(CBS) All indications add up to the Cubs chasing current Tigers left-hander and free agent-to-be David Price this offseason.
1. Price played for Cubs manager Joe Maddon for the first seven-and-half years of his career while the two were in Tampa Bay. They share a mutual admiration for one another.
2. Whenever he’s been asked about Chicago as a potential destination, Price has kept an open mind and had lofty praise for the Cubs organization.
3. The Cubs need another top-of-the-rotation starter and have expressed a desire to spend big money this offseason.
4. Derek Johnson, Price’s pitching coach during his college days at Vanderbilt, is now a minor league pitching coordinator in the Cubs organization.
Now, the foreshadowing seems to continue.
On Monday, Cubs left-hander Jon Lester took to Twitter to compliment right-hander Jake Arrieta on his strong outing in a win Sunday at Atlanta. A fan then chimed in by praising Lester and Arrieta, then suggesting that Price would be an “excellent” No. 3 starter.
It had Arrieta chuckling. Here’s how it played out.
Darron (@Darron1908) July 20, 2015
Jake Arrieta (@JArrieta34) July 20, 2015
Adding intrigue to all this is a report from USA Today on Monday that the Tigers — four games out of the two wild-card spots in the AL — will be sellers leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Price is a prime candidate to be moved, considering he’s a few months away from free agency and that his talent should net a high-quality prospect or two in return.
The Cubs have openly acknowledged they’re looking to add a starter, but they’ve shown no willingness to part with a high-quality youngster to date, and the Tigers would likely ask for one.
Price, 29, is 9-3 with a 2.32 ERA and 1.11 WHIP this season while striking out 8.7 batters per nine innings. All those numbers are better than his career averages.