Tha Sports Junkies 101

Price Check: Boston’s Lefty is No Ace

Arturo Pardavila III/Via


After being roughed up in yet another postseason start, it’s time to wonder if David Price is really a top-tier pitcher.

This could have been the year.  The Boston Red Sox have been an offensive juggernaut in 2016.  From Mookie Betts‘ breakout campaign to David Ortiz‘ spectacular last hurrah, the Red Sox lineup was unstoppable this year.  Pitching took a backseat, but the rotation still made a serious impact on Boston’s success.  Rick Porcello had one of the best bounceback seasons in recent memory.  A lot of things went right for the Red Sox in 2016, and in turn, the team captured its first division title since 2013.

And then there was David Price.

Boston signed Price to a lucrative seven year, $217 million contract.  The Red Sox had finally acquired the ace they had needed to complete their puzzle.  Dave Dombrowski, who traded for Price while he was in the front office of the Tigers, was elated to be reunited with the southpaw that he later sent to the Toronto Blue Jays.  The Red Sox were a popular pick to win the American League East headed into the season, partially because they had David Price to lead the pitching staff.

Price‘s season certainly failed to live up to expectations; it was actually his worst year since his rookie campaign in 2009.  The 2012 Cy Young Award winner may have won 17 games, but his ERA jumped from a 2.45 in 2015 to a 3.99 this year.  Price did lead the league in innings pitched, and he did strike out 228 hitters, so it’s not as though he was totally inept.  Nonetheless, Price’s regular season wasn’t very impressive, especially considering how much money he had just been signed for.  Boston headed into October as a very dangerous team, and the southpaw had one thing left to prove: he can win in the postseason.

In Game Two of the ALDS, David Price allowed five runs in three and 1/3 innings against the Cleveland Indians.  The Red Sox were already down in the series going into Friday, and this was Price’s chance to show the world that he is an ace.  This was his shot to exorcise his playoff pitching demons and inject life into his team.  Price utterly failed, and in typical David Price fashion.  This is the fifth time in nine playoff starts where Price allowed over five earned runs.  As a starting pitcher, the $200 million man has just one victory to his credit in the postseason.

As his postseason misery continues, it is time to question how good David Price really is.  When you think about the best pitchers in the game, none of them have been nearly as awful as Price has in October.  Sure, not all aces have peak performances in the biggest situations, but Price has demonstrated that he can’t handle the national spotlight at all.  His lack of success in the playoffs was discussed frequently when he signed his massive contract with Boston.  Despite his troubles in October, the Red Sox believed that he was well worth the deal that they signed him to.  Unfortunately for Dave Dombrowski and his fellow front office executives, Price’s deal is already turning out to be a bust, especially considering his latest blunder against the Indians.

David Price failed to live up to his contract and perceived status as a top-tier starter in the regular season.  Now, Price has let his club down again when they needed him most with another dismal October outing.  Sure, Price has put up some impressive numbers in the past.  But going forward, David Price is not an ace.  He’s a pitcher who can’t handle pitching in high-stress postseason games, and he might just be one of the most overpaid players in the game.