Common sense would indicate the Cubs would have significant interest in David Price this offseason. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball and he's a free agent. He won't cost the Cubs a draft pick since he was traded at midseason. He had a long working relationship with Cubs manager Joe Maddon. And the Cubs could really use another top of the rotation arm.
Lots of other people are saying it in a somewhat more official way. Buster Olney's recent column says it.
1. David Price (obviously): He is the best available starting pitcher, will probably get the most significant contract of the winter, and some rival evaluators consider the Cubs to be the heavy, heavy favorites to sign him.
Ken Rosenthal is saying it.
David Price: Two agents for free-agent starting pitchers predict that Price will sign with the Cubs. An executive who knows Price says that the Cubs are his first choice. It’s all talk until the contract is signed, particularly when the Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals and Red Sox all could be in the mix.
I'm guessing a lot of this at this point just falls into the common sense sort of thing I mentioned earlier. The Cubs will undoubtedly be talking with Price's agent assuming, perhaps as soon as tomorrow.
How much is he going to cost? The short answer is that it's going to cost a lot. The Cubs have the money though. They don't have an unlimited stockpile like the Dodgers, but they've got the money.
Steamer is projecting 5.3 fWAR for Price in 2016. Let's assume the value of the win $8.5 million and increases by $0.5 million each year.
Over 6 years, we could reasonably project 24.3 wins. Over 7 it's 26.6 and over 8 it's 28.4. Including a discount for contracts longer than 3 years that typically occur, this is what we get.
- 6 years, $209.3 million
- 7 years, $233.1 million
- 8 years, $252.5 million
I'm going to guess that those numbers are a little high. Price will turn 38 years old in that 8th year so age quickly becomes a concern for him. I would guess it's closer to 6/180, 7/200, 8/220.
If the Cubs were to add Price, they could slip Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel down to the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation. Suddenly, what looked like somewhat of a weakness there in the postseason becomes quite a strength for this team with Price, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta also.
I'd hardly say the Cubs are the favorites at this point. They spent a lot of money on a starting pitcher last season and they may not be so willing to do the same thing this year. I doubt the Cubs want to have that much money tied up in two pitchers, but at the same time, it's a clear area of need for this team and there's nothing in the farm system that could step in and perform well enough right now. Pierce Johnson is the closest thing the Cubs have to a top pitching prospect and he's probably a year away.