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The Cubs And David Price, Free Agent

The first in an occasional offseason series on possible free agents the Cubs could sign.

Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

David Price.

The now-free-agent lefthander helped lead the Toronto Blue Jays to the postseason by posting a 9-1 record with a 2.30 ERA in 11 starts he made for the Jays after his acquisition from the Tigers at the trading deadline.

Then he proceeded to get lit up by the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series, supposedly in part because Royals scouts had figured out that he was tipping his pitches. His overall postseason numbers are not pretty: 5.12 ERA in 14 appearances (eight starts) covering 63⅓ innings over five postseasons.

Nevertheless, Price is one of the most desirable, if not the most desirable, free-agent pitchers on the open market this fall. He pretty much came right out and said he wants to play for the Cubs last June, while he was still pitching for the Tigers:

"They have a lot of guys they can control for a long time," Price said of the Cubs on Wednesday afternoon. "It's very similar to when I first came up in Tampa. Just a bunch of youg guys out there having fun. That's what it's about. You have to be able to have fun. I don't want to win and not have fun. I wouldn't rather lose and have fun but it's pretty close."

That same article quotes Joe Maddon, who managed Price in Tampa for six and a half seasons:

"I'm a fun guy," Maddon said a few minutes later. "David and I are friends. I've said in the past he's probably one of the best teammates I've ever been around. It's a process that has to be worked out. I wish him the best with it. He's a unique individual."

It would seem like a no-brainer, then, right? Good fit with the manager, excellent results on the field, great teammate.

But then there's the cost. As perhaps the top pitcher on the open market at this time (save Zack Greinke, who likely is headed back to the Dodgers at a higher cost after opting out of his contract), he'll cost a lot of money.

Last winter, the biggest offseason deal given to a pitcher was the seven-year, $210 million deal signed by Max Scherzer with the Nationals. Creatively, much of that money is being deferred beyond the seven-year term of the contract so that it doesn't average $30 million a year, as you might think from just looking at the years and dollars. It's complicated, so look here for details.

Price will likely cost as much if not more. The Cubs are already paying Jon Lester $20 million (and up) each year for the next five. Do you want two players to take up $40 million or more of the Cubs' payroll? Because that's the likely result if they sign Price. At some point, money has to be found to pay Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell.

My inclination would be to say "no" on Price, unless a contract can be creatively structured like Scherzer's. Simply backloading would create issues several years down the road, and we've seen what that's done with past Cubs payrolls. The Cubs wouldn't lose a draft pick if they sign Price, since he was traded during his free-agent season.

Price would have to change his uniform number if the Cubs sign him. He's worn No. 14 his entire career, but obviously the Cubs aren't "unretiring" Mr. Cub's number.

So now it's your turn. What say you on Price? Vote in the poll, leave your thoughts in the comments.