David Price wouldn’t sign with Yankees because of ‘old-school’ facial hair policy

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price, the reigning AL Cy Young winner, is exactly the type of free agent that New York Yankees would go after. He's a front-line pitcher, and the Yanks covet arms. He's a soon-to-be free agent coming from a small market that can't afford to pay him what the Yankees can.

If Price wants to crack the $200 million-mark — which is entirely possible — New York would be a prime destination.

Yet, Price has already gone on record saying he wouldn't sign a long-term deal with the Yankees. The main reason? It's not money, rivalry or reputation. It's New York's grooming policy, which prohibits long hair and anything beyond modest facial hair.

Price isn't a Facial Hair Hall of Famer like Jayson Werth or Josh Reddick. He's got some some fuzz on his face, but nothing insane. This, instead, is a matter of principle.

From Jon Paul Morosi at Fox Sports' piece about Price's future in Tampa Bay:

“If I ever did hit that free-agent market, there would be teams I wouldn’t sign with simply because of the stuff that I’ve heard – every rule they have. Being here since 2007, being treated like a grownup, given that respect and freedom and space – it grows on you.”

Taking note of his beard, I told Price he’d have to shave if the Yankees traded for him.

“I wouldn’t stay there very long then,” he responded. “I wouldn’t sign a long-term deal there. Those rules, that’s old-school baseball. I was born in ’85. That’s not for me. That’s not something I want to be a part of.”

That may sound so speculative that it's ridiculous, but, hey, welcome to the Internet. Remember: this is the Yankees we're talking about, and you have to take into account that a fraction of the Felix Hernandez contract extension story was that the Yankees wouldn't get a chance at him. With King Felix's $175 million extension, we are also spared any Yankees vs. neck tattoos headlines. (Umm, yay?)

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Many free-spirited players have submitted to the Yankees grooming policy over the years — guys like Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi and Nick Swisher. The Yankees, at the least the pre-2013 Yankees, would give a guy the kind of money that would make him re-evaluate his principles and buy a 12-pack of razors. So there's nothing that says Price won't change his mind.

Now if the Yankees had a policy about not bringing your dog with you everywhere, that would be the true deal-breaker for David Price.

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