The Cubs made a run at David Price this winter, but they weren’t necessarily close to landing him. Chicago fell roughly $50MM short of the Red Sox’s offer, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told WEEI this week. “We ended up a distant third,” Epstein said.
“He’s a great pitcher and we were involved and very interested,” said Epstein, who was apparently also behind the Cardinals in the Price sweepstakes. “We thought, he’s an elite, elite pitcher, the kind that very rarely makes it to the free agent market, he’s got terrific makeup, where he influences a team not just through his performance on the field, but he’s a real culture-changer or a culture-enhancer, at the very least, in the clubhouse.”
Here’s more on the Cubs:
- The Cubs’ current focus is on trading for relievers, major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Chicago isn’t looking for high-end types like Andrew Miller of the Yankees, but they are fishing for middle-inning and setup options who would provide additional depth. In the outfield, he adds, the Cubs’ plan is to play Jason Heyward in center field rather than add a center fielder and slide Heyward into right field. The Cubs could also consider a trade for a starting pitcher.
- After sitting on lower payroll numbers for six years, Cubs ownership has opened up the purse strings, Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago writes. Epstein & Co. now have a projected $155MM payroll on the 25-man roster for 2016, eclipsing the previous watermark of $145MM in 2010. The payroll should keep rising from here, thanks to a projected attendance hike this season and a TV contract that will give the Cubs billions of dollars worth of revenue.
- In his introductory press conference this week, Heyward explained that he was drawn to the Cubs in part because of the roster stability he expects them to have going forward. “Knowing the core is young and those guys are going to be around for a while is very exciting,” Heyward said, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com. “I don’t want to take the highest dollar amount when my gut is telling me to go somewhere else. Being 26 years old and knowing that my contract would put me in any clubhouse for longer than most people there, you have to look at age, how fast the team is changing and how soon those changes will come about.”