What if Price had never left the Rays?

by Gary Shelton on February 6, 2020

in general

He's rich. He has his celebrity. He has a World Series championship.

What, then, are we to make of the man who got away?

Now that he has been shipped to another team in another town, what are we to make of David Price, pitcher?

He is a Dodger now, an afterthought in the Mookie Betts trade (if a man making more than $30 million can be an afterthought). It's pretty heavy

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

thinking. He is supposed to make the Dodgers "dangerous," according to the articles.

In a way, however, wouldn't Price have been better -- riches aside -- if he had never left Tampa Bay?

Oh, it's the way it works. You know that. A large number of Rays wait for their big payday, and they sign their new deal as if they've been called up to the real majors. Price worked for relative peanuts in Tampa Bay, and in return, he gave the Rays his best days.

Sometimes, don't you wish you could live two lives, one for profit and one for performance?

Since he went to Boston four years ago, Price has earned $121 million. He has another $96 million due.

But for all of that cash, Price has won 11.5 games a year for the Red Sox. How many of you were thinking that Boston expected more? He won seven games last season. He won six in 2017.

By comparison, Price was excellent when he was in Tampa Bay. In 2010, he was second in the Cy Young voting and earned a relatively meager $1.8 million. In 2012, he made $4.3 million dollars and won 20 games and the Cy Young.

In those days, he was a big, goofy kid on the days he didn't pitch. Fans loved him. He was the guy standing on the dugout steps, encouraging his teammates. He was the guy who volunteered to manage once when Joe Madden was ejected. He was the guy ambling around the field with his pet dog.

And then the big money came, and the big pressure, and the big letdown.

Oh, Price still had "stuff." He could still take over a game. But it didn't happen as often. The fear factor had faded.

It happens. Statistics show that players put up most of their numbers before they get into the big money and spend the rest of their days chasing their potential. Price played with great, expensive teams (who stole signs) in Boston. And he won 11.5 games a year. It was hardly worth his sniping at Dennis Eckersley.

Here? Here, he was a big deal. Remember his performance as a rookie, when he helped the Rays get to the World Series? Remember him beating the Rangers in the playoffs, then locking eyes with Evan Longoria when the game was over. Remember his Cy Young season when he baffled hitters?

It was a good time in the life of the Rays. Also, in the life of Price.

In another time, the Rays would have kept Price for the long haul. The money wasn't as bloated, and there was no free agency. You can imagine him staying, along with Carl Crawford and Longoria and James Shields and Ben Zobrist.

We'd be better off.

In some ways, so would Price.

Previous post:

Next post: