St. Louis Cardinals Hot Stove: Is the Price right?

One notable national baseball columnist thinks so …

Something interesting about the St. Louis Cardinals came out of ESPN baseball oracle Buster Olney’s final Baseball Tonight podcast of the year. It was nothing Tim Kurkjian said, that’s for sure. Kurkjian did his usual talk-in-circles bit, showing his talent for rewording and expanding on the question he was just asked. And marveling at players with hyperbolic glee.

But I digress.

Joining Kurkjian was USA Today baseball writer Bob Nightengale, who actually said he thought the Cardinals were the favorite landing spot for highly sought-after free agent starter David Price. He didn’t elaborate on that, unfortunately, even though it was kind of a bombshell statement. Price to the Cardinals? Really?

This is what Nightengale wrote about Price’s free agency on October 24, the morning after the Kansas City Royals eliminated the left-hander and the Toronto Blue Jays from the playoffs:

The Los Angeles Dodgers are awaiting with an open check book. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will get into a bidding war. The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals will jump in, if nothing else, to make sure the other doesn’t get the greatest player on the free agent market.

So his comment on the Baseball Tonight podcast was a bit of a departure. Nightengale alluded to his reasoning

You’re going to look much better in Cardinal red, David Price. Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

later in their discussion, when Jason Heyward‘s name came up.

Nightengale (with Kurkjian’s hearty agreement, of course. Far be it from him to bring anything new to the conversation) mentioned the Cardinals’ $1 billion television deal the club signed in July as his rationale for Hayward resigning with St. Louis, even though he, Olney and (naturally) Kurkjian agreed that the 26-year-old outfielder will get huge offers from a number of teams. Everyone knows that this contract will get them Heyward in his prime years.

Meanwhile, most of the baseball media — including Olney and Fox’s Ken Rosenthal — seem to think the Cubs will land Price.

Nightengale countered with his belief that Chicago is more likely to sign former Washington starter Jordan Zimmerman, to which Kurkjian eagerly agreed. Sigh. Nightengale also said he thought former Cardinals starter John Lackey was destined for Wrigley Field.

Nightengale’s opinions are interesting to say the least. As I wrote earlier, the Cardinals have always been a team that has excelled at bringing devalued free-agent starting pitchers back to life. But now that the team is flush with TV cash, will that change?

Now that everyone is open for business, we’ll get our answer soon enough. The Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, by the way, start in less than a month.