Thanks To David Price, the Red Sox Won’t Win in Real Life
By Cam Giangrande
Thanks to winning the first two games of their series in the Bronx, the Yankees have come all the way back from as many as 7.5 games behind the Red Sox, and are now one game ahead in the standings. It’s only May 10th.
There are always many storylines between these two teams; who knew that the video game Fortnite would potentially play a pivotal role in this rivalry, and in the Red Sox’ playoff hopes. Sox pitcher David Price has been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. Price LOVES playing video games. His most recent addiction is Fortnite. Extensive video game playing has been linked to cases of carpal tunnel syndrome…you can connect the dots.
Price is not a teenager, and he’s not a 20-something college student. He’s a 32 year-old grown man with a wife and son at home; not to mention his French Bulldog Astro, who needs to be walked from time to time. Price has said that sometimes after a night game he and other teammates will play until one or two in the morning, and that on off-days, they can really get into it and play for six or more hours at a time. I repeat, this is a grown man; who by the way, happens to “earn” 30 million dollars per year.
Confirmed David Price weaknesses:
-Fresh cut grass
-Pitching in Texas
— Rich Keefe (@Keefe21) May 10, 2018
Of course, Price isn’t the only player on the team who is playing this game. But since Price has been “enemy #1” with the Boston fans, he is the one who will feel their wrath. It’s always something with him. It’s either his thin skin, responding to criticism with tweets; or it’s his verbal assault on Hall of Fame pitcher, Dennis Eckersley, or his inability to stay healthy or productive. This issue is just the latest in a long string of issues between Price and the Boston fan base. And this issue will cost the team.
As it is, even with a healthy Price, the team needed to play at their peak to stay in the race with the Yankees. They started off with their best record ever, going 17-2. That early lead which was built up is completely gone. They were looking up at the Yankees entering play on Thursday. The Yanks have seemingly found their stride, with a record of 26-10, and are on pace to win 117 games. For their part, the Sox still own a 25-11 record, (8-9 since their torrid start), and are on pace to win 112 games. The question is, are the Sox closer to the 17-2 team they started as, or are they the 8-9 team they’ve been over these past 17 games? Without a healthy and productive Price for any significant period of time, they are definitely closer to the 8-9 team.
They still have a strong grip on the Wild Card. If the season ended today they would host the Los Angeles Angels, who they have a three game lead on. The Seattle Mariners are four and a half games behind the Sox, and the Toronto Blue Jays are five and a half games behind. It’s unlikely that two out of three of those teams will leapfrog the Sox. Even if the Sox only play .500 ball for the rest of the year, they’ll have a 88-74 record, which should be enough to be in the one game play-in.
But realistically they can kiss the division goodbye. The Yankees will soon take a real choke hold on the division and they won’t let go of it. Their goals are much loftier than merely winning the division this season. Last year they took the defending world champs to a seventh game in Houston. This season they want that seventh game to be in Yankee Stadium. To do that they’ll need to have the best record in the entire league. As of today they have a three and a half game lead over the Astros for the best record in the AL, and they manhandled them in Houston when they recently played them. Realistically, the Yankees will win the AL East by double digits, setting up a rematch of last year’s epic championship series against the Astros.
When the smoke clears it will be the Yankees who prevail and go onto the World Series. They will prove to have too much firepower. Working against Houston will also be the fact that their starters will have more pressure throughout the season with the Angels and Mariners staying in the AL West race. The Yankees’ path will be much easier, and they’ll be able to ideally set their pitching rotation heading into the playoffs. The Astros won’t ave that luxury.
For the Red Sox, this will be a season of “what ifs” and “what could have been”. The team that was built with the highest payroll, to win a World Series, will be taken down by a joystick.
And their prospects for next season aren’t any brighter. Price will undoubtedly not opt out of his contract, which has another four years and 127 million dollars remaining, and Hanley Ramirez appears likely to accumulate enough plate appearances for his player option of 22 million dollars to vest in 2019. When those two contracts are added to the Sox’ existing contracts, they will already be sitting with a 167 million dollar payroll. This figure doesn’t include their 21 arbitration eligible players, whose contracts total $41 million this season. Those contracts are sure to increase, but even if they did remain the same, the Sox will be looking at a 208 million dollar payroll heading into 2019…with a bunch of holes to fill.
As of today, they’ll be losing closer Craig Kimbrel to free agency; as well as starter Drew Pomeranz. Replacing those two players will cost in the neighborhood of 20 million dollars. That will take the team close to the 233 million dollar payroll they have this year. And remember, this offseason has the best free agent class in history. There is no way this Sox team as currently constituted can make a run at any top-tier free agent. Aside from that, beyond next season, the Sox have their own free agents to try and re-sign. After the 2019 season Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts will be free agents, and in 2020, Mookie Betts will be a free agent.
This Red Sox’ window is closing fast, and the future doesn’t look bright. Coming off back-to-back division titles; and with their new, young manager Alex Cora at the helm, no doubt Red Sox owner John Henry and GM Dave Dombrowski thought they put together a winner. Maybe it’s appropriate that this team who loves analytics; plugging everything into a computer to come up with an algorithm, turning baseball into a video game in many ways, will be done in by a real video game…and it will cost them 127 million dollars, and a whole lot more than that.
The next decade will belong to the Yankees. They have the payroll flexibility and the young stars to only get better. Add to that, most likely getting the dynamic Bryce Harper in free agency this offseason, and the Sox won’t have a prayer.
It’s amazing how poorly the Red Sox have been mismanaged. GAME OVER!