By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
Chug a bottle of shampoo? Rob a bank? Visit your in laws... willingly?
What would you pledge to help keep David Price at the helm of the Blue Jays rotation?
Acquired in a deal the sent for Jairo Labourt, Matt Boyd and top pitching prospect, Daniel Norris to the Motor City, Price arrived in Toronto to a hero’s welcome last August. The centre piece in a series of moves that transformed the Blue Jays from a 51-50 club to series contenders at the July 31 deadline, the Murfreesboro Tenn. native won nine of his 11 starts while posting an ERA of 2.30 across 74 1/3 innings for the eventual American League East champs.
Naturally, his dominant efforts quickly endeared the 30 year-old southpaw to a fan base that, since the fall of 1993, had been starved for a taste of postseason baseball.
Now, with their prized acquisition testing the free agency for the first time in his young career, that reinvigorated fan base has taken to the internet in an attempt to retain the talents of the American Leagues top left handed hurler.
Launched this November, anypricefordavid.com is a fan generated web site that catalogues individual pledges from baseball fans across the country.
The format is a simple state your name and purpose style of online document that tallies the responses in real time, cataloguing the replies on the sites home screen.
These pledges, or clauses as listed on the now popular site, range from helpful to hilarious to down right absurd.
Some of the best include:
CLAUSE 951: If David Price remains in Toronto, I, Rick Astley, agree to never give you up.
CLAUSE 4275: If David Price remains in Toronto, I, Jason Warkentin, agree to pick up after Astro (Price’s French Bulldog) for one week and love it.
CLAUSE 4331: If David Price remains in Toronto, I, Hayden Reedy, agree to, as a New Englans Patriots fan, admit Tom Brady cheated.
CLAUSE 8442: If David Price remains in Toronto, I, Ryan, agree to stop singing Hotline Bling.
CLAUSE 8755: If David Price remains in Toronto, I, Karen, agree to talk nicely to my co-workers for an entire Jays season.
On Friday, the Blue Jays inked fellow lefty J.A. Happ to a three year, $36 million US pact. Happ, 33, is coming off a season in which the one time Jay established career highs in innings pitched (172) and strikeouts (151) over 31 starts between Seattle and the NL wild card Pittsburgh Pirates. Of course, his arrival has led most to believe that the Blue Jays have now officially bowed out of the Price sweepstakes, and that the club is currently targeting a few affordable options to help compliment the leagues top offence heading into 2016.
Interestingly enough, Friday also marked the day in which Price’s fan-ran web site vowed to send their some 10,000 clauses off to the coveted hurlers agency group.
With a payday that’s speculated to land inside the 200 million-dollar range, Price has been linked to a number of clubs as offseason action has only begun to heat up. Of those clubs, the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays have emerged as heavy favorites.
Is Toronto out of the race? It’s too early to say. Trades are still to be made, free agents are yet to be signed, the winter meetings remain on the horizon and there isn’t even snow on the ground in the GTA.
Price has expressed interest in re-upping with Toronto, and let’s be honest ... with this offence, who wouldn’t be?
By the end of day on Friday, some 10,000 fans made their case online. If it’s close, who knows. Perhaps a vote of confidence from an entire country filled with passionate baseball fans may be the tipping point.
That, or a Major League Baseball leading 5 1/2 runs of support each night for a player who is still in search of his first World Series ring.
A player that, at 30 years old, could still command a high dollar contract later in his career should he accept a shorter term this winter.
- Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)