The Continuous Futility of the New York Yankees Offense

New season, same haunting issue. The New York Yankees, despite a number of big name bats scattered throughout their lineup, have once again found themselves in murky waters offensively.

The Yankees have changed hitting coaches, injected new players into the roster and also started a youth movement in the Bronx but despite those efforts the Yankees are cursed with a dreaded hex on their production with Runners In Scoring Position (RISP). It’s been the same-ole, same-ole in New York for the past few seasons.

This is nothing new to Yankee fans who have had to suffer their inept hitting with runners on base for several seasons (documented in 2012 ) and their struggles against left-handed pitching.

In the small sample size that has been the 2016 MLB regular season it’s evident the Yankees simply haven’t improved, and some would argue they are markedly worse, hitting with RISP and have continued being dominated against lefty pitchers.

The constant struggles have New York positioned last in the AL East and many fans are coming to a the sobering realization that this could be a brutal season to live through if the Yankees continue down this path.

It’s true that the Yankees could turn it around and solve their issues, but these issues have been prevalent for so many years it’s hard imagining they can magically snap out of it with a team meeting, some tweaks by the hitting coach, a shuffling of the lineup or a pep-talk by manager Joe Girardi.

Take this into account; in their last three series, against the Tamp Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners, the Yankees posted a 3-6 record. But that’s not the key issue, they left 76 runners on base combined in those three series. Against Seattle they left 12 runners on base in one game only to leave 14 runners on base in the same series. They left 8 or more runners on base in 5 of the 9 games I’m referencing.

All at Yankee Stadium, a hitters park.

Now, there is plenty of viable blame to go around. You can point to a number of Yankees and their abysmal batting averages such as Alex Rodriguez (.145), Mark Teixiera (.220), Chase Headley (.149) and a number of others, but that still wouldn’t be anything more than critical banter.

The fact is simple, the Yankees are paying a premium for bats that simply aren’t elite (or aren’t elite anymore) and have failed to bring along viable players in their farm system.

The Yankees are delusional, thinking that this type of play would net a winning season or even land them a playoff berth. They were fortunate that last season turned out the way that it did, kind of like the old saying goes; “Every now and then a blind squirrel gets a nut”.

It’s become a harsh state of reality for the Bronx Bombers and one that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

With aging and declining veterans such as A-Rod, Teixeira and Beltran still leaned on heavily and with 32+ players such as Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Brian McCann looking down a similar path in the near future, the best thing for the Yankees may be an abysmal season.

That way, maybe New York’s hands will be tied and they will have no choice but to pass the baton on to the likes of Aaron Judge, Rob Refsnyder and Gary Sanchez for the next generation of baseball’s most popular franchise.

It’s not to suggest that a more prominent youth movement is a magical solution to what has ailed the Yankees for so long, but staying the current course of  delusional thinking that aging and oft-injured players will carry New York to another World Series championship is simply counter-productive.

Maybe the Yankees can turn it around on their own and the blind squirrel finds the nut yet again, but it seems that the squirrel is too old and tired to do much of anything these days.

 

 

 

 

 

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Starlin Castro Makes History With New York Yankees

It hasn’t taken long for newly-acquired Starlin Castro to make an impact with his new team. In his first two games with the New York Yankees, Castro has a record seven RBIs. The previous Yankees record for RBI in a player’s first two games with the team was set by Todd Greene, who notched 6 RBIs back in 2001, according to STATS.

The former Chicago Cubs second baseman, who came over in a trade during the offseason, homered and drove in five runs, Mark Teixeira had four RBIs and New York dominated the Houston Astros 16-6 for the team’s first victory of the season Wednesday night.

“Starlin Castro is playing T-ball right now,” Yankees Carlos Beltran said. “It’s good to see him swinging the bat like that. He’s a big key.”

“I just want to be the player that I used to be, to show everybody that I can be the player that I am,” said Castro, who set a major league record with six RBI in his big league debut for the Cubs in May 2010 against the Cincinnati Reds.

“It’s a good opportunity for me to be in this organization,” Castro added. “I don’t really feel pressure either way, but I think here it’s less.”

“Nice pace that he’s on,” New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We felt that he would be big in our lineup, that he gave us a lot better balance than we’ve had.”

Teixeira and Castro each hit a three-run homer. Beltran homered as well and Castro finished with 4 of the 17 hits New York registered.

New York was able to bounce back after a subpar performance in their season opener against the Astros where Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel put in a strong start leading Houston to a victory.

