(CBS) One of the Cubs’ biggest potential free-agent targets is off the market and headed elsewhere.
Left-hander David Price has signed a seven-year, $217-million deal with the Red Sox, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday afternoon. That average annual value of $31 million sets a new record for pitchers, surpassing the $30-million-per-year that right-hander Max Scherzer secured last offseason in a seven-year, $210-million deal with the Nationals.
Price’s contract includes an opt-out clause after three years, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported. The deal is pending a physical.
Price, 30, went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA in 2015 in time split with the Tigers and Blue Jays. He had 225 strikeouts in 220 1/3 innings. Price has a career 3.09 ERA and is a five-time All-Star.
Price has struggled on the game’s biggest stage, with a career 5.12 ERA and 2-7 mark in 63 1/3 innings in the postseason.
Price was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft. He has a history with new Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who in his previous stint as the head of baseball operations for the Tigers both acquired Price before the 2013 trade deadline and then traded him to the Blue Jays ahead of the 2014 trade deadline.
The Cubs were interested in Price, who played for manager Joe Maddon from 2008-’14 in Tampa Bay, but they was little indication they would enter the $200-million realm, as president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has often spoken of a desire to add two starting pitchers this offseason and touted the importance of flexibility. The Cubs never were seriously involved in the bidding for Price, according to reports.
The Cubs signed left-hander Jon Lester to a six-year, $155-million deal in December 2014, outbidding the Red Sox then.
The Cubs have expressed interest in free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto, according to reports. Another potential target, right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, agreed to a five-year, $110-million deal with the Tigers on Sunday.
Epstein also had a recent meeting with free agent right-hander Jeff Samardzija, and the Cubs are considered one of the favorites to sign him. Flipping a young position player in the trade market is also an option for the Cubs to shore up their pitching rotation.