Price off the board; pitching market thins for Cards

St. Louis reportedly finishes second in bidding for prized lefty

Price off the board; pitching market thins for Cards

ST. LOUIS -- While it's unknown how far the Cardinals may have been willing to go in a pursuit of free-agent starting pitcher David Price, his reported agreement to a seven-year deal with the Red Sox on Tuesday eliminates the lefty from any further organizational consideration.

Price, who, according to the Boston Globe, will earn $217 million over the life of the contract, joins Jordan Zimmermann as recent top-tier pitchers to come off the free-agent board. According to a report by USA Today, the Cardinals finished second in the Price sweepstakes.

The Cardinals, though historically hesitant to wade into this part of the market under general manager John Mozeliak, had said they would explore it this year. The shift in philosophy came after Lance Lynn was ruled out for the 2016 season after needing Tommy John surgery in mid-November. Furthermore, the Cardinals, with a lucrative television rights deal on the horizon, have the payroll flexibility to go big this winter.

The Cardinals' interest in Price wasn't a recent development, either. The Nashville native caught the eye of the organization when the Cardinals were looking to upgrade their rotation at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

While the free-agent market is still flush with starting pitching, the top portion of it is thinning. Zack Greinke and Johnny Cueto remain atop the class, though it's unlikely the Cards are a fit for either. Greinke is reportedly preparing to stay on the West Coast. Cueto has a less-than-amicable history with the Cards.

The Cardinals plan to continue to be active in the starting pitching market -- looking at both free-agent and trade options -- in order to supplement the internal options already in place. Mozeliak has said he expects the organization's level of activity to increase over the next two weeks.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.