Houston’s Collin McHugh had a rough outing

“We had a good game plan going in, but we didn’t expect him to walk so many guys,” Mark Teixeira said of McHugh, who allowed six base runners and recorded just one out.

“But this is what we’re capable of. It’s not gonna be like this every night, but when we have the entire lineup clicking, you’re gonna have a couple of nights like this and they feel good.”

“Today was a good game, but in the game of baseball, it’s not every day this happens,” Beltran said. “But we’re confident in the hitters we have.”

 

Can The Red Sox Reclaim The East?

Apart from a miraculous 2013 season that saw the Boston Red Sox once again as World Series champions, the team has spent the majority of the last five seasons in the American League East’ cellar.

In fact, the Red Sox finished at last place in consecutive seasons, 2014-2015, for the first time since the 1920’s (Boston finished in eighth place out of eight teams from 1922-1923 and 1925-1930 *they finished the 1924 season in seventh place*).

Nevertheless, the Sox managed to find success in the second half of last season by way of their younger players like Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Blake Swihart.

Add the off-season signing of David Price to the mix, giving Boston its first true Ace on the mound since Jon Lester’s departure, and the Red Sox are certainly in a position to manufacture more wins in 2016.

 

But can they go from worst to first again like they did in 2013 and reclaim the AL East division?

 

BaseballProspectus.com and their yearly PECOTA seem to think so:

 

Projected American League Final Standings for 2016

    Boston Red Sox                  87-75

Tampa Bay Rays               87-75

Toronto Blue Jays            86-76

New York Yankees          84-78

Baltimore Orioles           74-88

Ok, so technically they have the Red Sox tied with the Tampa Bay Rays at the end of 2016, which would result in one game playoff for the AL East title. And while tie-breakers are rare in baseball, only 14 have occurred in MLB history, you don’t have to look too far back to find the most recent example.

In 2009 the Minnesota Twins were tied with the Detroit Tigers both having a record of 86-76. The Twins defeated the Tigers in extra innings of their one game playoff contest, to capture the American League Central crown.

So, it’s possible (though highly unlikely) for a scenario like this to occur in the AL East for 2016.

Designated hitter David Ortiz is set to begin his 20th and final season in 2016. The Boston Red Sox will no doubt try to give “Big Papi” a retirement season to remember.(Chris O’Meara/Associated Press Photo)

 

 

The Red Sox will undoubtedly have the offense this year to earn them a championship in the east. With a lineup that includes David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Bogaerts, Betts, Rusney Castillo, etc. (as well as utility guys like Brock Holt and Chris Young), providing the Sox pitchers run support should not be an issue.

Speaking of pitching, Boston’s staff will ultimately be the difference between them taking home the hardware, and just barely making the post-season via the AL Wild Card this season. After Price, the rotation shakes down like this:

Sox Starters (Excluding David Price)

Clay Buchholz

Rick Porcello

Joe Kelly

Steven Wright

(Eduardo Rodriguez will eventually rejoin the rotation. He is currently recovering from a knee injury as he dislocated his knee cap. Rodriguez will begin the season on the disabled list.)

At first glance, Boston’s rotation appears capable of having success throughout the season. However, Buchholz (73-51 career win-loss record with a 3.85 career ERA), Porcello (85-78 total win-loss record and a 4.39 career ERA), and Kelly (31-22 career win-loss record with a 3.82 career ERA) have all been consistently inconsistent during their respective major league campaigns . Hence my reasoning for the rotation ultimately determining the teams 2016 outcome.

Steven Wright could be a “silver lining” though, as the knuckleballer has been impressive this spring and could become a key contributor in the end. The eventual return of Eduardo Rodriguez, should also help provide some re-assurance if it’s needed.

Final Thoughts:

The AL East has become one of baseballs toughest divisions from top to bottom of late. I could easily see four of the five teams in the division (the Sox, Jays, Rays, and Yankees) winning 85 or more games this season, and the race for first place will be closely contested.

If David Price can notch a 18-20 win season, with the rest of the rotation winning 10-12 games, and the everyday lineup stays healthy, I believe Boston can win its eighth AL East division title in 2016.

 

 

Orioles Sign Former Pirates Slugger Pedro Alvarez

The Baltimore Orioles just added some more depth, despite Spring Training being in full swing. Last Tuesday, the team reached an agreement with former Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman/first baseman Pedro Alvarez.

