For the second straight offseason, the Red Sox went out and acquired a left-handed ace this winter. This year it was Chris Sale, who came over in a trade with the White Sox. Last year it was David Price, who inked a seven-year contract worth $217 million. It's the richest pitching contract in baseball history.
Price's first season in Boston did not go very well. He went 17-9 with a 3.99 ERA (114 ERA+) in a major league leading 230 innings, which is not awful by any means. It's just not up to Price's standards. This is a guy who had a 2.97 ERA (130 ERA+) in nearly 1,300 innings from 2010-15.
Needless to say, when you make that much money and don't live up to the expectations, you're going to hear it from fans. That comes with the territory. Unfortunately, some fans took it extremely too far. Price told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe he heard racial taunts at Fenway Park last year:
By the middle of the season, Price said, some fans at Fenway Park heaped abuse on him when he warmed up in the bullpen before starts.
"It got pretty rough," he said. "If you don't like it, pitch better. That's all it is. Mike Brenly, our bullpen catcher, he stood up for me multiple times. The Fenway guards, too, [and] the bullpen cop."
Some of the taunts were racial in nature.
"I got it all," Price said. "It's all right. I don't care about that. My mom is white and my dad is black. I've heard that since I've been in school. There's nothing you can say to me that I haven't heard before. Your ignorance is not going to affect what I'm trying to do. But I feel sad it's still out there."
Fans are going to boo and there's nothing wrong with that. Again, it comes with the territory. Price was always going be under extra scrutiny given his contract. Expectations were sky high, understandably so.
That said, failing to meet those expectations doesn't give anyone the right to make racist remarks. That is inexcusable anywhere. At the ballpark, at home, wherever. Price basically shook it off and handled it well, but he's right, it is sad it's still out there.
Price insists he's going to be in Boston for the long haul -- "I'm staying right here. There was a reason I signed here and there's a reason I'll stay for six more years," said Price, who can opt out of his deal after 2018, to Abraham -- and expectations will remain high. If he fails to meet them, booing is inevitable. As long as race is kept out of it, it's fair game.