David Price is ready to turn over a new leaf in more ways than one in 2018.
The Boston Red Sox pitcher finished the 2017 season on a high note, but it was otherwise a season from hell. An arm injury limited Price to just 11 starts, and when he returned for the stretch run, he was used out of the bullpen. Off the field, he butted heads with the media on multiple occasions, most notably a run-in with Hall of Famer and NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley on the team plane.
Unsurprisingly, Price is ready to put everything behind him. He admitted Tuesday he could have handled things differently in 2017.
“I could have handled it better last year, absolutely, but I didn’t and I’ve moved on,” Price told reporters Tuesday at Red Sox spring training in Fort Myers. “I look forward to getting back this year and getting back off on the right foot.”
The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy pressed Price on whether he’d be willing to talk to Eckersley in order to presumably bury the hatchet. The southpaw said that if Eckersley wants to talk, he’s willing to talk, too.
Price also sounds committed to Boston for the long term. He has the ability to opt out of his contract after the 2018 season, but it’s hard to see that happening. Unless Price truly is miserable in Boston, it simply wouldn’t make sense for him to walk away from what would be another four years and $127 million. That’s especially true given not only the questions about his health and his age (32), but baseball’s sketchy free agent market also should be a consideration. Price will make more over the next four years than the recently signed (and younger) Yu Darvish will make over the course of his six-year contract with the Chicago Cubs.
So unless Price hits rock bottom, he’ll be here for the long haul. He’s also optimistic about the lessons he’s learned through his first two seasons with the Red Sox.
“Honestly, I feel like it’s pretty straightforward,” he said. “You know what you’re going to get. If you go out there and pitch well, play well, you’re gonna have the support. That’s something I’ve said for a very long time, and it’s something I took from James Shields: if you don’t like it, pitch better. That’s always the motto. Whether you’re going good or you’re going bad, you can always make things better by pitching well.”