Alvarez and the Orioles agreed on a one-year, $5.75 million deal. Signing a contract in March is obviously pretty late. However, Alvarez still has enough time to get acquainted with his new team. It’s unclear right now what his role will be with Baltimore. A good left-handed power bat, the Orioles are going to want to fit him in somewhere in the lineup.

The only positions Alvarez has played in his career are third base and first base. He has also served as the designated hitter when the Pirates faced AL opponents. There’s no way he’s going to play first base, as that’s where Chris Davis plays. Davis is one of the Orioles’ most dangerous hitters. Alvarez won’t play much of third base either. Manny Machado occupies that position for the Orioles. Machado played in all 162 games in 2015. Another reason he probably won’t be playing much of the field is the fact that Alvarez isn’t really a good fielder. He made 27 errors at third base in 2013, and 25 the following year. The Pirates decided to turn him into a full-time first baseman for the 2015 season. The move didn’t really help, as he still committed 23 errors at his new position.

If he’s not going to play the field, then the only other option will be to have Alvarez be the Orioles designated hitter. That is, unless they decide to use him as a bench player. Mark Trumbo was originally going to be the DH for Baltimore this year. However, he can also play the outfield. It’s now much more likely that the Orioles start Trumbo in right field so Alvarez can be the DH. Both players have a lot of power, so it wouldn’t make sense to put one of them on the bench.

The Orioles’ outfield situation then becomes more complicated. Trumbo would most likely start in right field. Adam Jones is the team’s starting center fielder. Nolan Reimold is probably going to be the starting left fielder. That leaves Dariel Alvarez and Hyun Soo Kim as backup outfielders. Kim played in the KBO League in South Korea until the Orioles signed him to a two-year, $7 million contract back in December. Alvarez was set to be the starting right fielder this year for Baltimore, but that all now changes because of the signing of Pedro Alvarez. Both outfielders will most likely still see some playing time, but not as much as they would if Trumbo was still the team’s DH.

There’s a reason the Orioles need to get Alvarez in the lineup. The 29-year old has put up good power numbers in his career. His best year came in 2013 when he hit 36 home runs, which was tied for the most in the National League that season. That year, he also collected a career-high 100 RBIs and was named an All-Star for the first time. Last season, he hit 27 homers and drove in 77 runs. The Pirates are definitely going to miss his bat. He was one of the biggest power threats in their lineup.

Pedro Alvarez is going to have a major impact on the Orioles. Something that brought them down in 2015 was not having enough left-handed hitters. They were too dependent on righties to carry their lineup. With Davis, Reimold, and now Alvarez, they now have a more balanced lineup. Not only is Alvarez a left-handed bat, he’s also a great power hitter. This was a very smart signing. The Orioles are now a better team than they were at the start of Spring Training.

Will the Blue Jays Pay José Bautista?

One of the biggest stories in Spring Training thus far centers around Toronto Blue Jays outfielder José Bautista. The 35-year old slugger is in the final year of his six-year, $78 million contract with the team. He has already expressed his interest in staying in Toronto beyond 2016, but not without a lucrative deal.

The Blue Jays have already approached Bautista about signing a long-term contract extension. However, what he wants might be more than they’re willing to pay. It was reported earlier this week that he wants a five-year, $150 million extension. If the Blue Jays were to agree to this, it would mean that Bautista would make $30 million per year. That’s a lot of money to give a guy who turns 36 in October.

There’s no doubt that Bautista is a very talented player. He’s a six-time All-Star who has put up tremendous power numbers over the course of his career. He led the American League in home runs in 2010 and 2011 with 54 and 43 homers respectively. Over the last six years, he’s driven in over 100 runs in a season four times. Bautista’s value cannot be understated. However, he is getting older. With age usually comes a decrease in production. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t still be a good player. It just means that he won’t be hitting 40 plus homers in a season anymore.

This then begs the question, will the Blue Jays decide to pay Bautista what he wants? The answer- probably not. What he desires is not only a good amount of money, but a lot of years. If he signs a five-year deal, he’d be 41 by the time it’s up. The Blue Jays probably do not feel that he is worth $30 million a year for five more years. A few years ago, Bautista certainly would have gotten the contract he wants. Back then, he was in the prime of his career. As he advances into his mid-thirties however, he’ll be hard-pressed to find a team that will pay him that much.

What all of this means is that José Bautista will most likely be on another team in 2017. What team that might be remains unclear for now. One team that could possibly land him is the Boston Red Sox. They haven’t shied away from spending a lot of money on free agents recently. Look at the contract they just gave David Price. New general manager Dave Dombrowski has shown that he’s not afraid to be aggressive when it comes to free agents. He’s also not reluctant to spend money. Another reason why Boston would be a good fit for Bautista is he’s already familiar with the manager, John Farrell. He managed the Blue Jays from 2011-2012. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Bautista decided to reunite with his old manager.

