David Price agrees to seven-year, $217 million contract with Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox needed an ace, so they went out and got the best free agent on the market. David Price has reportedly come to terms with the Red Sox on a seven-year contract worth $217 million, according to The Boston Globe.

That’s not just mega bucks for Price, it’s the biggest contract ever for a starting pitcher, edging Clayton Kershaw’s $215 million. The average annual value of Price’s deal, $31 million, ties Miguel Cabrera for the highest in baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals were the runners up for Price, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the contract has a three-year opt out clause, which means the lefty pitcher could be setting himself up for one more big payday, if his career continues along the same exceptional path.

Price, 30, has been as consistent as they come in his eight-year career, maintaining a 3.09 career ERA, winning a Cy Young award and finishing second twice. After his rookie year, he hasn’t ended a season with an ERA above 3.50.

So, for a Red Sox rotation that needed stability, that needed a proven commodity, he was the right fit. In fact, there was probably no better match in free agency than the Red Sox and Price — a big-budget team hungry for an ace, and a pitcher who has shown he can dominate in the AL East.

In addition to Price, the Dombrowski has already traded for closer Craig Kimbrel to help the Red Sox’s bullpen. They’ve signed outfielder Chris Young in a move that seems to set them for a trade, since they also have Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo and Brock Holt. Boston has also reportedly been trying to trade Ramirez, who would otherwise play first base after his failed outfield experiment a year ago.

On the pitching side of things, the Red Sox return many starters, from which they’ll now have to sort out a competitive rotation after their approach of acquiring mid-range innings-eaters didn’t work out a year ago.

Rick Porcello, who they’ll be paying $20 million this season, should be a No. 2 starter with the money he’s getting, but he posted a 4.92 ERA. Joe Kelly, who is arbitration eligible this year, was pretty good in the second half after a disastrous first half, and Eduardo Rodriguez, 22, impressed in his rookie season with 10 wins and a 3.85 ERA. There’s also Clay Buchholz, Wade Miley and rookie Henry Owens in the fold. It’s obvious the Red Sox still have moves to make, so guessing whether Dombrowski’s team, as it’s currently assembled, can win next season is a bit of a fool’s errand, but there’s certainly talent in Boston.

As for the rest of the league: With Price and Jordan Zimmermann (who signed with the Detroit Tigersfor $110 million over five years) off the market, teams chasing top-flight starters will now turn to Zack Greinke and Johnny Cueto.