As we’ve heard from numerous corners of the baseball world, David Price
is a really good teammate, a notion that John Gibbons
“[Detroit manager] Brad Ausmus told me back when we first got him that this guy was one of the best teammates he’s ever been around,” the Blue Jays manager told WEEI.com in a recent phone conversation. “I can see what Brad was talking about.”
Price bought his teammates bathrobes and scooters. And he was the first one on the top dugout’s top step to applaud his teammates, while also offering the kind of work ethic befitting a staff’s ace.
But what about those questions that linger when it comes to justifying paying what it will take to reel in Price?
Gibbons said you shouldn’t be worried.
First, there is the anxiety some have in regards to Price’s postseason performance. As a starter in the playoffs, the lefty free agent is 0-7 (his teams have gone 0-8) with a 5.27 ERA.
As for Price’s most recent postseason run, with Gibbons’ Blue Jays, his club lost all three of his starts, with the pitcher 13 earned runs over 20 1/3 innings (5.75 ERA). (For what it’s worth, he did, however, allow just a .211 batting average against, striking out 21 and walking three.)
Still, the man who had to rely on him said such a hiccup shouldn’t be factored in when deciding on investing in Price.
“That doesn’t faze me one bit,” Gibbons said. “First off, he got us there. Without him we don’t get there. He pitched some good games for us in the playoffs. He gave up a couple of home runs and we didn’t score for him in a couple of games. But before that he was golden. That doesn’t faze me at all. I didn’t see any difference in his demeanor. Shoot, I would throw him out there any chance I got.”
Then there is pitching in Boston.
You can point to Price’s dominance in the American League East — a division he has participated in more than any starter in baseball since 2010. Or maybe you want to lean on the fact he has a 3.14 ERA over those 85 starts, going 43-20.
But there have been others who thought they knew what it was like to call Fenway Park their home because they played there a bunch as a visitor, only to understand the difference. Remember Carl Crawford? And, for Price the stops have been in Tampa Bay, Detroit and Toronto, none the baseball feeding frenzy that can be Boston.
Once again, Gibbons suggests it wouldn’t be a problem.
“He can handle anything,” he said. “As fun-loving as he is, he’s very professional and he understands who he is in the game. He understands he’s one of the top players and the responsibilities that go with that. He never backs away from an interview. He always holds himself accountable. And he’s been very successful in the American League East, so he’s played in Boston a lot, and he’s played in New York a lot. A lot of guys can’t pitch in places like that, but I would doubt that he would worry about it.
“You get some guys who are really good pitchers who kind of do their own thing and are kind of isolated. But he’s one of the boys. He’s a fun-loving guy. He’s the first one up to congratulate guys in between innings, or the starting pitcher. It’s authentic, too. He wants to fit in. He wants to be the leader of the staff, but he also just wants to fit in.”.
And in case Gibbons had any doubts about what made Price tick, it was during that much-scrutinized postseason run that the manager was truly sold on the southpaw.
“He came to me and said, ‘John, pitch me out of the bullpen.’ I was shocked,” Gibbons explained. “Here’s a guy who is going to be a free agent for the first time, sitting on a gold mine,and at the end of the year even though he’s tired and he’s telling me he would pitch out of the bullpen. I never expected that. He’s great.”