CONSPIRACY THEORY OF THE DAY!
Few in baseball took note last Oct. 30 when the Chicago Cubs named Vanderbilt pitching coach Derek Johnson their minor-league pitching coordinator. But the move did not escape the attention of one rival executive, who viewed the hiring of Johnson as possibly the first step toward the Cubs landing left-hander David Price.
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The theory might be a bit of a reach, seeing as how Price is not eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season and coveted by virtually every team in baseball. A lot could happen in the next three years. Specifically, a team such as the Rangers could trade for Price and sign him long-term.
The Cubs, though, also could take a similar approach.
Ideally, they would prefer to keep their top prospects, then add Price in free agency just as those youngsters were starting to mature. Either way, the hiring of Johnson certainly wouldn’t hinder the Cubs’ pursuit of Price. The two were close at Vanderbilt, and friends say that Price gives Johnson significant credit for his success.
Price, the reigning American League Cy Young winner, obviously does not need Johnson’s tutelage at this stage of his career. Still, given their past relationship, Price almost certainly would welcome the chance to work with his former coach again.
Chicago also is relatively close to Price’s home in Nashville, and Price is one of those AL pitchers who dreams of playing in the NL and taking his regular turn in a batting order.
File all that away for future reference.