Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

David Price: Saving playoff wins for Red Sox

BOSTON — For all the money the Red Sox are paying David Price, the Boston fans don't just want a pitcher who gives the team a chance to win every five days or wind up among the Cy Young contenders.

With a seven-year, $217 million contract, the Red Sox are expecting playoff wins. And that's the one thing Price hasn't delivered.

"I think I was just saving all my postseason wins for the Red Sox," Price, 0-7 with a 5.27 ERA in eight career postseason starts, said Friday during his introductory news conference. "I know good things are going to happen to me in October. That just hasn't been the case thus far."

Despite winning it all in 2013 — their third World Series championship in 10 years — the Red Sox have finished last in the East in three of the past four seasons. Their rebuilding began in August when they brought in Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations, and this week he made his big move.

The deal with Price — "one of the best pitchers in baseball, a true No. 1," Dombrowski said — gives the 2012 Cy Young winner while with the Rays a chance to opt out after three years. It also goes against the club's desire not to commit to long-term deals for pitchers who have turned 30. "There are exceptions to any rule, and certainly this is one of the most exceptional pitchers," owner John Henry said.

The AL's top pitcher in 2012 and two-time runnerup in seven full seasons, Price, 30, has a 3.09 ERA with 1,372 strikeouts and 104 wins. He went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA with Detroit and Toronto in 2015, striking out 225.

Price was asked about his past trouble with Boston's David Ortiz. When Price was with Tampa Bay, he criticized the Red Sox DH for admiring a postseason homer and slowly rounding the bases. He hit Ortiz with a pitch the next season, benches emptied and the two called each other names. But Ortiz said this week that the feud was over. Price said he's looking forward to playing with "arguably the greatest DH to ever play the game," adding, "I'm ready to be one of his really good friends."

REPORTS: GREINKE TO D'BACKS: Right-hander Zack Greinke agreed to a six-year, $206.5 million deal with Arizona, according to multiple reports. His deal contains deferred money. The $34.4 million average will be the sport's highest, topping Price's $31 million with the Red Sox. Greinke, 32, led the majors in ERA last season while with the Dodgers.

ReportS: Cubs get Lackey: Cardinals free agent right-hander John Lackey, 37, agreed to a two-year, $32 million deal with the rival Cubs, according to multiple reports.

Bonds Back: Barry Bonds is returning to baseball full time as hitting coach for the Marlins, joining the staff of new manager Don Mattingly. The media-shy, steroids-tainted home run king made a rare conference call appearance to discuss his hiring, which raised his profile just as balloting is under way for Hall of Fame voting. "I'm a Hall of Fame baseball player with no doubt in my mind, no doubt in my heart," said Bonds, 51. "God knows that. That's all that matters to me."

Rays Promotions: The Rays made a series of front-office promotions, naming Peter Bendix director, baseball development; Shawn Hoffman director, scouting analytics; Kevin Ibach director, pro scouting; Josh Kalk director, pitching research and development; and Brian Plexico director, baseball systems.

Mets: GM Sandy Alderson, 68, has "very treatable" cancer and will begin chemotherapy this week, the team said. It did not reveal what kind of cancer.

White Sox: Former Rays catcher Dioner Navarro, 31, agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract.

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