BOCA RATON – Some of the Cubs’ most serious talks during this week’s general managers meetings in Florida were to start Tuesday night and carry into Wednesday.
“We’ll have a bunch of meetings with agents here in the next 24 hours,” said Cubs GM Jed Hoyer late Tuesday afternoon. “And I’m sure we’ll talk to a lot of teams.”
Top free agent left-hander David Price’s agent, Bo McKinnis, said Tuesday he planned to start meeting with interested teams Tuesday night, and his client has no preferred timeline for getting a deal done at this point.
McKinnis expected to meet with the Cubs Wednesday.
“No matter what, I think we’ll have a better sense leaving Boca of what we’re going to do,” Hoyer said.
Based on conversations with agents and officials from the Cubs and other teams, early signals point in these directions for the Cubs:
–Their meetings with agents are expected to include those representing top-dollar pitchers Price, Jordan Zimmermann and Zack Greinke.
–If they test the deep end of the free agent waters, don’t be surprised if Greinke overtakes Price as a top target.
–Older, playoff-tested veteran starter John Lackey could become an especially attractive target, given his relationship with current Cub veterans and assuming a relatively short-term deal.
–The Cubs plan to kick the tires on Royals World Series ace Johnny Cueto, but he comes with enough concerns (durability, potential asking price) that it could be a short courtship.
–The Cubs have checked in on versatile, switch-hitting, Joe Maddon-favorite Ben Zobrist, but the shape of their roster after exploring trade possibilities will have a lot to say about their level of involvement as the winter plays out, along with the strength of his market — which looks early like it could command a four- or five-year commitment.