BOSTON (CBS) — The previous regime in charge of the Red Sox stated on the record that a team does need an ace at the top of the rotation in order to compete for a championship. The new regime? Different philosophy.
That is, apparently, the case after Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal said on MLB Network on Monday that Dave Dombrowski is willing to be the highest bidder on free-agent pitcher David Price … and/or free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke. Rosenthal clarified that this was merely his opinion, but for someone as plugged-in as Rosenthal, his opinion carries a lot of weight.
Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci also said that he “believes” that Price will end up signing with the Red Sox. Dombrowski, according to Verducci, is “all in.” Verducci expects Price to end up in Boston.
Like Rosenthal, this was an opinion from Verducci, but clearly when baseball voices as loud as Verducci’s and Rosenthal’s are aligned on an offseason story as major as this one, it’s an indication that there’s at least smoke emanating from the offices of 4 Yawkey Way.
The 30-year-old Price and 32-year-old Greinke represent arguably the two best pitchers on the free-agent market. Only Johnny Cueto and maybe Jordan Zimermann could enter the conversation.
Price is coming off a season in which he went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA for the Tigers and Blue Jays. In his career, he has a 3.09 ERA in more than 1,400 innings for the Rays, Tigers and Blue Jays. His postseason resume is not quite as impressive, as he is 2-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 14 appearances. As a starter in the playoffs, he is 0-7 with a 5.27 ERA. Nevertheless, Price’s regular-season performances have been enough for him to win the 2012 AL Cy Young and finish second in Cy Young voting in 2015.
Greinke, meanwhile, is coming off a season in which he went a ridiculous 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA. He, too, finished second in Cy Young voting in 2015 in the National League, finishing in the top 10 for the third straight season. In his career with the Royals, Brewers, Angels and Dodgers, he owns a 142-93 record with a 3.35 ERA. In nine career postseason starts, he is 3-3 with a 3.55 ERA.
It’s impossible to forecast exactly how much each pitcher will fetch in free agency, but there’s little doubt that both will cash in with contracts around $30 million per season over the net five to seven years.
Last season, with Jon Lester long gone and with no discernible ace on the pitching staff, the Red Sox ranked 13th out of 15 AL teams in starters’ ERA.
Felger & Massarotti reacted to the news on Monday afternoon. Listen below: