David Price has received a king’s welcome since the Toronto Blue Jays acquired the ace from the Detroit Tigers last week.
He went eight innings in his Blue Jays debut, allowing just three hits and one earned run, while striking out 11 batters – the most strikeouts from a debuting Blue Jays pitcher since Jose Nunez in 1987 – and did so in a packed Rogers Centre on a holiday Monday.
During an appearance on Tim and Sid Tuesday, the pending free agent was asked if the reception he has received so far from Blue Jays fans alters his perception of what he’s walking into in Toronto and whether he could see himself in the city on a long-term basis.
To which he responded: “Absolutely.”
“I mean the amount of support I’ve received ever since I was traded here it’s amazing. I never thought it would get to this point,” Price said. “I don’t care who I played for or what jersey I was wearing, the amount of support not only from one city but from an entire country. I don’t think I ever viewed it that way until right after I was traded. My brother texted me and he was like, ‘You no longer play for a city any more, you’re playing for an entire country.’ When he said that to me I was like ‘Wow, you’re right.’
“That changes things a little bit.”
The 29-year-old will hit pay dirt in the off-season. It’s expected he’ll sign a long-term deal that could pay him north of $30 million per season.
For the time being, understandably, Price says that’s not his focus.
“I just want to continue to go out there every five days and give these fans something to cheer for and put us in a position to win.”
Money aside, the five-time all-star said the biggest thing he’ll consider in free agency is which team can give him the best chance to win.
“I want to win and I don’t just want to win for one or two seasons and I want to be a part of something special…That’s what drives me every single day. I don’t work out and act the way that I act every single day – it’s not money driven, I want to win. To me, that’s why I play this game and I want to be on a team where that’s the way everybody plays this game because it’s all about winning,” Price explained.
With the Blue Jays having the likes of Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin locked up, plus young arms like Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna to play alongside, Toronto could be an attractive destination for a player in Price’s situation.
“Whenever you win it doesn’t matter what you’re making,” the 2012 AL Cy Young winner added. “It makes the food taste better, it makes water taste better, it makes you be able to sleep better at night. Winning is the best drug. There’s nothing better than winning and I stand firm with that. Winning cures everything.
“Once you can do that in a city that cares as much as [Toronto] cares there’s no telling what would happen.”
Price added that he wouldn’t have any problem if his agent, Bo McKinnis, met with Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos to talk about a possible contract.
“I probably won’t hear about it unless my agent really feels that I need to hear about. If not, I’ll honestly tell you right now if people are asking me in the next week or so if they’ve had talks I won’t know. I want to be able to go out there and play baseball. I don’t want to have all the extra stuff around me right now.”