Boston Red Sox Overpaid for David Price, But Who Cares?


Sure, the Boston Red Sox overpaid for star pitcher David Price in free agency, but it simply does not matter.

Read literally any post about the Boston Red Sox and their blockbuster signing of ace pitcher David Price on Tuesday, and the TL;DR version in 98% of them (that’s an unofficial statistic) is this:

“Well guys, David Price is really, really good, probably one of the best pitchers in the game, but the Red Sox paid too much money to get him.”

An ESPN article on the Price signing started “Remember when the Boston Red Sox were going to be fiscally responsible?” and then said the signing was “Crazy? Yes, a little bit.”

Comcast Sports Network’s Sean McAdam was similarly grim: “The worst-case scenario, of course, is that Price doesn’t pitch well in his first three years, and knowing that he has maxed out his value, would choose to remain in Boston as an overpaid, underperforming aging pitcher.”

Even Chowder and Champions’ own editor extraordinaire Dan Schmelzer called out the signing as over the top: “I understand that free agent pitching comes at an incredibly high price, but I cannot help but think the Red Sox overpaid here.”

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Good news, everyone! It doesn’t matter!

Sure, there’s the whole luxury tax issue, but the Red Sox have paid that almost as many times in the last 12 years as the Yankees have, although the Sox paid much smaller amounts than the Evil Empire.

But just saying “Well, there’s no cap in baseball, so screw it” is too easy.  The real reason why handing David Price a record contract is, to draw a really “Come on, man!” analogy, is that “If you build it, they will come.”

In that case “Build it” means “Put a winning team on the field”.  And then what comes?

Money.  And lots of it.

Oct 4, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher David Price (14) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

According to Statista, an online statistics database, the Red Sox have always made more money than the year before since 2001.  In 2001, the Sox made $152 million in revenue.  As the Sox got steadily closer to the ALCS and the elusive World Series title Boston craved in 2002 and the gut-punch of losing the 2003 ALCS to the Yankees, revenue rose from $170 million in 2002 to $190 million in 2003.

In 2004, when the Red Sox finally broke the curse and won the World Series, they brought in $201 million.

In other words, four years of successful baseball increased revenue by almost exactly 33%.

Sure, some of that is due to inflation, but that’s the same as what any other business deals with.

Oh, and in 2007, when the Red Sox beat the Rockies to capture their second title in four years, revenue for 2007 had skyrocketed to $263 million.

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By the time the Sox had won the World Series again in 2013 and the books from the year were closed, the team had brought in $357 million.

And, as CSNNE’s Sean McAdam, who we heard from earlier, put it, a team that wins pays the bills.  A losing team doesn’t. “For a big-market team with a devoted fan base and its own TV network, such poor play couldn’t be sustained, particularly in a competitive sports marketplace currently being dominated by the Patriots.”

“Ratings have nose-dived for NESN, the regional sports network 80 percent owned by the Red Sox, a reflection of the team’s irrelevance and inability to remain remotely competitive in three of the last four years.”

On a more personal note, think back to the 1990s and early 2000s, when the Red Sox had a load of talented, charismatic, fun players and seemed to be getting closer and closer to breaking the curse each year.

There were Nomar and Pedro jerseys everywhere, darn near every kid had a Red Sox poster in his bedroom, every Little League had a team called the Red Sox, and every Red Sox-Yankees game was must-see TV as the Sox tried to play Luke Skywalker the Yankees’ Death Star teams of the 90s and 2000s.

And judging by the team’s revenue numbers steadily climbing in spite of some god awful puke-inducing baseball lately, there’s still hope.  People still want, wait, actually, NEED to believe in this team again.

Next: David Price Signing a Symbolic Change for Red Sox

What’s the easiest way to make sure you’re financially successful in pro sports?

Take it away, John Madden: “Just win, baby!”

And signing David Price, no matter what cost, was the best chance the Red Sox have to get back to what their fans crave (and pay for): winning.