Red Sox Sign David Price

In perhaps the easiest move to predict of the entire winter, Dave Dombrowski went and bought his new team an ace. And it’s the same ace he went and bought 18 months ago, for his old team, so I think we can say with a good amount of clarity that Dombrowski likes David Price. A lot.

To lure the best free agent pitcher on the market to Boston, the team gave him the largest contract for any pitcher in baseball history: seven years, $217 million. In addition to the $31 million annual average value, Price also gets an opt-out after the third year, so the deal could be viewed as a three year, $90 million contract, with a four year, $127 million player option that Price can choose to exercise if he gets injured or sees his performance diminish. So not only does Price’s deal beat Max Scherzer’s contract from a year ago in terms of total value and not include the deferred money that Scherzer took to get that total, but he also gets the right to hit the market again and get an even larger payday in a few years if he continues to pitch at a high level over the next 600 innings.

In terms of expectations, this deal beats the crowd’s estimate by $21 million, though my 7/$215M guess ended up being pretty close, though I didn’t think he’d also get an opt-out. Steamer projects him for +5.3 WAR in 2017, so based on our normal assumptions about the free agent market, the $/WAR framework would have had him at just a hair over $240 million. If you think the opt-out is worth about $25 million, then this is almost exactly in line with an $8 million per win estimate for free agents in this market.

David Price’s Contract Estimate — 7 yr / $241.2 M
Year Age WAR $/WAR Est. Value
2016 30 5.3 $8.0 M $42.4 M
2017 31 4.8 $8.4 M $40.3 M
2018 32 4.3 $8.8 M $37.9 M
2019 33 3.8 $9.3 M $35.2 M
2020 34 3.3 $9.7 M $32.1 M
2021 35 2.8 $10.2 M $28.6 M
2022 36 2.3 $10.7 M $24.7 M
Totals 26.6 $241.2 M
Assumptions
Value: $8M/WAR with 5.0% inflation
Aging Curve: +0.25 WAR/yr (18-27), 0 WAR/yr (28-30),-0.5 WAR/yr (31-37),-0.75 WAR/yr (> 37)

It’s certainly a huge commitment, but it’s a huge commitment for a great player, and Price should help get the Red Sox back to being a playoff contender. Their work certainly isn’t done after adding just one arm, but this is a big first step for the Red Sox.

We hoped you liked reading Red Sox Sign David Price by Dave Cameron!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

newest oldest most voted
Old School
Guest
Old School

That’s a lot of money to waste on a pitcher who can’t win in the playoffs.

David Price in the regular season: 104-56, 3.10 ERA
David Price in the postseason: 0-7, 5.27 ERA

MjwW
Guest
MjwW

Come October every year they will regret this signing.

Red Sux
Guest
Red Sux

Congrats Red Sux fans, your ticket prices are going up, AGAIN! Highest prices, worst ballpark, perennial losers!

Steve
Guest
Steve

04,07,13 nice talking to ya

Slats
Guest
Slats

Don’t feed the trolls.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip

What’s the troll response to this? Something about Boston being in last place come October? I think I have to throw in a jab at the projections liking Boston, and probably something about Dave Cameron being personally biased towards Boston. There, I have contributed to this exchange.

That Guy
Guest
That Guy

Price’s postseason numbers are inconsequential. After all, his team actually has to make it to the postseason for those numbers to matter, so no point worrying about it for a few years.