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Daily Red Sox Links: I Believe in David Price

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David Price has not always had it easy in Boston, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be great in 2018. Plus a review of Robbie Ross’ terribly short 2017 and more free agent thoughts.

Boston Red Sox Spring Training Workout Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The narrative surrounding David Price has been a largely negative one over the last two seasons. It stems mainly from the idea most people have that David Price has been a bust with the Red Sox. After he signed a seven-year, $217 million deal in December of 2015, the left-hander started his Boston career with an uninspiring 2016 campaign and then injuries and some scuffles with the media torpedoed his 2017.

But if you look at his overall body of work, Price has been far from bad. Across 304 23 innings he has produced a 3.84 ERA, 3.61 FIP and 117 ERA+, meaning he has been pretty safely above league average. Now, I understand that being merely better than league average isn’t what Price is being paid upwards of $30 million to do, but the negativity surrounding him has gotten out of control.

Speaking of things Price wasn’t supposed to be paid to do, how about when he worked out of the bullpen last fall? Even if it wasn’t his first choice, he went in and filled the role of a long reliever and absolutely crushed it. In the second half of 2017 he looked like the pitcher that was promised, striking out 26 batters in 21 23 innings while posting a 2.08 ERA across seven games, including two starts. Then he went to work in the playoffs and instead of being the unreliable October thrower he has been pegged as, he was lights out, not allowing a run in 6 23 innings of relief work against the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros. He was particularly incredible in game three when he fanned four batters across four shutout innings in Boston’s only win in the ALDS.

With all of the different roles Price has played (ace, disappointment, villain, relief dynamo), he has produced largely favorable results and is entering 2018 healthier than he was a year ago as far as I can tell. In addition, he is coming off his best stretch of pitching in a Red Sox uniform. Obviously succeeding out of the bullpen is different than being a dominant starter, but with an offseason to get his stamina back up, Price should come out firing bullets once again and be more of the pitcher the Red Sox signed back in December of 2015.

Price should also get a real boost since he is a big fan of Alex Cora, even though he maintains that he never had a big issue with John Farrell. (Christopher Smith; MassLive)

Price is also aware that his contentious relationship with the media got the better of him. (Mike Cole; NESN)

Scott Lauber takes a look at the projected rotation and what needs to be done by each member of the staff to ensure success. Shout out to doof54 for bringing it to my attention. (Scott Lauber; ESPN)

Robbie Ross only pitched in eight games last season, and his results were pretty appalling (7.00 ERA) even if the underlying metrics didn’t completely abandon him (3.82 FIP). Still, it was pretty much a lost season for a player who (likely) isn’t going to pitch for the Sox in 2018. (Brett Cowett; BP Boston)

With money to spend and the free agent market still quiet, the Red Sox may be in a better position than we think. (Alex Speier; Boston Globe)