Red Sox

David Price doubles down on criticism of Dennis Eckersley: 'I just think it's trash'

David Price doubles down on criticism of Dennis Eckersley: 'I just think it's trash'

BOSTON -- David Price is not backing down.

Two years after his airplane confrontation with Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley permanently tarnished Price's reputation in Boston, the left-hander explained why he fired back at comments the broadcaster made in a recent Boston Globe profile.

Requesting to address the assembled media at about 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Price said that he offered to meet with Eckersley shortly after the 2017 incident and that he planned to apologize, but Eckersley didn't show.

Asked why Eckersley's comments bothered him, Price very calmly unloaded.

"The fact that it was two years ago, over two years ago now," Price said. "The fact that he wanted to move on and since then he's went on the radio and talked about it, done it again. In 2017 I addressed it. I told you guys in front of the camera that I wished I'd have handled it differently. I did it again in 2018 in spring training on day 1, I said the same thing.

"We had a meeting set up in 2017, here at the field, got here early. Hour and a half, two hours after I get here, they come and tell me that he's not coming. We had a meeting, he backed out. I was going to tell him. I apologize, I didn't handle it the right way, and it continues to come up. There's no reason for it. Honestly, I just think it's trash."

Price went on to praise Eckersley's Hall of Fame career before suggesting he was not a popular player.

"I saw his special on MLB Network. It was cool," Price said. "The one thing that definitely stood out to me, he had zero former teammates in that interview. Not one, talking about him. It was him, talking about himself.

"If anybody ever does a special on me after baseball, I won't need to go on that interview. I will have former teammates, I'll have former coaches, they can all vouch for me. He didn't have that. To me, that's all you need to know. That tells the entire story right there. My teammates will vouch for me. My coaches will vouch for me. He doesn't have that. So he has to vouch for himself."

With the Red Sox on the outside of the playoff standings looking in, now seems like a bad time to address old grievances, but Price explained why he fired back.

"I'm going to stick up for myself at all times," he said. "I don't care what backlash I get, negative attention, I'm fine with that. I'm going to speak up for myself, I'm going to stand up for myself, and he either needs to move on or we can meet. He says he wants to move on? Stop talking about it. That's the way I feel about it.

"That's absolutely what disappoints me the most. He wants to move on, but he continues to go on the radio or do interviews about it. If you want to move on, move on. We're two grown men. We can meet. Ain't nothing going to happen. I yelled at you. I'm sure everybody in here's been yelled at. It was unfortunate that it happened, I wanted to tell him that face to face, and he chose not to show up. So that was that."

Price was asked if Eckersley's comments criticizing the boisterous celebrations of Toronto's Marcus Stroman, one of Price's closest friends, were somehow directed at the Red Sox left-hander.

"I don't know. Have you seen videos of Dennis Eckersley pitching?" Price asked. "You've seen the stuff that he did when he struck somebody out? Really? Shooting them with a finger gun? Stuff like that? Come on. Stroman's out there yelling, 'Yeah?' No. He needs to wake up."

At the end of the day, Price wants Eckersley to stop referencing the incident. It should be noted that Eck's comments were relatively benign in the lengthy Chad Finn piece:

"I don't plan on saying a word to him, I don't plan on seeing him, never," Eckersley said. "I don't really give a (expletive) one way or another. I don't think he really cares one way or the other."

On that point, Price agreed.

"I don't care," he said. "Say he doesn't want to talk about it, like he said, he wants to move on. You want to move on, you move on. I've already tried to reach out to him. If he wants to meet, we can meet. I'm fine with it. I'll apologize to him face to face. This is my third time now in front of the media. I'm sure he'll speak about it again.

"That was two years ago," Price added. "Two years. Close to 800 days. Come on, dude. I wish I would've handled it differently, absolutely. This is the third time I've said that in front of you guys. That feeling hasn't changed. It happened, I dealt with it, I moved on. He obviously hasn't."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Maybe David Price isn't as untradeable as we think for Red Sox

Maybe David Price isn't as untradeable as we think for Red Sox

David Price has caused no shortage of headaches with the Red Sox, from blowing up at Dennis Eckersley to tweeting cryptically about the White House visit to making no effort to hide his disdain for "Manager John" Farrell.

But Price also delivered when it mattered most, during the 2018 postseason, when he led the charge to a title as the de facto postseason MVP.

