David Price and David Ortiz have had several public confrontations in the past three years, but now that the left-handed ace is headed to the Red Sox, Boston’s designated hitter is ready to receive him with open arms.
“That’s fine. We need pitching and David Price is a great pitcher and has showed that for years. I hope he will help us,” Ortiz told 102.5 FM in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Wednesday. “It’s a marquee pitcher, and that’s what we need.”
The Red Sox reached a seven-year, $217 million preliminary agreement with Price on Tuesday, sources confirmed to ESPN after The Boston Globe reported the deal.
The issues between Ortiz and Price began during the 2013 AL Division Series between Boston and Tampa Bay. The pitcher criticized the slugger for the way he circled the bases after hitting a home run in a 7-4 Red Sox win at Fenway Park.
In May 2014 in Boston, the next meeting between the teams, Price hit the slugger with a pitch in the first inning. After the game, Big Papi said, among other things: “It’s a war. It’s on. Next time he hits me, he better bring the gloves. I have no respect for him no more.”
As if that wasn’t enough, during the All-Star festivities this year in Cincinnati, Price said that Ortiz, who had been in nine of the 10 previous Midsummer Classics, wasn’t the same hitter as before.
“If he were, he would be here right now,” Price said about Ortiz, who drove in 108 runs and hit 37 homers in 2015 to reach the 500 home-run mark in his 19-year MLB career.
That appears to be water under the bridge.
“No problems. All that’s in the past. Now he is my partner,” Ortiz said. “When a person joins your cause, you must leave the past in the past.”
Price, 30, has a career record of 104-56, with a 3.09 ERA, in eight seasons with Tampa Bay, Detroit and Toronto. He won the 2012 AL Cy Young Award. In 2015, he went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA in 220 innings with the Tigers and Blue Jays, finishing second in the AL Cy Young race. He has won six of seven decisions with a 1.95 ERA against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The $31 million average annual value of his contract is the most ever for a pitcher and matches that of Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Prior to Price’s deal, the most the Red Sox had paid a pitcher, in annual value and overall cost, was the four-year, $82.5 million extension signed by Rick Porcello in April. Max Scherzer signed a seven-year, $210 million deal with the Nationals last winter, and Clayton Kershaw‘s contract extension with the Dodgers was for $215 million.