A year after becoming a viable relief pitcher, Boston Red Sox lefty David Price must find a way to re-establish himself as a full-time ace for a team desperate for quality starting pitching.
Some believed this was the piece that Boston needed to finally make a run for the World Series, especially with a feasible lineup that still included David Ortiz. Others felt like no player is worth that type of money. Both parties had reasons to feel the way they did.
Sadly, neither 2016 nor 2017 ended the way Price or the team wanted it too. According to Baseball-Reference, after posting a 2.33 ERA with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015, Price finished with around a 4 in his first season with Boston. Although his ERA improved to a 3.38 in 2017, that was mostly due to a small sample size. He only started in 11 games that year because of left elbow issues.
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The Sox also finished with first-round playoff exits in each of those seasons. Part of that was because of lackluster offense; the other issue being a lack of pitching depth. Price’s injury was the epitome of that.
We did see some redeeming qualities in the division series against the Houston Astros last October, but that was solely out of the bullpen. In that series, Price pitched six scoreless innings of baseball, and looked like the ace that he always was. Now the question is, can he retain the magic he captured in the little time he was on the mound last postseason?
Price preview for 2018
The only way the Boston Red Sox can get back to the world series is if Price returns to full form. He needs to be worth the massive money the team pays him.
He really just needs to stay healthy. Whether that means tweaking his elbow motion slightly, or even just taking care of his entire body better, Price must stay on the mound. Boston already has an underwhelming pitching staff outside of Chris Sale.
Price has also had some drama off the field, especially when he had beef with Dennis Eckersley. Additionally, the fans have been harsh towards him in the past. If he continues to let issues like that bother him, it could be another disappointing year. However, if Price just lets his skills talk, we may be seeing a renaissance.
My prediction is David Price will surprise many with a bounce back year, and even if he doesn’t become that reliable ace again, at least he could be a locked-in second option.