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Cubs may not have the money to go after the top free agents

It’s a strange time of year in Major League Baseball. Rumors and ideas run wild as team executives try to position their team for the coming season. For the first time in years, the Cubs line up as buyers this offseason, but their budget may not be as big as some expected.

The two biggest names linked to the Cubs have been former Cy Young winners Zack Greinke and David Price. However, the latest round of talks make both options seem more like a long shot.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Cubs will likely only be able to afford one big name acquisition, and even then they may need the player to accept a deal for less money than they could get. That means convincing one of the pitchers they are better off in Chicago than Boston or Los Angeles.

Peter Gammons reported that the Red Sox are able to offer Price $30-$40 more than any other club.

So as not to be left with nothing, the Cubs have been linked to a number of second-tier starting pitchers via free agency or trade. Over the last two weeks, talk of signing John Lackey or Jeff Samardzija has heated up.

Anyone surprised by the Cubs’ inability to match offers from the Red Sox or Dodgers would be even more surprised by another detail of Rosenthal’s story. The Cubs could have less money than the Cardinals.

Often billed as a small-market team that builds from within, the Cardinals recently signed a new television contract starting in 2018 worth an annual boost of $20 million. The Cubs’ contract with CSN Chicago lasts through 2019.