BOSTON — Boston Red Sox left-hander David Price will stay with the team he led to a World Series title, declining a contract option on Wednesday that would have enabled him to become a free agent.
Price announced his decision on the field at Fenway Park before a victory parade, saying he came to Boston to win and that’s what the Red Sox did.
Price will earn $127 million over the next four years under the seven-year, $217 million contract he signed with Boston before the 2016 season that was at the time the richest ever for a pitcher. He has gone 31-19 with a 3.74 ERA in three seasons with the Red Sox, and this October he finally pitched like an ace in the postseason as well.
“To be able to come out on top and to be able to contribute in October, that’s why I play the game,” he said after getting the win in the World Series clincher, a 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night that brought the Red Sox their fourth title in 15 years — and Price his first championship ring.
“My confidence was never altered through however many seasons I’ve been to the playoffs, however many times I’ve failed in October, however many times I failed in the regular season or against the Yankees,” he said. “I always had belief in myself and my abilities. To be able to come through on this stage and in October for myself and for my teammates, I know I can do it now. And it’s always a good feeling to have. It’s just good to know.”
After losing the first nine playoff decisions of his career, Price was the winning pitcher in the AL Championship Series clincher against Houston, and then he won his first career World Series start, Game 2 against Los Angeles. He got two outs in Boston’s 18-inning Game 3 loss, then started on three day’s rest and delivered seven innings of three-hit ball to help eliminate the Dodgers.
“He joined us because he wanted to be part of what we had, and that is something that’s been on his back,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said after the clincher. “You know he can do it, but it’s nice to get it off his back.”
Despite his regular season prowess, Price had disappointed the Boston fans with his playoff ineffectiveness. He was booed off the field after recording just five outs in the Division Series against the New York Yankees — a record 10th straight playoff start resulting in his team’s loss.
Manager Alex Cora and his teammates never wavered in their support.
“He’s gotten a lot of crap, but man that guy showed up when it counted and it was unreal,” pitcher Joe Kelly said after the Red Sox finished off the Dodgers.
“This is awesome. He deserves this,” Kelly said. “He carried the flag for us. So many guys did this whole post-season but he stepped up in big way when we really needed it here.”
In all, Price was 3-1 with a 3.46 ERA this postseason and 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance against the Dodgers. The Boston Herald reported that Price lost a 3-2 vote to first baseman Steve Pearce for the World Series MVP.
“I’m very proud of him,” Cora said. “There’s a lot of people that gave up on him throughout the season. A lot of people that gave up on him after his outing against New York. But we knew that he’s one of the best pitchers in are the big leagues, and he cares. He wants to win, and finally (he has) his World Series win.”