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Red Sox sign David Price

The former Rays ace joins a hated rival

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

After persistent rumors, it has been reported that ace left-handed pitcher David Price will sign with the Boston Red Sox.

According to the Boston Globe's Pete Abraham, the star will be receiving $217 million over a seven-year contract, making him the highest-paid pitcher in league history, beating Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw by two million. The $31 million average annual value also ties Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera for the highest in baseball.

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal adds that Price, 30, can opt out of his contract after three years, similar to clauses that A.J. Burnett, C.C. Sabathia and Zack Greinke have taken advantage of.

Since the Rays traded Price to Detroit in a three-team deal to acquire lefty Drew Smyly and infielders Nick Franklin and Willy Adames,  he had been traded to Toronto before hitting free agency after the 2015 season. New Boston executive Dave Dombrowski acquired Price when he was general manager of the Tigers, traded him away and has now signed him again, as noted by Twins writer Mike Berardino.

Price pitched well in his first full season with Detroit in 2015, posting a 2.53 earned-run average and 3.06 FIP to earn his fifth All-Star appearance. When the Tigers fell out of the race, he was sent to Toronto, where he was an integral part of the Blue Jays' first playoff appearance since 1993.

The then-Devil Rays drafted Price with the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft after a tremendous career at Vanderbilt that saw him strike out 194 batters in 133 1/3 innings as a junior, netting him the Golden Spikes award as the top amateur baseball player in the country.

Price sailed through the minors and would make his major league debut on Sept. 14, 2008 against the Yankees, striking out four in 5 1/3 innings of relief. He became a key member of the Rays' pitching staff down the stretch and memorably induced a groundout to end the 2008 ALCS against the Red Sox and send Tampa Bay to its first and only World Series appearance.

After some growing pains in his rookie season, Price settled in during the 2010 season and began to live up to the billing. He earned his first of three straight All-Star appearances and finished second in the Cy Young voting with a 19-6 record.

In 2012, Price would win the Cy Young award. He led the league with 20 wins and a 2.56 ERA and struck out 205 batters in 211 innings.

As Price's salary escalated along with his service time, it was a matter of when, not if, the Rays would have to trade their ace. That day proved to be July 31, 2014, a day after he allowed four runs -- three earned -- in seven innings in what proved to be his last start with Tampa Bay. In his Tigers debut on Aug. 5, he struck out 10 and was charged with three runs in 8 2/3 innings against the Yankees.

Later in August, Price made his return to Tropicana Field as a visitor. By game score, he would have his best outing of the year -- he struck out nine and allowed just an unearned run in eight innings of work. However, he was saddled with the loss in a 1-0 decision that saw Alex Cobb match him pitch for pitch with seven scoreless frames.

Between the Rays and Tigers, Price finished as the league leader with 271 strikeouts in a league-leading 248 1/3 innings.

A year later with the Tigers and Blue Jays, Price led the league in ERA for the second time in his career with a 2.45 mark in 220 1/3 innings.

Because Price was traded during the 2015 season, the Red Sox will not have to forfeit a draft pick to sign the coveted free agent.

This post has been updated