When J.D. Martinez came to David Price and asked him questions about his experience in Boston, the former AL Cy Young Award winner gave him honest answers.
“It’s tough here,” is how Price described his first two seasons in a Red Sox uniform, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “There’s just so much more negativity.”
Apparently a little honesty, even if it doesn’t paint the brightest picture, can go a long way in recruiting baseball free agents.
Despite Price’s warnings, Martinez reached a five-year, $110 agreement with Boston on Monday. Now he’ll step under the same spotlight and ultimately the same microscope that has consumed Price since the beginning of the 2016 season.
Together, the former Detroit Tigers teammates will attempt to bring a World Series championship back to Boston, which is the one glaring positive Price had to sell while recruiting Martinez there. Of the teams pursuing Martinez, Boston is probably the best bet to make that happen during the duration of the contract he’ll play under.
For Price, finding and focusing on the positive has become his primary goal in Boston. He’s been very public about the negativity he says he’s experienced there, including racial taunts that he says have rained down while warming up in the bullpen. Some have criticized Price for being too sensitive. But even one racial taunt is too many.
Price says that negativity is also widespread on social media. After receiving backlash from fans after missing much of the 2017 season due to injuries, he says he’s avoiding Twitter as much as possible in order to shut the negativity out.
“I rarely get on social media anymore,’’ Price said. “There’s nothing but negativity, that’s all it is. I can tweet out John 3:16, and I’m going to get crushed. There’s no point. No point. I used to really enjoy it, especially Twitter, interacting with everybody. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I really enjoyed it.
Now, I go weeks without even opening Twitter. I can’t remember the last time I read mentions or used Twitter for anything. I definitely miss it. I miss the interactions with the fans. But I’m OK with it.”
Price has the option to leave Boston after the 2018 season, but says he plans to stay there and play out the final four years of a seven-year, $217 million contract. Having a guy like Martinez in the clubhouse, who he’s played with before and clearly has a good relationship with, might make that decision a little easier. Having a friend around could add another level of comfort that maybe hasn’t been there so far.
For Martinez, Price likely provides the same comfort. Even though he might be concerned about the pressures and demands of playing in Boston, which Nightengale describes as “baseball’s toughest environment,” having a teammate who’s been there might make jumping in a little easier.
One thing is for sure, Price’s sales pitch has to be the most awkward and unusual one to ever pay off for a major league team.
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