DETROIT — David Price didn’t begin his career in Detroit, but he’s open to staying here.
Price, 29, spoke at Comerica Park before the Tigers left for their annual Winter Caravan.
Like Max Scherzer last year, Price is in the last season of his contract and can become a free agent if he chooses.
Or the Tigers could try to sign Price to a long-term extension.
Although there was a report last October that Price had had trouble adjusting to Detroit, he said that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be interested in staying.
"People have to understand, I was somewhere else for seven years," Price said. "I pitched against this team on July 4 weekend and three weeks later, I’m part of the team. That’s a difficult transition."
The Tampa Bay Rays drafted Price first overall in the 2007 draft and he ended up pitching in relief as a rookie in the 2008 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Until he was traded to the Tigers, Price had only experienced one organization.
Price pitched the final game of the season, throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings to help the Tigers defeat the Minnesota Twins and win the Central Division.
Although Price is in line to earn a budget-busting contract similar to Scherzer’s with the Washington Nationals, he said that isn’t his main concern.
"I don’t do it just for the money factor," Price said. "I just want to be happy, be comfortable. I’m the one throwing baseballs. I’m the one working out, so I want to be happy. That’s the biggest thing. The amount of joy that baseball brings me — I can’t take that away. I have to enjoy it."
Price enjoyed getting to know his new teammates through the second half of the season and interacting with Detroit’s rabid baseball fans.
Spending spring training with the team will only enhance that bond that has been created.
"It’s going to help a lot," Price said. "Not just being around the big-league guys, getting to know the minor-league guys that are going to be coming up if I did sign an extension here, the guys that are coming up in a year or two years. There’s a lot of Vanderbilt guys in this organization, so that’ll be awesome to be able to know those guys."
Price already knows young Drew VerHagen, 24, who came after him at Vanderbilt.
"I’ve talked to him some, just working out back at Vanderbilt in the offseason," VerHagen said. "He goes back pretty much every year. I’ve gotten to know him through that and he’s a great guy."
Price even said he wouldn’t mind if contract talks went on through the season.
"I don’t think it would affect me a whole lot," Price said. "Getting those amounts of money thrown in your direction, it’s got to make you feel good, it’s got to make you smile. It can’t be a negative thing, it’s got to be a positive thing."
Contract extension or not, Price is excited about the upcoming season.
"I enjoyed being in the clubhouse, in the dugout and pitching for these guys," Price said. "It was a lot of fun.
"We feel like we have some unfinished business and we’re looking to get after it."
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