After the blockbuster signing of starting pitcher David Price last offseason, it looked as if Boston got their ace they so desperately were in search for.
Even though the lefty collected 17 wins in 2016, it still wasn’t the season that was expected. Price gave up the most hits in the league with 227, his ERA was just below four at 3.99 and he had the most losses in his career since the 2014 season.
What seemed to be the most frustrating was that after his starts, Price would take to social media vowing how he would make Red Sox Nation love him and how he would pitch better in his next start.
It became clear that he seemed to be more concerned about what the fans thought about him than how he did on the mound. But we’ll dive into that later in this article.
Rewinding to October when the Red Sox were in the American League Division Series, Price got the ball for Game 2 against Terry Francona and his Cleveland Indians.
Although the playoff record for the pitcher was less-than-desirable at 0-7 as a starter, maybe pitching for the Sox would break the winless playoff curse.
And after the Sox were eliminated from the playoffs, Price took off for a vacation in Hawaii and once again, took to Twitter and tweeted out that he couldn’t lose a playoff game because he was in Hawaii.
I’m glad he can poke fun at himself, but it goes beyond making fun of himself because deep down, Price cares way too much about what the general public thinks about him.
And that’s going to become a big problem for the 2017 season:
All eyes are going to be on Price going into the season. After president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski traded for starting pitcher Chris Sale, many wondered where Price would end up pitching in the rotation. Especially with Rick Porcello dominating the 2016 season and winning the Cy Young, it is thought Price would go from the number one starter to the number three.
Concerns for Price started to rise early because after his Spring Training start, it was reported he began to feel discomfort in his throwing elbow the following day and he was flying to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis to meet with Dr. James Andrews.
Luckily, Price only needed medication and rest before he started throwing again. He threw about 25 pitches into a net on Saturday and Red Sox manager John Farrell said everything seems positive, despite it being early in the recovery.
It’s still unsure whether Price will start the season on the disabled list, but let’s look ahead to what the 2017 season may have in store for the starting pitcher.
What will happen in 2017:
Price will be the number three starter in the rotation behind Porcello and Sale. However, his wins and how well he pitches will depend more on his mentality than the strength of his elbow.
Last week, Price came out and said the Red Sox fans did not know him as a person, and didn’t care about who he was and just cared about how well he pitched.
It’s clear Price is sensitive and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if he wants to have a successful 2017, he needs to man up, stop scrolling through Twitter and finding “mean tweets” about him, stop mocking himself about his playoff record and most of all, stop caring so much about what the fans think.
The more he lets that get into his head, the more it will bring him down as a pitcher. We know he’s capable of being a solid starting pitcher. The fans have witnessed it. But pitching in Boston is much different than pitching anywhere else.
Look at Carl Crawford – he was a player that Boston looked forward to having, but he couldn’t handle the kind of market Boston was and that ultimately ran him right out of town.
The fans will turn on you quickly and won’t be shy about letting you know. They’ll tweet mean things to Price, they’ll boo him off the mound.
And Price needs to be the bigger person and just ignore it all.
Price’s season will go one of two ways: either he will continue to be the sensitive guy that he is who cares way too much about what everyone thinks about him, which will lead to a bad season with 12-14 wins and an ERA over four.
We’ll continue to hear “I need to pitch better,” and we’ll continue to see the “I’m going to make Red Sox Nation love me” tweets.
If Price can overcome the sensitivity, which he’s going to have to with a guy like Sale on the roster, he’ll have a bounce-back season with 18-20 wins. His ERA will be in the low threes or just under three and he will pitch like the ace he was signed to be.
He’ll sound more confident in his interviews and his “I need to pitch better” comments will turn into “It wasn’t my best start. I didn’t bring my best stuff. It is what it is. I’ll try again in five days.”
This is the David Price Red Sox Nation wants, needs and deserves. Not the whiny 30-year-old man-child who lets a few mean tweets get to him.
Even with Sale as the new guy on the team, a lot of eyes will be on Price this season.
So put the phone down David, log off of Twitter, and do what you came here to do.
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