David Price came tantalizing close the the American League Cy Young Award in 2010, finishing second to Felix Hernandez in a year where Hernandez was truly dominant. Finally, two years later, Price can finally add the words Cy Young Award winner to his resume.
In the second closest race in Cy Young history, after the tie in 1969 betwixt Denny McClain and Mike Cuellar, Price edged out last year’s winner Justin Verlander by only four votes. Price picked up 14 of the 28 first place votes, as Verlander tallied 13 first place ballots. Closer Fernando Rodney also garnered a first place vote, although he finished a distant fifth in the voting.
For Price, this is a culmination of something that Rays fans have known for the past three years – that Price is truly one of the elite pitchers in baseball. He truly hammered that point home down the stretch, almost pitching the Rays into the playoffs by going 12-1 with 2.26 ERA and 127 strikeouts over his final 18 starts, encompassing 127.1 innings of work. During that span, the Rays could have easily won two other games, losing two 1-0 contests where Price pitched eight innings of shutout ball, only to be betrayed by their lack of offensive production in the no-decisions.
This also gives Price a bit more leverage in another area. Entering his second arbitration hearing, his salary demands may have just increased. While his statistics will not change regardless of his winning the Cy Young Award, that piece of hardware upon his mantle makes his case a bit more impressive. Originally expected to earn approximately $9Million to $9.5Million in this hearing, that amount may have increased to approach the $10Million mark.
Regardless of how the future plays out, today truly belongs to Price. His excellent 2012 has been capped off in truly spectacular fashion, as he has become the first member of the Tampa Bay Rays to win the award. Congratulations to David Price on an amazing year.