The Boston Red Sox have signed left-handed starting pitcher David Price to a seven-year, $217 million deal, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe first reported Tuesday evening.
Price's deal includes an opt-out after three-seasons, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. No money is deferred, per Rosenthal.
The $217 million guarantee Price earned is the highest single guarantee signed by a pitcher ever. The previous record was Clayton Kershaw's seven-year, $215 million deal.
Price was rumored to be on many teams' radars through the start of the offseason, with the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Blue Jays all being at least linked to him.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Cardinals were the runners-up in the Price sweepstakes.
In his new deal with Boston, Price's salary breakdown is as follows, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN: $30 million from 2016-2018, $31 million in 2019, and $32 million from 2020-2022.
Price was the best free agent on the market on many rankings lists and his signing will have quite an impact around the league. After seeing what he got, other top starters like Johnny Cueto and Zack Greinke will be able to gauge their markets and values better.
The most interesting part of this deal is the opt-out clause.
If Price pitches like he has, it appears a strong possibility that he could opt-out after three-years of his deal, making $90 million. If he does, the Red Sox would be off the hook for $127 million of his deal and could also be off the hook for the years Price begins to decline.
If Price pitches poorly, he will not opt-out, and the Red Sox will be on the hook for all $217 million of his deal. The opt-out clause could really make-or-break this signing for Boston.
Price deserved a large contract, but is he worth $217 million?
By negotiating with 30 teams, Price was able to drive up the price of his contract (no pun intended), whereas Kershaw, in the now-second largest pitching contract ever, only negotiated with the Dodgers for his extension. If Kershaw was on the open market, he would probably easily surpass the $217 million Price will earn.
Price is also going to make a $31 million annual average value over the life of this deal, which will tie him with Tigers' first baseman Miguel Cabrera as the highest paid players in baseball per season.
The left-hander will be reunited with Dave Dombrowski, his GM while he was pitching with Detroit in the first half of last season. Dombrowski was the man who acquired Price from the Tampa Bay Rays (his first team) and then sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays (his team for the second half of last year).
Dombrowski now doles out $217 million to sign him for his new team, the Boston Red Sox, where he is now the president of baseball operations.
Overall, it has been a busy offseason for the Red Sox, acquiring top closer Craig Kimbrel from the Padres, signing Chris Young, and now this.
Those three players have one thing in common, however: they are praised for having a good makeup. If there is one thing that is truly valued in baseball, it is having good clubhouse chemistry. All three players the Red Sox' brass brought in should help with that, let alone the fact that they are talented assets to begin with.
The 30-year-old Price joins a Red Sox rotation that includes the likes of Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Eduardo Rodriguez. One thing Boston lacked last season was an ace. Price certainly fits that bill for 2016 and beyond.
Last season, Price went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA (2.78 FIP, 3.24 xFIP) in 220 1/3 innings pitched with the Tigers and Blue Jays. He registered a 225 to 47 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The price appears to be right in Boston, as they get one of the best pitchers in baseball for a cool $217 million.