Price chooses staying with World Series champions over free agency
Red Sox lefty to earn $127M US over next 4 years after not opting out of contract
Three days after a World Series victory that transformed him from a post-season flop to an October hero, Red Sox left-hander David Price said at the team's victory parade Wednesday that he would stay in Boston rather than opt out of his contract and become a free agent.
"I'm not going anywhere," Price said on the field at Fenway Park before boarding a duck boat for the ride through the city. "I came here to win, and we did that this year. That was very special and I want to do it again."
Price will earn $127 million US over the next four years, the remainder of a seven-year, $217 million deal he signed before the 2016 season that gave him the right to opt out after the third year. It remains the richest contract ever for a pitcher.
"There wasn't any reconsideration on my part, ever," Price said.
The 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner, Price has gone 31-19 with a 3.74 earned-run average in three seasons in Boston but until this year never had any success in the playoffs. He had never won a post-season start in his career — a 0-9 record in his first 10 tries — and was booed off the field after recording just five outs in the Division Series against the New York Yankees.
But he was the winning pitcher in the AL Championship Series clincher against Houston, and then he won his first career World Series start, Game 2 against Los Angeles. He pitched in relief in Boston's 18-inning Game 3 loss, then started on three day's rest and delivered seven innings of three-hit ball in the finale to help eliminate the Dodgers.
"We were hoping he would stay," Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said. "He's ready to go back-to-back."
Highlights of Boston's Game 5 win:
In all, Price was 3-1 with a 3.46 ERA this post-season and 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance against the Dodgers. The Boston Herald reported Price lost a 3-2 vote to first baseman Steve Pearce for the World Series MVP.
"In my mind, he was the co-MVP of the World Series," Red Sox owner John Henry said Wednesday. "He was ready to pitch every day, no matter the situation. The bigger the game, the bigger the performance."
Henry called it "great news" that Price had opted in. Reminded that the ball club itself, like Price, has had a bit of a turnaround after a long history of post-season failure, Henry said: "Boston is a great place to get the monkey off your back."
This is the fourth title in 15 years for the Red Sox, who went the previous 86 years without winning it all, and the 11th championship for the city since the New England Patriots won their first of five Super Bowls in February 2002. The Bruins and Celtics have also won one title apiece this century, celebrating with the increasingly routine parade of amphibious vehicles known as duck boats.
Price, who shared a neon yellow ride with pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, was cheered through the city on a sunny day with temperatures in the mid-40s. In addition to the usual cheering and waving banners, the fans threw beers and small bottles of liquor to the players.