He looks like a perfect ace – tall, lean, and a low ERA. History supports him, with a 2.45 ERA in the 2015 season. David Price seems as though he descended from heaven, uniform and all, to bless which ever team has enough money to buy him. But Price is better in Boston, or at least, away from Toronto. Blue Jay fans should be thankful they weren’t “blessed” with the “gift” of Price, and be thankful for the two, “second tier” starters Toronto management did sign, Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, even if they don’t appear as all-stars.
This offseason, the city of Toronto pleaded wherever they could to bring Price back to Toronto. The website anypricefordavid.com even pushed the boundaries of begging, with some stating they would “go streaking on the field the next time the Padres came to town” if David Price remained in Toronto. All of that came to rest when Price signed a seven year, $217 million contract with the division rival Red Sox, one of the largest in history for a pitcher. But David Price is better in Boston. In his 11 games with the team so far, Price has a dismal 5.11 ERA, despite seven wins and one loss. His WHIP (BB+H/IP) is the highest in his career since 2009, which was just his second season in the majors. Needless to say, David Price has been a dramatic disappointment for the Fenway Faithful.
J.A. Happ spent four disappointing years in Toronto, after initially being traded to the team from the Astros in 2012. His ERA over that span was 4.18, and Blue Jay fans were certainly happy to see him go. In the offseason of 2014, Happ was traded to the Mariners for Michael Saunders, where he made 20 starts, much to the same effect as with the Blue Jays, before being traded to the Pirates. Then things turned around. After working with a familiar pitching coach, Happ’s ERA in 11 starts with Pittsburgh was 1.85 with 69 strikeouts. In the offseason, he found his way back north of the border with a three year, $36 million deal that many (including myself) deemed insane. Fans questioned which Happ would show up in Toronto – Seattle or Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh. So far this season, Happ has a 3.20 ERA in 10 starts, with a 1.175 WHIP. His salary this season? $10 million. David Price is being paid triple – yes, triple – that, and is nearly twice as bad.
Adam Lind was a Blue Jay for his entire career before being traded to the Brewers in early November, 2014, for a pitcher with a ballooned ERA and one of the highest HR9 ( HR * 9/IP) of his career at 1.7. This pitcher, Marco Estrada, although not realized at the time, would go on to become one of the best throwers in recent years for Toronto, providing a 3.13 ERA in 2015 with a 1.2 HR9. In his first year with the Blue Jays, Estrada got paid a measly $3.9 million, before the Blue Jays signed him to a two year, $26 million contract. In the 2016 season, Estrada is being paid $11.5 million, which is a bargain for his skill on the field. Compared to David Price’s 2015 salary, it is nearly one third for a pitcher an order of magnitude better.
Combined, Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ are being paid a total of $21.5 million this season. For the skills they posses, the total price would be a bargain for just one of them, let alone both. Price, with his 5.11 ERA, is being paid $30 million, while he is an order of magnitude worse. David Price is far better in Boston, Blue Jay fans.