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Cross David Price off the Arizona Diamondbacks' list

Not that it was ever very likely to be us to begin with, but the Red Sox got one of the two top starting pitchers available on the free market, signing David Price to a seven-year, $217 million contract.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

According to Jerry Crasnick, it's not a particularly backloaded deal, with the final year seeing David Price get only $2 million more than this year: he gets $30 million through 2018, then $31 million the following season, and another slight bump to $32 million from 2020-22. He'll be 37 by the time that contract ends, and has just become the best-paid pitcher in baseball history, with the $217 million total value edging past the $215 million being earned by Clayton Kershaw, on his current contract with the Dodgers.

It's obviously a huge move for the Red Sox, who finished dead last in the American League East this year, though with the best record of any last-place team, at 78-84 [they'd have been a comfortable third in the NL East!] It will push the Red Sox salary bill close to $200 million in total, though they are reported to be looking to trade a rotation member for prospects. Price will be the highest-paid player on the club, but there are four others who will be earning between $16-$22.75m this season: David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval, Rick Porcello and Hanley Ramirez.

Also of interest: Price's contract includes an opt-out after the third year, which can only benefit the pitcher. If he continues to produce at his expected level (and Steamer projects Price to be worth $5.3 fWAR in 2016), then he may wish to test the free-market again in the 2018-19 off-season and see whether he can make even more money. But if his performance isn't up to that, then a $127 million golden parachute from Boston is a nice bit of insurance for his autumn years... The signing leaves Zack Greinke the remaining top dog on the market, and Bob Nightengale reckons he could fall shortly, with the Dodgers and Giants front-runners.