The Boston Red Sox have finished in last place for three of the past four seasons. Following an eventful offseason, they believe they’ve taken serious steps to alleviate the problems that plagued them in the past.
One of those steps was signing free agent David Price to the richest contract ever received by a pitcher, slotting a legitimate ace into Boston’s No. 1 spot in the rotation. But despite owner John Henry’s assessment that the team had “perhaps overly relied on numbers” the last few seasons, president Dave Dombrowski suggested that, without the numbers, Price might not be in Boston.
“For me, it’s a matter of using all of that information as much as you possibly can,” Dombrowski said Friday, via MassLive.com. “So is the analysis process, the final decision being made, less on the analytics? I can’t really answer that. But I can say that I have much more thorough analytical information than I ever had to work with. We have a great analytical department, they supply a lot of information.
“Signing somebody like David Price, when you’re dealing with that type of contract, I don’t think we would have signed him even with the scouting aspect, which is so important, without the analytical end of it. So I think it’s a combination. You combine them both.”
Dombrowski clarified that the stats weren’t everything, but they definitely played a major role given the combined risk of both Price’s age and contract.
“I wouldn’t say that I would not have wanted to sign him,” Dombrowski added. “But without that supporting evidence, how we think he would age from a statistical perspective and why the difference is in the pitch mix at this point. So David has already shown you, which you wouldn’t necessarily rely on just your eyes, but from a statistical perspective, all of the sudden he’s 97 and that velocity, but now you can see he’s also mixed in the cutter and a certain percentage, he’s mixed in the change, his curveball is improved.”
In other words, the Red Sox already knew Price was a great pitcher but were far less concerned about how his $217 million arm will age after consulting the numbers than they would have been without them.
That’s a balance everyone can get behind.
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