The Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants and Red Sox are showing the most interest in left-hander David Price, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal adds that while Price enjoyed his time in Toronto, the Blue Jays “are not expected to be a major factor in his free agency,” which isn’t necessarily a surprise considering the team’s previous reluctance to commit the type of expenditure Price will command to any player. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported today that there’s a “high expectation” among executives involved in the Price bidding that the Red Sox will make the highest offer (links to Twitter). Tom Verducci also said in a recent MLB Network appearance that Boston will aggressively pursue Price.
Other clubs will naturally show interest in Price and presumably already have. However, the common belief that Price is capable of approaching or exceeding Max Scherzer’s seven-year, $210MM contract from last offseason suggests that many teams will be priced out of serious consideration.
Each of the clubs listed by Rosenthal has a need in the rotation, though some to a greater extent than others. The Cardinals recently lost Lance Lynn to Tommy John surgery and saw several of their promising young arms slowed by injuries in 2015 (including Carlos Martinez and Marco Gonzales). The Dodgers could potentially lose Zack Greinke to free agency and don’t know what to expect from either Hyun-jin Ryu or Brandon McCarthy in 2016. The Giants’ rotation was highly unstable in 2015 behind ace Madison Bumgarner, and the Red Sox struggled through 2015 with one of the game’s worst performances from their rotation. The need for the Cubs is less glaring on paper, as Chicago ranked third in rotation ERA in 2015. However, Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel wilted down the stretch, and adding another top-tier starter to pair with Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester in the rotation would give Chicago a highly formidable postseason rotation.
Price is coming off a dominant season split between Detroit and Toronto in which he logged a 2.45 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 40.4 ground-ball rate in 220 1/3 innings. Because he was ineligible for a qualifying offer due to this summer’s trade, Price won’t require a new club to forfeit a draft pick upon signing him.