It’s uncertain right now how the José Bautista situation will play out. Unless he lowers his asking price, it probably won’t end in him signing a contract extension with the Blue Jays. Will another team give him all the money he wants? Considering how much MLB free agents are getting paid today, it really wouldn’t be all that shocking.

Why Justin Morneau Makes Sense For the Yankees

On Monday, the New York Yankees received devastating news. It was announced that their young first baseman Greg Bird needed to have season-ending shoulder surgery. The initial injury to the shoulder occurred last spring, but Bird battled through it for the entire 2015 season. However, doctors recommended this week that he have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He underwent the surgery on Tuesday.

Obviously, losing Bird is not good for the Yankees. Although he was expected to begin the 2016 season in the minor leagues, it was widely believed that he would be called-up at some point during the season. The 23-year old made a good first impression last season, batting .261 with 11 home runs and 31 RBIs in just 157 at-bats. Being that Mark Teixeira’s health status is a big question mark, it would have been nice for the team to have Bird as a secondary option. Teixeira missed the last few weeks of 2015 due to a fractured shin. It was at that point that Bird took over as the everyday first baseman. He impressed many with his left-handed power, perfect for Yankee Stadium. Yankee fans got a glimpse of the future.

Right now however, the Yankees need to focus on signing another first baseman. There’s always the risk of the 35-year old Teixeira re-injuring himself. He’s been very injury-prone over the last few years. Justin Morneau is the perfect fit for them.

Currently a free agent, Morneau makes a lot of sense for the Yankees. A four-time All-Star, he’s a veteran left-handed power bat that can still play first base. Right now, he’s the ideal backup first baseman for Teixeira. When Alex Rodriguez needs an off-day, Morneau could also serve as their designated hitter.

Morneau, 34, is a 13-year veteran. In 2006, he won the AL MVP, batting .321 with 34 home runs and 130 RBIs. After spending almost 11 full seasons with the Minnesota Twins, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in late 2013. He signed a two-year contract with the Colorado Rockies the following offseason. Morneau won the NL batting title in 2014, hitting .319.

Although Morneau had a sort of career resurgence in 2014, this past season didn’t fare so well for him. He battled through a few injuries, including a concussion and a neck injury. He only had 168 at bats in 2015, hitting three home runs and collecting just 15 RBIs. This subpar season was really due to Morneau’s injuries. He’s healthy as of right now.

It would be foolish if the Yankees didn’t take a hard look at Justin Morneau. They don’t need him to be the MVP player he was in 2006, or even the batting champion he was in 2014. All they need is for him to be a serviceable backup first baseman who will be prepared to step in if Mark Teixeira gets injured. There are other options out there at first base, but Morneau is the best available one. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman needs to make a call. He better do it before someone else does.

 

Why the Orioles Cannot Keep Waiting For Chris Davis

While the MLB offseason continues, the Baltimore Orioles continue to negotiate with slugging first baseman/outfielder Chris Davis. Now it appears as though Davis is willing to sign a one-year contract with a team. However, the Orioles cannot continue to let the negotiations with him hinder them from making other moves this offseason.

The Orioles have to realize that at this point, paying Davis might not be worth it. Even if they brought him back on a one-year deal, the team would still have the same problem next offseason. They know that he eventually wants to sign a lucrative, long-term contract. Signing Davis to a one-year deal would just mean delaying the inevitable.

Davis, 29, has been with the Orioles since late 2011. He was traded to them along with pitcher Tommy Hunter from the Texas Rangers in exchange reliever Koji Uehara. Davis had immediate success in Baltimore, taking advantage of the shorter dimensions of Camden Yards. His best season came in 2013 when he belted 53 home runs and drove in 138 runs. He led the AL in both categories that year. He led the AL in homers again last season when he hit 47. Davis has one of the best power bats in all of baseball. If the Orioles do not sign him, another team certainly will.

No matter how good Davis has been for Baltimore, the team cannot let him control their entire offseason. They’ve already made a couple of good moves, but talks with him have prevented them from doing anything else. Back in early December, the Orioles acquired first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo and relief pitcher C. J. Riefenhauser from the Seattle Mariners for catcher Steve Clevenger. Like Davis, Trumbo is a power-hitting first baseman that can also play the outfield. Although doesn’t put up quite the same power numbers as Davis, he has hit over 30 home runs in a season twice in his career. In addition to trading for Trumbo, the Orioles also signed Korean outfielder Hyun soo Kim to a two-year, $7 million contract. Kim will most start in left field for Baltimore next season.

