With the Chicago Cubs boasting a completely stacked farm system, especially in terms of positional prospects, and a stated desire to spend on pitching this offseason, it was only a matter of time before the rumors of them going after David Price started to spiral out of control, especially now that they lack a true ace with Jeff Samardzija having been shipped out.
The piece setting this discussion abuzz at this point is one by Ken Rosenthal, who opines that the Cubs would be making the right move by going out and acquiring the Tampa Bay Rays stud left-hander. Rosenthal explains that while there are other teams that are in contention this season, such as the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers (among plenty of others), acquiring Price would be the right move toward the Cubs becoming competitive in 2015.
There are no shortage of interesting points made by Rosenthal in the piece. For one, he’s projecting that the Cubs will have some of these young hitters ready to go by the start of the year, and Price may be a catalyst in getting them completely out of this rebuild and becoming competitive as soon as next season. He notes the hiring of Derek Johnson as minor league pitching coordinator, as he was Price’s coach at Vanderbilt, as well as the fact that the Cubs have the means to afford him next year, the last year of team control, and beyond.
Depending on which school of thought you belong to when evaluating this Cubs organization, whether objectively or as a fan, there are plenty of different lenses in which a potential Price deal could be looked upon. Some will clamor for the Cubs to actually make this type of deal, while others don’t believe the Cubs should surrender top tier prospects for a “win-now” type of piece while still two or three years away from actual contention.
That’s not to say either of those schools of thought are wrong, it’s simply difficult to see the Chicago Cubs pulling the trigger on a deal of this magnitude at this point. Not that it would be the wrong move to do so, either. The Cubs have a couple of pieces in place now, with a couple of others banging on the Wrigley Field door. Add a piece like Price to a rotation with Jake Arrieta, a rebounding Travis Wood, and a change-of-scenery benefactor in Dan Straily, as well as some other middle-of-the-road type free agent, while Kris Bryant starts breaking windows out on Waveland in the middle of a lineup with Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro? That’s enough to get people interested in this team again and take the first step towards contention in 2015. Absolutely.
(Javier Baez specifically omitted from that portion simply because he might make the most sense to deal in a potential Price trade)
Nonetheless, as fun as it is to imagine David Price donning a Cubs uniform, an idea which already intrigues him based off of his comments at the All Star Game (also mentioned in Rosenthal’s piece), it simply doesn’t appear to be in the cards. The Cubs are much more likely to go after a free agent pitcher like Jon Lester or Justin Masterson this offseason, if they can convince one of the top tier free agent arms to join them for a year that will very likely be a positive step toward contention (a .500 campaign) rather than actually vying for a playoff spot.
Of course, this is baseball and there have been surprises before. Inside the organization, there’s already a feel for where they are at as an organization and whether or not they can afford to deal prospects with the farm depth they have (they can) to acquire a pitcher like Price, or if they’ll simply feel out the free agent market this winter. Either way, Rosenthal’s suggestion isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Price potentially heading to the North Side, and it sure as hell won’t be the last.