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Cubs, Rangers ‘Favorites’ For Tyson Ross

It’s apparently down to two teams for the free-agent righthander.

Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

There have been rumors this offseason that the Cubs were interested in signing former Padres righthander Tyson Ross, now a free agent.

In recent days, though, Ross has been aggressively pursued by the Texas Rangers:

When I wrote about the Cubs’ interest in Ross last month, it appeared his asking price was somewhere between $9 million and $11 million on a one-year deal. That price, apparently, has dropped:

Understandable when you’re a free agent, spring training is approaching, and you still haven’t signed. But after those tweets were posted during the day Wednesday, another one more of interest to us was sent late Wednesday evening:

The Cubs could use some more starting pitching depth. Ross, though, might not be ready to start the season, as noted in this Tribune mailbag I posted in last month’s article:

There’s an outside chance that Ross will be ready by April, but no guarantees at this point.

My main point is this: The Padres got into trouble for issuing information on medical reports to teams that was separate than their files. So if they elected not to pick up the $11 million option on Ross for 2017, they must have a pretty good idea about the severity of Ross’ thoracic outlet syndrome ailment.

Ross is a very good pitcher and would be a good fit at Wrigley Field if healthy. But the Cubs are understandably concerned about the workloads of their pitchers after two lengthy postseasons.

I can see a scenario where Cubs construct a proposal based on innings pitched in 2017 that would trigger an option for 2018 and give the Cubs some protection and security for 2018. The search for young starting pitchers is more important than anyone realizes.

This would actually make a great deal of sense, and if, as noted above, Ross’ asking price has dropped, it might be a good signing for the Cubs. On the other hand, given the Rangers’ aggressive pursuit, they might be able to offer Ross a spot in their 2017 rotation, something the Cubs really can’t (not at this point, anyway).

So, should the Cubs step up their pursuit of Ross? Or move on?