By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Will there be a sale in Detroit and a Price reduction? The Chicago Cubs wasted little time this week reacting to the sudden availability of left-handed ace David Price, according to multiple sources.
Like sharks in a fish tank, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer were among the first to inquire about Price. Earlier in the week the Tigers, for the first time in a decade, decided to be sellers ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, according to a USA Today report.
Although at least eight clubs will kick the tires on a deal with Detroit for Price, the Cubs system, flush with blue-chip prospects, may be the best match up for the Tigers. The soon-to-be 30-year-old Price is set to become a free agent the first week of November.
For now, the allure of a rotation led by Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Price would scream World Series contender for the championship-starved Chicago franchise. Just two weeks ago, Epstein confessed that an organization should never take a chance to get into the playoffs for granted.
In a potential Price deal, the Cubs wouldn’t be trading their very best players. Despite the great upside of an addition like Price, proper perspective is needed, with him being a two-month rental and the Cubs being in line for an anything-can-happen wild-card playoff game. Chicago’s front office will keep all of that in mind.
Price played his entire career for Chicago manager Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay before he was traded to Detroit last July for prospects, and he’s been complimentary of the Cubs organization when asked about it in the past. He will likely command a contract of at least $25 million annually for five or six seasons when he hits the open market this offseason.
Price is 9-3 with a 2.32 ERA and 1.11 WHIP this season, the latter two marks better than his career averages. He’s struck out 127 batters in 132 innings.
The Tigers were 3.5 games out of the second AL wild-card spot as of late Wednesday evening before the Twins — who hold the spot — finished their late contest against the Angels. Detroit trails Kansas City by 10.5 games in the AL Central.
Both the Cubs and Tigers are scouting each other’s systems in the event a swap can be agreed to.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.