At the end of the 2018 MLB season, Red Sox left-hander David Price has a decision to make. The 32-year old (33 in August) has the ability to opt-out of his 7-year, $217 million contract at the end of the season. This means that David Price can end his Red Sox career and move on to another team just by deciding to opt-out of this lucrative contract. There are many factors that will play into this decision, and here are some.
David Price’s potential salary next year will, of course, play a big part in this decision. If Price were to stay with the Sox, he would be earning $31 million in 2019, and $32 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022. This makes him the highest paid pitcher in the majors, which could change by the end of his deal. The point is it won’t be easy to get much more money than that, but it is not impossible. There are teams out there that are not afraid to pay big money, like the Yankees (Giancarlo Stanton for 10 years and $265 million) and the Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw for 7 years and $215 million).
Price’s time in Boston has been defined by conflicts with the Boston sports media and it’s fanbase. Many in Boston know about the conflict he had with Dennis Eckersley, Hall of Fame pitcher and NESN analyst. This incident has caused many in Boston to dislike Price. This universal dislike of Price has caused him to possibly dislike Boston as a city. Why would anyone, no matter the profession, want to work somewhere where they are hated? If David Price opts-out of his contract, I would most certainly bet on his happiness playing a huge factor.
Price’s Performance Down the Stretch
One of the biggest factors teams look at when they pay for free agents is their performance. David Price started the 2018 season slow, posting a 5.11 ERA in his first 7 starts of the year. Since then, Price has definitely been living up to his contract, posting a 2.69 ERA in 44 1/3 innings. If he continues to pitch like his last 7 starts, there is definitely a chance a team would give him more money than he’s making. If he looks more like his first 7 starts for the rest of the year, he will probably be on the Red Sox roster next year.
David Price has had his bouts with staying healthy. We all know about the “mild carpal tunnel syndrome” and the elbow problems he had last year. If he feels that he wouldn’t be able to pass a physical, he will not opt-out. It’s as simple as that.
If I were to give my prediction, I would say he doesn’t opt-out. There is no way to be sure that he will earn that kind of money from another team, but you can’t rule out the possibility that he might leave. It is something worth thinking about, as it could help the Red Sox clear up enough cap space to extend their young stars.