When Dave Dombrowski was on the verge of being hired as Red Sox president of baseball operations in August, ownership wanted his thoughts on how to bring the club back to contention for the long haul. The first player Dombrowski mentioned was David Price, the man he had traded just days earlier in his final days running baseball operations for the Tigers.
In a somewhat surreal twist, Dombrowski and Price are now reunited with the Red Sox. This, after Price's seven-year, $217 million contract -- record-setting for a pitcher both in total amount and average annual value -- was formally announced on Friday.
"When we first sat down with Dave and looked at the five-year plan in August, we had a big number [salary-wise] for a first slot in the rotation," Red Sox owner John Henry said. "We could have gone one of two ways. We could have gone with trades. As [chairman] Tom [Werner] said, the first time we sat down, David's name came up and he said this is the kind of pitcher we want to go after."
It wasn't hard for Dombrowski to sell ownership on the value of adding Price. Though the Red Sox have been hesitant in the past to sign pitchers in their 30s to long-term contracts, they went all-in on Price.
"The one place we really had a need for was at the top of the rotation," Henry said. "You have exceptions to any rule, and certainly this is one of them. When you look at his record, for the American League, he is putting up historic numbers. We have a tremendous tradition here with great pitchers. This is an exciting time."
At Friday's press conference, Dombrowski thanked ownership for having trust in his plan.
"If you want to sign a No. 1 starter, you are going to have to give a length of contract that we did," Dombrowski said. "We analyzed it, but from also an ownership perspective, they supported it. I really give ownership a lot of credit.
"We all understand the risk with contracts this long, but when we sat down and talked about what our club needed, we emphasized three things ... It was someone at the back of the bullpen, a fourth outfielder and a No. 1 starter. We felt that was important."
Dombrowski also filled the two other needs -- getting closer Craig Kimbrel in a trade and signing Chris Young to be the fourth outfielder.
If there's one thing Dombrowski has proven early in his time with the Red Sox, it's that he knows what he wants and he goes after his target aggressively.
"Yeah, he's aggressive," Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera said. "When he wants a player, he'll do anything to get it and he showed that."
Cabrera, who was speaking from David Ortiz's charity event in the Dominican Republic, knows that as well as anyone.
Dombrowski acquired Cabrera as an international free agent on July 2, 1999, while he was with the Marlins. And eight years later, Dombrowski made a blockbuster trade to land Cabrera in Detroit.
And now, Dombrowski can add Price to his "twice-acquired" list.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.