To put it plainly, David Price has not been the ace pitcher the Red Sox thought they were getting when they acquired him in 2016.
Boasting a career 3.22 ERA, 1.144 WHIP and .651 win % (entirely against offensively superior AL competition), including 4 seasons as a Cy Young finalist (with one crown in 2012), Price is considered one of the best pitchers of the last decade. 2015 saw Price put together one of the best seasons of his career, compiling an 18-5 record with a 2.45 ERA with Detroit and Toronto. It was a performance that earned him a monster 7 year, $217 million contract from the Sox. Since then, though, he has experienced a rocky two years in Boston, plagued by both injury and inconsistency.
In his debut season in a Sox uniform, Price went 17-9 over 35 appearances. His 3.99 ERA, 1.204 WHIP and 30 HR allowed were all his highest totals since his rookie year of 2009. Price followed that up in 2017 by making only 16 appearances and posting a 6-3 record with 3.38 ERA and 1.192 WHIP. It was an improvement over his abysmal (by his standards) 2016, and to be honest, he looked really good in 5 appearances out of the bullpen after returning from an elbow injury in August, but it was still disappointing from a guy who the Red Sox organization invested so much money and hope in.
One of the biggest storylines in 2018 is how Price will perform. Will wee see the Price we saw at the end of last year, one who was very effective in locating all of his pitches and keeping batters off balance, or will we see the Price of 2016 and early 2017, who struggled with location and mental stability?
If he can return to his form from year’s past, he and Chris Sale make up perhaps the best 1-2 punch at the top of any rotation in baseball. If he falters and underperforms again, the Sox will be heavily reliant on Sale to put up Cy Young numbers again, and hoping for improvements from Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez in order to stay in contention vs. the vaunted Yankees in the AL East.