Rozner: Price wasn't right for big Cubs, Sox deals

The biggest things that happened to Chicago baseball during the fury leading up to the trade deadline are the things that didn't happen at all.

One was that David Price didn't go to the Dodgers or Yankees, which would have hurt the Cubs' chances of signing the coveted free agent pitcher in the off-season. Had he been moved to L.A. or New York instead of Toronto, it's likely the acquiring team would have convinced him to stay.

Instead, he remains a big target for the Cubs this fall.

The other is that Jeff Samardzija stayed on board because GM Rick Hahn weighed the offers and chose instead to stay the course, continue to make a run at the wild card and take a draft pick in return if Samardzija leaves via free agency.

If the Sox fall out of it in the next couple weeks, Hahn can again shop the big right-hander before the waiver deadline and hope to land a position player ready to help the Sox in 2016.

It also gives the Sox another chance to re-sign Samardzija, who might be more realistic about his worth in free agency given the number of pitchers available who no longer require draft-pick compensation and the top-notch quality of this free-agent class.

It's still a longshot that the Sox make a serious run at the wild card given their awful start, but they didn't have much on the big league roster that anyone wanted outside of Samardzija, and the Sox obviously felt like holding onto a starting pitcher was worth more than anyone offered.

In terms of buying, Hahn said, "It's a little frustrating to not make a deal. We were aggressive on multiple fronts. Ultimately, costs did not justify the return."

As for the Cubs, they did just what Theo Epstein said they would do, which was give up no substantial part of their future during a season in which their best hope is a one-game playoff.

Even that looks tenuous at the moment considering how many young players are struggling as they discover that life in the big leagues is a physically and mentally exhausting process.

That is also something Epstein warned about before the season, especially since the Cubs would be relying on so many young players as major contributors.

What they did do was acquire back-end rotation help in Dan Haren and late-inning relief help in Tommy Hunter without having to give up anything they needed over the next few years.

So it makes the current club feel better about their 2015 prospects, which was necessary for maintaining morale, but a major deal simply wasn't. They're not in a position to win their division and giving up on any of their major prospects for a coin-flip game would have been foolish.

The Cubs dipped their toes in the water on bigger-name players that were under control for at least a couple years, but they also found the price too high in personnel when they can get what they need in free agency at a time when they believe they're ready to win.

"We were very aggressive - in my mind - packaging our prospects," Epstein said, "especially for controllable impact major-league talent."

If there's any regret it's that they couldn't find a way to move Starlin Castro now, though they will try again this month and after the season. The problem is Castro's value has never been lower and they hope to trade him when he's playing at a more typical Castro level.

So it was a relatively quiet week for both teams considering the moves made around the game, but under the circumstances neither team was in a position to make huge moves unless they were willing to buy at exorbitant prices or sell at a buyer's price.

Some teams around the game appear to have had a great week, buyers making moves they believe will put them over the top and sellers getting a head start on a rebuild.

Of course, every December we see teams that appear to have won the winter, and this year that hasn't gone very well at all.

Just ask the White Sox.

• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.

Jeff Samardzija stayed on board with the White Sox because GM Rick Hahn weighed the offers and chose instead to stay the course, continue to make a run at the wild card and take a draft pick in return if Samardzija leaves via free agency. Associated Press
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