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‘Mad at the world’: David Price hopes he’ll never have another season like 2017

As David Price left Vanderbilt in 2007, lured by a $5.6 million signing bonus after being drafted first overall by Tampa Bay, his college pitching coach offered a few parting words.

“The thing I said to him that I really meant was, ‘You never need to change the way that you play this game,’” nfl jerseys for cheap Derek Johnson recalled recently. “He played it like a little kid, and it was easily, by far and away, the most beautiful thing about him.”

For the better part of the next nine years, Price heeded that advice. He boiled over with glove-smacking joy after hurling high-90s heat past helpless hitters. He challenged fellow pitchers to goofy contests such as the “perfect sit,” in which they found a spot on the bench and tried not to get up, not even to use the bathroom, for nine innings. When he played for the Detroit Tigers, Price rode an electric scooter to and from home games. With the Toronto Blue Jays, he gifted monogrammed blue bathrobes to his teammates.

Then came last year. In his second season with the Boston Red Sox after signing a $217 million contract, Price’s behavior changed. He berated a reporter after a game at Yankee Stadium, stopped talking to the Boston media except after he pitched, and confronted Dennis Eckersley on the team plane over an innocuous comment made by the Hall of Famer as part of his job as a television analyst.

Price’s perma-smile turned into a frozen scowl, his personality morphed from childlike to churlish, setting a negative tone for a young Red Sox team seeking veteran leadership in the aftermath of David Ortiz’s retirement.

Looking back, Price traces most of what happened to a spring-training elbow injury.cheap nfl jerseys He didn’t make his first start until Memorial Day, returned to the disabled list in July and made only 11 starts. For the first time in his career, he was scared for his health, and the anxiety seemed to get the best of him.

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Predicting the 2018 win-loss record of all 30 MLB teams

The Nationals appear to be the class of the division, again, by a wide margin, with above-average or better regulars at five of eight positions, two aces in their rotation and no real weaknesses other than catcher and maybe their fifth starter. They will also get help from within whenever authentic nfl jerseys cheap they recall Victor Robles and could get a late-season boost from Erick Fedde or Joe Ross (due back in August, roughly, after recovering from Tommy John surgery). The Mets have a best-case scenario for this year in which they approach 90 wins, if their front four make about 100 starts, if Michael Conforto gets into 120 or more games, if Amed Rosario hits like he did in the minors and not like he did in the majors, if they stop sabotaging themselves with bad roster decisions. I doubt it happens, but it’s at least within the realm of possibility.

The Phillies are sneakily better, not playoff-good, but .500 is also a not unreasonable hope for this roster, if Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford have big rookie seasons (as I somewhat expect for both players) and one of their young regulars takes a step forward, although their rotation’s No. 3-5 spots are going to drag them down and the team might cycle through numerous candidates throughout the year. Atlanta’s tremendous pitching depth is still bubbling under the surface; if I lived in the area, I’d drive to see Gwinnett County rather than go to Boondoggle Park in Marietta. By the time August rolls around, they should have several of their top pitching prospects somewhere on the major-league staff — Mike Soroka, nfl jerseys for cheap Max Fried, Kolby Allard — but they don’t project to score enough runs this year to sniff .500. The Marlins are a dumpster fire. The only reason to watch this team in 2018 is to see if they become the first club since the 2004 Expos (#RIP) to fail to draw a million fans.