Thursday, March 2, 2017

David Price's Elbow Hurts and So Does My Heart

Reports are out all over Red Sox Twitter this morning that David Price has been scratched from his next start with elbow/forearm soreness. He got an MRI and apparently didn't like the results, because he's getting a second opinion. That's right, our $217 million man is visiting the dreaded office of Dr. James Andrews, Tommy John surgery extraordinaire.

So, to recap, the Red Sox signed Price to a 7 year, $217 million contract before the 2016 season. Price proceeded to underperform expectations, not pitch "like a true ace", and lost yet another postseason game running his postseason record as a starter to 0-8. And now it looks like he'll need Tommy John surgery and be out until late in the 2018 season, and really not back to top form until the 2019 season. For those counting at home, by the time April 2019 rolls around, the Red Sox will have paid Price around $90 million. It reminds this blogger of the John Lackey contract - a less-than-stellar beginning in Boston, looked like the worst contract in the history of sports for most of it, then a major injury and rehab, but rebounded to become a vital part of the 2013 championship team before being traded away. Let's hope at least that last part comes true for Price, who even before this injury was dealing with headlines in the Boston Globe like "Will Boston Ever See the Good Old David Price?"

Now, before we go any further I would like to add this important disclaimer: David Price was good last year. Really good. He led the American League in innings pitched and games started (seems like an important part of "pitching like an ace!"). His K/9 was just 0.3 less than in 2015. He won 17 games and struck out 228 batters, good for the second-highest total of his career. His control was slightly worse than normal, posting his highest BB/9 in four years (2.0), and a few more balls left the park pitching in Fenway, resulting in his highest HR/9 in his career (1.2). But David Price is still a damned good pitcher, folks. His absence hurts.

Finally, what will this do to the Red Sox rotation? Well, this article claiming that Drew Pomeranz wants zero part of being put in the bullpen might not matter, since the big lefty will most likely now be firmly entrenched in the top five. Sox rotation will shake out like this if in fact Price is out for 2017:
1. Chris Sale
2. Rick Porcello
3. Eduardo Rodriguez
4. Steven Wright
5. Drew Pomeranz

That's still a pretty damned good starting rotation. The Chris Sale trade is looking better and better. My only issue is this: what happens when another starter gets hurt? The depth beyond this is scary - anyone want to see more of Henry Owens starting games for Boston? Me either. Brian Johnson anyone? Eh. Clay Buchholz? He's wearing a Phillies uniform now. It gets scary quick down here beyond the top five. Get Brian Bannister on this quickly, we need another Rich Hill for depth.


  1. There is still a chance that Price won't need Tommy John, and Red Sox fans are holding out hope. At least we should be, but it certainly doesn't look good. If he does in fact need TJ surgery, this is the type of disheartening news that could derail an entire season.

    I heard Alex Speier on the Drive show on 92.9 the Ticket the other day and he said that the Red Sox everyday lineup was historically healthy last year. With 7 guys playing 140 games or more and that had only happened like 14 times in the history of baseball. So we were bound to have more injuries to deal with this year. The team is talented enough to absorb some injuries, and still reach their goals, but it will certainly be more difficult. It is starting to feel like Dave Dombrowski has already built the Red Sox into the Detroit Tigers instead of the Chicago Cubs.

  2. It seems the Red Sox & David Price have dodged the TJ surgery bullet. But the specter will loom in the background each time Price takes the mound. With Sale, Porcello, and Price fronting the rotation the Sox have the best starting pitching in baseball. If Price goes down, they still have a chance to have the best rotation and to win the AL. Much easier road with Price. And as of now it seems Price will be able to contribute.