Ultimately, the discussions with Chris Davis are preventing the Orioles from seriously getting involved with two major free-agent outfielders. These two players are Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton. It appears as though the market is finally starting to take shape for both of these free-agents. The Orioles have been linked to both, but are being held back by negotiations with Davis. Cespedes especially would be a really good fit for the Orioles. He’s a good defensive outfielder with a great arm who is also a tremendous offensive player. As he showed with the New York Mets in August and September of last year, his bat can help completely transform an offense. He could be the type of impact power-hitting outfielder that Nelson Cruz was for the Orioles in 2014. Along with Adam Jones and Hyun soo Kim, Baltimore would have three very good offensive outfielders. Upton is a good player, but wouldn’t have quite the impact that Cespedes would. No matter what though, they cannot seriously talk to Cespedes or Upton until they decide to move on from Davis.

The Orioles need to decide what they’re going to do about the Chris Davis situation sooner rather than later. If they really feel that he’s worth it, then they should go all in on him and offer him a long term contract. It wouldn’t make sense for them to offer Davis a on-year deal and then go through this again next offseason. If he continues to keep them waiting, they need to realize that it’s time to move on. Trumbo could basically be his replacement. Cespedes and Upton won’t be free-agents forever. Eventually, they will be signed. If the Orioles continue to let Davis control their offseason negotiations, they’ll risk missing out on both players entirely.

 

Yankees Patience Pays Off With Aroldis Chapman Trade

It’s no secret that the New York Yankees like to make a big splash every offseason. Whether it’s a single big-ticket free agent signing or several big-money purchases the Yankees have never shied away from the free agency market every offseason.

That’s what made this offseason a bit different. Before, during and after the annual Winter Meetings there was not headline stealing move made by the Bronx Bombers. A few minor moves here and there, but the Yankees didn’t make their signature “big move”. It seemed that New York was indeed dedicated to staying the course, with a few minor tweaks, heading into the 2016 season.

That was until Monday’s trade was announced.

Cincinnati Reds’ closer phenom Aroldis Chapman was traded to the New York Yankees for four prospects; right-handers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda.

The move bolstered an already dominant bullpen and will now feature Chapman alongside Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.

“We felt this was an opportunity for us to add a big arm to our bullpen,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

A baseball source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN’s Wallace Matthews that the Yankees made the trade with the Reds knowing both Florida law enforcement officials and Major League Baseball are continuing to investigate the October 30th incident in which Chapman allegedly choked his girlfriend and then fired eight shots from a handgun in the garage of his Davie, Florida, home.

The source said the Yankees believe Chapman, who was not charged with domestic violence due to insufficient evidence, might still be suspended by MLB for up to 45 days.

“That was the risk they were willing to take,” said the source.”If he has to sit out the first 30 or 45 days, [the Yankees] felt he was worth it.”

“Certainly, there are some serious issues here that are in play,” Cashman said. “I acknowledge that’s an area clearly of concern, and I think it certainly is reflective of some of the acquisition price, and there’s risk, and I understand that.”

Aside from Chapman’s person issues the Yankees landed the uber-talented pitcher for a relatively low price, as none of the included prospects were considered “elite” by the Yankees organization. The dissolved trade that would have sent Chapman to the Los Angeles Dodgers certainly drove down Chapman’s value on the market.

If Chapman is spared a major suspension and can avoid any further legal troubles the Yankees will boast the majors most imposing bullpen.

Then and only then will we know if the organization’s patience and perceived risk will truly payoff.

In the meantime, the Yankees have to feel pretty good about how the past 48 hours played out and how the 2016 regular season is starting to shape up for the team.

 

David Price Agrees to Mega-Deal With Red Sox

After missing out on signing Jon Lester last offseason, the Boston Red Sox went through the 2015 season without a true ace. Going into the offseason, newly appointed President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski knew that his number one priority was to sign a top pitcher. On Tuesday, he did just that.

The Red Sox and veteran lefty David Price have agreed to a seven-year, $217 million contract. The signing was first reported by Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe on Tuesday evening. The contract includes a clause where Price can opt-out after three years. The deal is the most lucrative ever for a pitcher. It’s even larger than the seven-year, $215 million contract extension that Clayton Kershaw signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers following the 2013 season. Price will make about $31 million a year with the Red Sox, making him one of the highest-paid players in all of baseball.

