’t dealing with a balky elbow, he was feuding with the Boston media, quarreling with NESN analyst (and Hall of Famer) Dennis Eckersley, and burying his head in the sand about everything going on in Boston.
Now that pitchers and catchers are reporting to Spring Training, Price is ready to put his 2017 behind him and start 2018 fresh. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Price admitted that negativity was par for the course last year and that he was aiming to not let that creep into 2018.
“I could’ve handled it better last year, absolutely. But I didn’t, and I’ve moved on,” Price said. “I feel like I’ve always been one to lead with my actions, and I didn’t do that very well last year. I know that and understand that, and I look forward to getting back and being that faucet and not being a drain.”
In addition to ridding himself of the negativity, Price is hoping that he’ll have a healthy season this year. In 2017, Price made just 11 starts (and five relief appearances), totaling a career-low 74 2/3 innings to go along with a 3.38 ERA and 76 strikeouts.
“I haven’t had one instance this offseason, whether it was playing catch or doing anything on the field, where I was like, ‘That doesn’t feel right,'” he said .
He’ll also talk to the media this year, which became a contentious topic at times last year. However, it’ll be on his own terms.
“We can talk,” Price said. “But you’re not going to come over and overload me with negativity. It’s not going to happen. That’s not going to happen.”
Price is also hoping that his relationship with Red Sox fans and the media continues to evolve and grow, especially given that he’s still owed $157 million over the next five seasons.
“Everything I’ve been through in the past two years, it’s been a struggle, absolutely,” Price said. “But I feel like I’ve gotten better from it. I’ve learned from it. I look forward to continuing to learn.”
The former Rays ace is in an interesting position going into 2018. He has an opt-out clause in his contract, but would he really be willing to leave $127 million on the table and try to better that guarantee as a 33-year old in free agency? His two seasons in Boston have been the worst in his career, and he’s seemingly been miserable off the field as well as disappointing on the hill. But money talks, and next year’s free agency class is loaded, though the crop of starting pitchers is pretty limited, especially if opt-outs aren’t exercised and club options are.
If Price is healthy and has a Cy Young caliber season like he did in 2015, it wouldn’t shock me if he did opt out and try to get an extra year or two and a few extra million guaranteed. But if he misses time in 2018 like he did last season, I highly doubt he’ll go anywhere – even if he’s feuding with the Boston media once again.