The 2017 season was one to forget for Red Sox starter David Price, on and off the field. He started the year on the DL with elbow issues, not making his first start until the end of May. Then, after 11 starts, at the end of July, went back on the DL until mid-September when he returned as a reliever for the stretch run. In his 16 appearances in the regular season, Price had a 3.38 ERA with 76 Ks in 74.2 innings pitched and had 2 solid relief appearances in the postseason against Houston. Unfortunately for the already vilified Price, his injury wasn’t even the biggest negative story of 2017.
As everyone knows at this point, David Price confronted Red Sox broadcaster Dennis Eckersley on the team plane following a benign comment he made during the broadcast of a game against the Minnesota Twins about Eduardo Rodriguez. I’m not going to rehash the incident, because frankly, it was middle-school level dumb, and once again in his short tenure with the Red Sox, Price shined a negative light on himself. If he wasn’t already hated among Red Sox fans, berating a well-liked, Hall of Fame pitcher certainly didn’t help his image. Add to that his earlier confrontation with a reporter at Yankee Stadium in June and things were just out of control for him.
Now looking towards the 2018 season, there are some positive reports being thrown out there in what appears to be an attempt to reverse the narrative on Price. He faced the media early in an attempt to clear the air and move on from his struggles in 2017 by acknowledging his role in the incident (sort of) and his overall attitude.
I could’ve handled it better last year, absolutely. But I didn’t, and I’ve moved on. I feel like I’ve always been one to lead with my actions, and I didn’t do that very well last year. I know that and understand that, and I look forward to getting back and being that faucet and not being a drain. -David Price
He reportedly reached out to recently signed slugger J.D. Martinez in an effort to convince him to come to Boston and whether he had an impact on J.D.’s decision or not, appears to be invested in the 2018 Red Sox and his role on the team. At this point, he is a veteran who needs to recognize his impact on those around him in the clubhouse.
What’s often lost in all the off-the-field crap and injuries is that David Price is a 5-time All-Star and Cy Young Award winner. That’s the reason the Red Sox signed him to a massive $30+ million a year contract. He has the ability, even at 32, to impact the Red Sox in a significant way in 2018 if he stays healthy and has the right attitude. If he keeps his mouth shut and pitches to his ability on the mound, even Price has the chance for redemption. I’m just not sure he can make it through the year without becoming an unwelcome distraction once again.