By Danny Picard
BOSTON — Only David Price knows what he wants. But we all know that after this season, he has options.
Next winter, Price can choose to either stay in Boston for the final four years of his seven-year, $217 million deal, or he can pack his bags and escape while he has the chance.
Price has an opt-out clause in his contract after 2018. That leads to questions about the future, but also, plenty of optimism for the present.
Full disclosure: I’ve never talked to Price, the Red Sox pitcher. I’ve been part of several media sessions that he held in the visitors’ clubhouse at Fenway Park while he played for the Tampa Bay Rays, while I was still a reporter on the scene. I’m not on the scene anymore, and I haven’t been since Price came to Boston.
That’s important to know, because I’m not pretending to be inside of Price’s head here. I’m just stating the facts.
And the fact of the matter is, Price can choose to leave after this season, if he wants.
Another fact is, Price has let the overly demanding and sometimes bitter atmosphere in Boston get the best of him. He admitted such when talking to the media at the beginning of spring training last month.
“I could have handled it better last year, absolutely” said Price.
That’s not to say his off-the-field reactions to the media affected his on-field production. Injuries were the cause of a disappointing second year with the Red Sox in 2017.
Price made just 11 starts due to elbow soreness that lingered throughout the season. He returned in mid-September, strictly as a reliever, and allowed zero runs in 8.2 innings out of the bullpen, while striking out 13.
In the postseason, Price was the Red Sox’ most reliable arm. He made just two appearances out of the bullpen in the ALDS against the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros, allowing zero runs in 6.2 innings and striking out six.
Everyone in Boston hopes it’s a sign of things to come in 2018.