For months the Cubs were seen as the favorites to sign free agent David Price. If he became a free agent, which was all but guaranteed when he was traded from the Tigers to the Blue Jays before the deadline, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would be there with the checkbook ready to ink Price to the biggest contract in franchise history. Well, not so fast …
According to a report from Nick Cafardo, the Red Sox “are prohibitive favorites, at least in the eyes of the media and a few baseball executives, to land free agent David Price.” Cafardo points to Dave Dombrowski’s relationship with Price and the Red Sox’s “desperate need for an ace after two consecutive last place finishes and three in four years” as the main reasons Price ends up signing with Boston.
Cafardo indicated that other team’s executives “are convinced Dombrowski is acting aggressively” in his pursuit of Price.
The bidding for Price “should reach the seven-year, $210 million range” according to Cafardo. The Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers and Blue Jays are in the mix and teams like the Nationals, Angels, Astros and Rangers might be part of a second group that “could become engaged” in the process.
Past issues with David Ortiz are not seen as being a problem to the point Price would not sign with the Red Sox. Cafardo said the two respect one another as players and Pete Abraham firmly believes Price and Ortiz will be seen hugging, smiling and taking photos together in Spring Training.
Teams are lining up to sign Ben Zobrist. And there is so much interest in the 34-year old super-utility man that it may take a four-year contract to sign him according to reports from Nick Cafardo and Buster Olney.
It would actually be easier to list the teams that have not been linked to Zobrist than the ones that have. There is not a team that considers themselves contenders that would not benefit from having him on the roster.
The Cubs have been connected to Zobrist and he is believed to be interested in reuniting with Joe Maddon.
According to Buster Olney, the Mets believe their young pitching staff is a selling point for Zobrist “because they have enough depth and quality to sustain an extended window of success.”
The Mets, Nationals and Royals may be three teams that have been connected to Ben Zobrist more than the rest of the rather large field.
Nick Cafardo reported, “One of the most sought-after pitchers of the off-season has been the 22-year old Ross.” Mike Rizzo is “resisting all offers” for Joe Ross right now. Ross would slide right into the Nationals’ rotation with Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister no longer in the picture. Cafardo added Ross would “bring back a huge return” if the Nationals trade him.
The younger brother of Tyson Ross, Joe made his big league debut against the Cubs on June 6. Ross went 5-5 in 16 games, 13 starts, with a 3.64 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.
If teams are calling about Ross, it’s safe to say the Cubs are one of those teams. Jason McLeod selected Ross in the first round of the 2011 draft when he and Jed Hoyer were calling the shots in San Diego. McLeod thinks highly of Ross and spoke like a proud father the day he made his debut against the Cubs.
The chances of prying Ross away from the Nationals are rather slim, but the Cubs’ front office knows him, plus the stuff and ability project him as a top of the rotation starter on a contending team.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Paul Casella posted five reasons teams will pursue Zack Greinke. And before the news leaked the Tigers were in serious discussions with Jordan Zimmermann, Casella posted five reasons teams will pursue him.
• Jason Heyward is about to get paid. And Dan O’Dowd thinks the Cardinals, Angels, Dodgers and Orioles are the four most likely teams to sign him.
• According to a report from Hardball Talk citing SportsNet as its source, the Blue Jays are still focused on upgrading their pitching. The Jays are believed to be out of the David Price sweepstakes. There are areas of the staff Mark Shapiro would like to address.
• The Nationals would like to overhaul the backend of their bullpen. Mike Rizzo is interested in signing free agent Darren O’Day and trading for Aroldis Chapman. Rizzo is looking to unload Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon, but the former Red Sox and Phillies’ closer is untradeable according to a report from Hardball Talk citing Jon Heyman as its source.
• Joel Sherman asked why baseball’s second season has been so slow … Does free agency freeze mean MLB finally learned splurging lesson?
• The Indians are looking to add outfielders to their roster this winter. According to Paul Hoynes, the Indians are shopping in Shane Victorino’s aisle for free-agent outfielders. Cleveland tried to sign Shane Victorino to a four-year, $44 million contract before he took Boston’s three-year, $39 million deal. Victorino is “one of many outfielders the Indians have contacted.” Cleveland cannot afford to shop in the first or second-tier free agent outfielders market.
• Buster Olney’s top 10 second basemen in baseball: Jose Altuve, Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Robinson Cano, Logan Forsythe, Brandon Phillips and Brian Dozier. Olney said Dustin Pedroia was the toughest to leave off his list. Joe Panik, Rougned Odor and Kolten Wong received honorable mentions.
This Day In Cubstory
1982 – Cubs purchased Jay Loviglio from the White Sox
1979 – Francis Beltran, born
1971 – Cubs selected Clint Compton from the Angels in the Rule 5 Draft
1971 – Cubs traded Ken Holtzman to the A’s for Rick Monday
1966 – Giants selected Hal Haydel from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1966 – Phillies selected Roberto Pena from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1966 – Orioles selected Al Severinsen from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1966 – Cubs traded Chris Krug and Wayne Schurr to the Angels for Donald Furnald and Mike White
1965 – Cubs selected Ty Cline from the Braves in the Rule 5 Draft
1965 – Cubs selected Clarence Jones from the Dodgers in the minor league draft
1965 – Cubs selected John Upham from the Phillies in the minor league draft
1960 – Howard Johnson, born