Why not David Price? I’m asking the Cubs. Why not David Price?
If the Cubs aren’t going to totally tank this season the way they have every year of Theo Epstein’s reign, then go get one of the best pitchers in the game – one who embraces the idea of celebrating in the old joint at Clark and Addison.
Price is coming off an All-Star break that did not include pitching in the game, but instead pitching himself to the Cubs. That’s the way it came off when Price was quoted as saying that winning a World Series for the Cubs would be the “coolest thing.’’
Indeed. But we can only guess. Nobody has ever seen it happen.
The next day, Price insisted his comments were taken out of context.
“Go back and watch the entire interview,’’ Price said in the AL clubhouse. “I just said there are different teams I’d like to be traded to, and I’m not going to make any of those teams public. I was asked what were some of the things I’d look for [on a team] I wanted to be traded to.
“I’d love to win. I’d love somebody to have good players coming up to continue to win, like the Cubs. That’d probably be the coolest place to win a World Series, only because most people who are still breathing have not seen the Cubs win. I think anybody in this clubhouse would probably agree that would be the coolest place to win a World Series.
“Then it turned into whatever you all wrote, so . . . it’s not my problem."
Then Price laughed.
“It probably just gave me more Twitter followers, though,’’ he said.
But still, and again, why not David Price for the Cubs?
Price is going to take that brilliant left arm somewhere because the Rays are going nowhere.
The Dodgers had been mentioned, too, but general manager Ned Colletti said the Rays wanted more than he was willing to give.
The Cubs have the best farm system in baseball, according to Baseball America. In theory, they could get whoever they wanted.
Despite constant trade rumors, Price has won nine games, leads the majors in strikeouts and has posted a 3.23 ERA for a disappointing team. He has pitched at least eight innings in six of his last seven starts.
Price is less than 2 years from free agency, just like Jeff Samardzija, who was traded to Oakland earlier this month. Difference is, Price is a year younger, and at 28, he has just entered Epstein’s window of opportunity that runs through about age 33 for most players.
Another difference is, Price is an unquestioned ace. He has won in the postseason, pitched in the World Series and collected a Cy Young Award.
Price’s agent knows his client will be traded, although he told the Tampa Tribune he would love to get in a room with the Rays owner and GM and simply ask, “You can’t have one $200 million player?"
It appears the discount-outlet Rays’ answer is no. The billionaire-backed Cubs’ answer would be different.
In fact, the Cubs already have shown their willingness to pay more than $100 million for a top pitcher. Lucky thing their $120 million offer to Masahiro Tanaka wasn’t the best. That’s a lot of money to pay for elbow problems 3 months into a massive deal.
Given the timing of the Wrigley Field renovation plans, the kind of contract Price will command becomes even more palatable.
And don’t think Epstein didn’t see this opportunity coming when he hired Derek Johnson to be the Cubs' minor-league coordinator in October, 2012. Johnson was hired away from Vanderbilt, Price’s alma mater. Connect the dots, people.
Ideally, the Cubs would be ready to win next season. That would make trading for Price more important, more urgent. But as Epstein has said many times, progress isn’t always linear. The availability of someone like Price doesn’t always time out perfectly.
It appears the Cubs can’t say with a straight face they believe they can contend until 2017, but they hope for 2016. That would be the ideal time to pay Price all that money, instead of during the parallel renovations of the roster and stadium.
But the Cubs don’t play in that kind of fantasy league. The Cubs play in a league that values top pitching that you have to take when you can get it.
So, again, why not David Price for the Cubs?