Did losing Anthopoulos cost Jays shot at re-signing Price, too?
Would the Toronto Blue Jays have signed David Price if Alex Anthopoulos were still making the team’s baseball decisions?
We can’t say it’s terribly likely, because it’s difficult to imagine the Jays matching Boston’s winning bid of $217 million over seven years.
But this much is known: Toronto would have offered Price a contract.
Sources say Anthopoulos began laying the groundwork to do so in August, before Mark Shapiro was named the team’s new president and CEO. Price, sources say, had genuine interest in returning to Toronto.
Ultimately, Anthopoulos rejected a five-year offer to remain the team’s general manager once it became clear he would no longer have the decision-making authority he enjoyed under former club president Paul Beeston.
Subsequently, Shapiro opted not to offer Price a contract. Shapiro determined that the team’s rotation dollars should be distributed among multiple starters (Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ and Jesse Chavez) rather than a single ace. Price’s average annual value of $31 million is roughly equivalent to what Estrada, Happ and Chavez will earn in 2016.
Could the Blue Jays have afforded Price? Yes, in theory, they could have. But the Jays chose quantity over quality — and there’s an argument to be made that they were wise in doing so. Toronto ended the season with little rotation depth in the upper minor leagues, and Shapiro wanted to spread the health and performance risk among multiple starters.
It could take several years to determine whether Shapiro made the correct calculation, but we know already that Anthopoulos would have taken a different approach with the former Cy Young Award winner.
When Blue Jays fans get their first look at Price in a Red Sox uniform — likely in April, during their first home series of the upcoming season — they’d be wise to applaud rather than boo. Price helped deliver the city’s first postseason appearance in more than two decades, and it’s difficult to blame a man for rejecting a contract offer that never happened.