The front office’s plan is to add at least one quality starting pitcher to the roster this winter. Rumblings and multiple reports have suggested the Cubs could acquire a minimum of two starters, either via free agent signings or trades, in order to put the team in the best position possible to compete for an NL Central crown in 2016.
The Cubs have been connected to just about every free agent starting pitcher as well as teams that are believed to be willing to trade young, controllable arms in order to improve their offense.
If Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer decide the best course is to sign a pitcher, there is one free agent starter that has an important connection to the team and has been linked to the Cubs countless times over the last three-plus years, LHP David Price.
Multiple reports have recently connected Price and the Cubs. And Buster Olney added to the rumors when he reported “some evaluators consider the Cubs to be the heavy, heavy favorites to sign him.”
Signing Price is going to be extremely expensive. But he will be looking for the right fit as well. Estimates have varied on the length and amount Price will sign for this winter. The starting point appears to be six years with an AAV north of $25 million and close to the $30 million mark and a recent report from Nick Cafardo had Price signing for seven years and around $210 million.
David Price has a strong relationship with Joe Maddon from their years together in Tampa. Price would reportedly like to pitch for Maddon again, plus he would like to move from the American League to the National League. Being with Maddon again would make the transition to a new team and a new league easier for Price.
Price has not held back when asked about the Cubs over the last year and a half. Even before Maddon was hired, Price saw what the Cubs were building and said in June 2014, “With the talent they have coming up they could be a very special team in a few years.”
The front office tried to acquire David Price for almost as long as they’ve been in charge of the team. The Cubs attempted to trade for Price when he was with the Rays for three years and are believed to have had conversations with the Tigers last summer before he was dealt to the Blue Jays.
The Cubs would not have to forfeit its first round draft pick or slot money to sign Price. The Jays cannot make him a qualifying offer because he was traded in-season, same as Jon Lester a year ago. There are questions about the Cubs having enough payroll flexibility and room in the budget for what could be $30 million a year for David Price.
With the big money, long-term commitment it’s going to require to sign the 30-year old lefty, there are only a few teams that are expected to be in the mix for him. The Jays would like to re-sign Price. The Dodgers are believed to have him as a top priority if Zack Greinke signs elsewhere. The Red Sox, Cardinals and Giants are the other teams reportedly interested in Price.
As previously reported, the Cubs will continue to be linked to David Price until he signs this winter.
With the team coming off a 97-win season, a trip to the NLCS, Joe Maddon in the dugout and the improvements to the facilities at Wrigley Field, selling the Cubs to free agents will be easier moving forward for the front office.
Finding the right fits for the clubhouse and history with a player should figure in the front office’s decision-making process on which additions to make to the roster.