Get your popcorn ready, Blue Jays fans. Then give it to David Price.
The club's new ace may love a lot of things about Toronto, but the popcorn at Rogers Centre appears to be at the top of the list. After Price raved about it on Twitter, the team had bags of it waiting at his locker Friday.
New reliever LaTroy Hawkins tweeted a photo with the message, "What DAVIDprice14 wants he gets. Price said the popcorn went "above and beyond his expectations." "I think some guys might have taken some before I got here, but I was completely OK with that," the 29-year-old lefty said. "This is the best popcorn I've ever had. I get it every time I come here in big bags full."
Price has a little over US$7-million of his $19.75-million salary owed to him for the rest of this season and will then be a free agent. The 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner will get a major pay day on a long-term deal this fall.
When the Blue Jays traded three top pitching prospects to the Detroit Tigers for Price, that was the cost of renting him for the next two months. General manager Alex Anthopoulos said: "I think every team in baseball would love to have this guy on their team long term. We've just got to get in the line."
Price will have no shortage of suitors – the deep-pocketed Los Angeles Dodgers come to mind first – but the Blue Jays have some time to sell him on the prospects of re-signing. Hours after he arrived in town, Price said it was definitely too early to think about that, but he didn't close the door.
"I definitely wouldn't rule this place out," Price said. "Whenever I was with Tampa, playing against the Blue Jays, you always look forward to coming to Toronto, it's a fun atmosphere."
And, Price added, he loves the popcorn so much he bragged about it to the NBA's MVP. Maybe an unlimited supply could be written into any future contract.
"It's definitely a plus," Price said. "I told Steph Curry a couple months ago, I was like, 'The Blue Jays have the best popcorn in the world, so you need to go get some of their popcorn."' Popcorn isn't really going to keep Price around long term, but the Blue Jays can make their case by winning. With him at the front of their rotation, they should be a playoff team, ending a drought that dates to 1993.
Price is 16-2 with a 2.41 earned-run average in his career against the Blue Jays, including a 7-0 record at Rogers Centre. But he's glad to avoid what third baseman Josh Donaldson confidently called "the best lineup in baseball" for the rest of the season.
Without a doubt, Price digs the long-ball potential Toronto has.
"They can hit homers, man," said Price, who will make his Blue Jays debut Monday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins. "They're a tough group to pitch against. ...
"With this team, you've got to be on your Ps and Qs at all times. That's really tough. It's mentally draining whenever you face a team like this because you constantly have to be in the game mentally because if not, we can put up runs real fast. It's fun to be a part of that."