Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

david priceThere was a whole lot on top free agent starter David Price over the last couple days, and, what with the holiday yesterday, I figured I’d consolidate it here today.

Ken Rosenthal reported that the five teams with the most interest in Price, in no order, are the Cubs, the Giants, the Dodgers, the Red Sox, and the Cardinals. Although it’s still debatable whether the Cubs will actually be willing to commit the kind of dollars it would realistically take to get Price, they’re in the picture for now.

Notably absent from that list are the Blue Jays, whom Rosenthal says, despite any rumors otherwise, are not expected to be a major factor. Perhaps it’s true that Price does want to return to the Blue Jays, but it may also be true that they’re just not going to pony up what it will take to get him.

Speaking of which, Buster Olney reports that there is an expectation that the Red Sox will be the high bidder for Price, but the lefty’s interest in going to Boston is the subject of some debate. I have heard similar rumblings from various quarters, so I was not surprised to see Peter Gammons suggest that the Red Sox might be the favorite for Price, and report that one NL GM speculated Boston would go $30 to $40 million over the top of the next highest bid to get him. That might be what it takes for the Red Sox to actually land Price, and they could be willing to do it.

Consider that new team president Dave Dombrowski, who traded for Price back with the Tigers, has said that the team is likely to find its starting pitching addition(s) in free agency rather than trade, following the acquisition of Craig Kimbrel. There is a crystal clear need at the front of the Red Sox’s rotation (when you look at their positional talent, back-of-the-rotation depth, and bullpen, there’s so much talent), and next year’s free agent class looks to be as exceptionally weak as this year’s is exceptionally strong.

And very importantly: the Red Sox have one of the highest unprotected draft picks in 2016 (number 12 overall). Does anyone think they’re going to give that up to sign a second tier free agent, or to spend $100+ million on a top tier starter they don’t love? David Price, by contrast, is a top tier starter the Red Sox probably do love, and he doesn’t cost a draft pick because he could not be made a qualifying offer.

Add it all up, and yes, it sure does seem like the Red Sox should want to go very aggressively after Price.

Regardless of how seriously the Cubs remain involved in the Price chase, it’s going to be fascinating to follow, and transformative of the landscape.

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