Price understands Blue Jays not offering him deal

Red Sox ace believes former GM would have made effort to keep him

Price understands Blue Jays not offering him deal

TORONTO -- David Price understands why the Blue Jays didn't re-sign him, but he feels things could have been different if Alex Anthopoulos was still the team's general manager.

Price made it clear there were no hard feelings after Toronto declined to make a contract offer this winter. He accepted that it was a "business" decision, but the left-hander can't help but think how the situation would have played out if Anthopoulos was in charge.

Anthopoulos was the man responsible for acquiring Price at last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline. He left the organization at the end of the season, and the Blue Jays are now run by general manager Ross Atkins and president Mark Shapiro, who declined to make a serious run at Price.

"No," the Red Sox ace said when asked if he was disappointed about not receiving a contract offer. "I think if Alex would have still been here, then it might have been -- not upsetting -- but a little bit different. But it's a new front office, [there's] a lot of new guys, and for them to not make that offer, I got it. I understood it."

Despite Price's claim, it seems like a stretch to think the Blue Jays would have been able to re-sign the Cy Young candidate even if Anthopoulos was still around. Toronto has a payroll of approximately $137 million this season and $84.5 million committed to just five players in 2017.

Price is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but he came with a hefty price tag. He signed a seven-year contract worth $217 million with Boston, which is the highest contract for a pitcher in Major League history. Under the previous regime, Toronto had a club policy of not going beyond five years on any contract.

The Blue Jays also have a number of key players who are set to hit free agency at the end of the year, including Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. The ability to re-sign Price would have been a longshot regardless of who is in charge.

"They have three guys over there right now that they're going to have to make decisions on pretty quick, and I definitely get that," Price said. "Bautista and Eddy, they've been the heart and soul of the Blue Jays for quite a while now, and with what Josh Donaldson's doing, they've got some decisions to make over the next couple of years, and I understood that."

The Vanderbilt product was a clubhouse favorite during his time in Toronto, giving bathrobes to the entire roster, riding around on his electric scooter alongside teammates, and he was one of the most vocal leaders in the dugout during games.

The 30-year-old says he has enjoyed his time in his new surroundings; getting accustomed to the Red Sox contingent of travelling fans, and he is looking forward to starting the team's home opener on Monday against the Orioles.

"Being able to throw Opening Day at any ballpark is always an exciting time," Price said. "And then to get to throw the home opener for us in my second start, that will be very exciting. I know Opening Day in Fenway is like a holiday, so for me to be able to get that game I'm definitely very excited."

Alykhan Ravjiani is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.