David Price: Blue Jays disinterest would've been tougher if Anthopoulos was still boss

David Price says his Toronto exit was just business but acknowledges the team's lack of interest in keeping him might have been harder to take if Alex Anthopoulos had still been running the Blue Jays.

Red Sox ace pitcher understands Toronto's decision

Boston Red Sox's David Price returned to Toronto for the first time since the Blue Jays passed on re-signing him when he became a free agent at the end of the 2015 season. (Chris O'Meara/The Associated Press)

David Price says his Toronto exit was just business but acknowledges the team's lack of interest in keeping him might have been harder to take if Alex Anthopoulos had still been running the Blue Jays.

"They had to make a decision for their organization. I wasn't in those plans and that's OK," the Red Sox ace pitcher told reporters Saturday. "That's part of what we do.

"This is a business. The more time that you spend in this game, the better you understand that."

The big left-hander went 9-1 with Toronto last season after coming over from Detroit at the trade deadline. But Price, who was second in the AL Cy Young Award voting after finishing with an 18-5 record, left in the off-season for a $217 million US, seven-year deal with Boston.

Understands front office decision 

Asked if the Jays' attitude towards his free agency was disappointing, Price said no, then added: "If Alex would have still been here then it might have been — not upsetting but that would have been a little bit different.

"But it was a new front office, a lot of new guys. For them not to make that offer, I got it, I understood it. They have three guys over there right now that they're going to have to make decisions on here pretty quick. And I definitely get that. [Jose] Bautista and Eddie [Edwin Encarnacion], they've been the heart and soul of the Blue Jays for quite a while now."

He also referenced third baseman Josh Donaldson.

Anthopoulos, who brought Price to Toronto, left the Jays after last season when he turned down their contract offer. He is now the Dodgers' vice-president of baseball operations.

Toronto president Paul Beeston retired a few days later and was succeeded by former Indians executive Mark Shapiro. Anthopoulos's job went to Ross Atkins, who spent several years in Cleveland with Shapiro.

At the time, Shapiro said the club did not "aggressively" pursue Price, preferring to spend its money elsewhere.

Price is clearly missed on and off the field by the Jays.

"He's got a great arm to begin with and he's strong, he's durable. He's been one of the top guys in baseball since he got here," said Toronto manager John Gibbons. "But there's more to him than that. His personality. He's one of those uniters. He fits right in. You can put him anywhere. I guarantee he's done wonders over there (with Boston) ... He's really the ultimate team guy."

Hopes he left 'positive attitude'

Price (1-0 this season) said he hoped he had left a positive attitude in the Jays clubhouse.

"Just be positive. It's too easy to be negative," he said. "Like I said last year, there's two types of people. There's a drain and there's a faucet. And I want to be a faucet. A faucet is constantly giving and a drain constantly takes away."

Toronto fans won't get to see Price pitch Sunday as originally planned. A Thursday rainout in Cleveland bumped him back in the rotation and he will now pitch Boston's home opener Monday.

The popular Price, who normally sports a smile as big as his six-foot-five frame, had food on his mind upon his return to Toronto. "Can't wait to get this popcorn!!" he tweeted.

Price, who had requested popcorn when he joined the Jays last July, said he had fond memories of his time in Toronto.

"We had a good group of guys. We had a lot of fun," he said. "That's what you dream about when you're a little kid — playing in packed stadiums, doing it with guys you genuinely enjoy being around. It doesn't get any better than that."


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