He seemed positioned to maintain that momentum before a wrist cyst got in the way. Though his final 2019 numbers were mediocre — 7-5, 4.28 ERA — he struck out a career-best 10.7 per nine innings and was the team's best pitcher in the first half, when he went 7-2 with a 3.24 ERA.

Because we tend to focus on the negative around here (not me, though, I only see sunshine), we often judge Price for his faults. He's no longer a 200-inning pitcher. His elbow could blow. He considers himself a great teammate, but he consistently brings negativity into the clubhouse, which multiple rival executives have noted warily.

He's too expensive. He hasn't made an All-Star team or earned a Cy Young vote since 2015. He's past his prime.

It's hard to read the preceding paragraph and think there'd be a market for him this winter, especially since he's due $96 million over the next three years. But focusing on those negatives obscures some positives that other franchises might consider.

Price is a proven ace who has won one Cy Young Award and finished second twice. He's a classic change-of-scenery candidate after four tumultuous seasons in Boston, and a club in a friendlier market — like, say, St. Louis — could make a case for reinvigorating him. For all of the concerns over his health, he has thrown nearly 400 innings since avoiding Tommy John surgery in 2017.

And most importantly, with seemingly every team in baseball on the hunt for starting pitching, why should Price be immovable, when only last year a 36-year-old Robinson Cano with five years and $120 million remaining on his contract was not?

If the Red Sox want to drop below the $208 million luxury tax threshold, removing as much of Price's $32 million salary as possible would be one way to do it that doesn't involve giving away a former MVP in his prime — jettisoning Price would open a clearer path to keeping Mookie Betts for one more season, anyway.

So what is Price worth? As free agency cranks into gear, we're actually seeing some parameters forming in the starting pitcher market. Four starters have signed contracts with average annual values of at least $10 million, from Kyle Gibson (3 years, $30 million with Rangers) to Zack Wheeler, who just agreed to leave the Mets for a five-year, $118 million deal with the Phillies. Meanwhile, righty Jake Odorizzi accepted a one-year qualifying offer from the Twins for $17.8 million, while veteran left-hander Cole Hamels inked a one-year, $18 million contract with the Braves.

The two biggest fish remain unsigned in Houston's Gerrit Cole and Washington's Stephen Strasburg, both of whom will each command nine-figure deals. Former World Series hero Madison Bumgarner, defending NL ERA champ Hyun-Jin Ryu, and possibly ex-Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel will probably earn $15-$20 million annually. And then after that the drop in talent is pretty steep, to pitchers like Rick Porcello, Michael Pineda, and Tanner Roark.

Viewed through that lens, suddenly Price feels like … an asset? The Phillies will pay Wheeler nearly $24 million a year, starting with his age-30 season, more on projection than performance. His lifetime ERA+ is 100, which is the definition of average. And whatever injury concerns exist about Price, it's worth noting that Wheeler missed all of 2015 and 2016 to Tommy John surgery.

Were Price a free agent this winter, he'd probably be in the Bumgarner/Ryu camp, a clear notch below Cole and Strasburg, but still desirable. It's hard to say what he'd earn, but even with his injury concerns, an AAV of $18 million feels like the floor. The fact that he's only signed for three more years maybe bumps that hypothetical number to $20 million annually. If the Red Sox ate $36 million, could they find a market for Price at three years and $60 million?

It doesn't sound so crazy to me, especially once you stop fixating on the negatives.

MLB's Top 10 free agent starting pitchers>>>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Report: Brian Bannister leaving Red Sox to join Giants

Report: Brian Bannister leaving Red Sox to join Giants

After five seasons in Boston, Brian Bannister is taking his talents elsewhere.

The former Red Sox vice president of pitching development will join the San Francisco Giants, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Bannister was initially hired by the Red Sox as a scout in 2015. Later that year he was promoted to director of pitching analysis and development by then-Sox GM Dave Dombrowski.

In 2016, Bannister became Boston's assistant pitching coach and VP of pitching development. He was removed from the coaching staff but kept the latter title following the 2019 season.

Bannister spent five years as an MLB pitcher with the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals before pursuing a scouting/coaching career.

UPDATE (7:30 p.m. ET): Bannister confirmed his Boston exit Wednesday night in a pair of tweets thanking the Red Sox organization.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.