Price is no stranger to the AL East. He was with the Tampa Bay Rays for almost seven years. The Rays traded him to the Tigers at the trade deadline in 2014. He played in Detroit for a year, and then found himself back in the AL East when he was traded at the deadline again, this time to the Toronto Blue Jays. Price’s contract was up at the end of 2015, and the Red Sox jumped at the opportunity to sign the five-time All-Star.

While it may be true that the Red Sox might have overpaid a little for Price, he has proven that he’s a legitimate ace and one of the best pitchers in baseball. In his time with the Rays, he went 82-47 with a 3.18 ERA. His best season in Tampa was in 2012 when he went 20-5 with an ERA of 2.56. Price won the AL Cy Young Award that year for the first and so far only time in his career. This past season, he went a combined 18-5 with the Tigers and Blue Jays and finished with a career-best 2.45 ERA. He finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting behind Dallas Keuchel. The reality of it is that if the Red Sox didn’t offer Price this much money, another team probably would have. Good players are always going to get the big contracts.

As good of a career as Price has had, his only achilles heel has been the postseason. In 14 career postseason games, he’s 2-7 with a 5.12 ERA. Most recently, he struggled with the Blue Jays in the 2015 postseason, going 1-2 with an ERA of 6.17 in 23.1 innings pitched. Despite going to the playoffs six times with three different teams, Price has never won a championship The closest he came was in 2008 when the Rays lost in the World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Since being traded from the Rays, Price has certainly had a wild year and a half. The Red Sox will be his fourth different team in the last two years. Boston will be his third stop in the AL East. If he does not opt-out, Price will be 37 when his contract with the Red Sox is up. Boston could be his final destination.

Dombrowski is already being very aggressive this offseason. He acquired All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres in November. Now he’s signed one of the top free-agent pitchers on the market. We’ll see if his efforts pay off next season for the Red Sox. Only time will tell.

 

David Price, Jordan Zimmermann, And Why Pitchers Are Getting Overpaid

$217 million. That is how much the Boston Red Sox signed David Price for this past week . That makes him the seventh highest paid player in baseball right now, and the highest paid pitcher in MLB history. Price is not the first pitcher to get paid recently, as eight of the top 20 contracts in baseball right now belong to pitchers, with Clayton Kershaw holding the previous top spot with his $215 million contract from the Dodgers.

Now $217 million is an egregious amount of money to spend on any player, regardless of if they are a pitcher or not. But signing a pitcher to that type of money leads even more into a type of risk/reward payoff. It seems like the Red Sox are giving Price $200 million dollars to go out and throw a baseball as hard as he can every fifth day for seven years and crossing their fingers and praying for the best. The same could be said for the Detroit Tigers and Jorden Zimmermann. The Tigers inked Zimmerman to a five year-$110 million dollar contract – which next to Prices’ contract looks like peanuts – but is still a nice chunk of change for the veteran pitcher.

Now do not get me wrong, Price is a great pitcher. Despite the fact that he disappeared during last postseason, he is still one of the top tier pitchers in the MLB.  But will Price be a top tier pitcher in seven years? Probably not. Do the Red Sox care about that? Probably not.

Long-term contracts are just the norm in baseball. The baseball free agent landscape changed when Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Miami Marlins for 10 years-$325 million (which is too much money to pay anyone, but I digress.) Now everyone wants a contract where they know that they will have a place to play over the next half-decade, even if they do not deserve it, or it does not make any logistical sense for the team signing them.

Now the Red Sox should not expect Price to produce the way he does now in the later years of his contract. The Red Sox should probably expect a decline much like the Tigers Justin Verlander has been experiencing.

Prior to the 2013 season, Verlander signed a seven year-$180 million contract with the Detroit Tigers (Verlander was 30 when he signed his contract, the same age David Price is now) and Verlander  has slowly begun to decline since. He has had an E.R.A over three every year since 2013, and it ballooned to 4.54 in 2014, and he has also had a very pedestrian 33-32 record since 2013. That is not the type of production that you pay $180 million for.

Now David Price is pitching better than he ever has in his entire life currently. He very well have an amazing year next year, and his addition immediately makes the Red Sox a favorite for the AL pendent, but the Red Sox should legitimately be concerned that they may have paid $217 million for one or two years of dominance, and seven years of mediocrity.

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