By Ashley Dunkak
@AshleyDunkak

DETROIT – With the Chicago Cubs in town, Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price fielded a number of questions Wednesday about whether, given his familiarity with Chicago manager Joe Maddon, Price would consider the Cubs as contenders for his services when he hits free agency after this season.

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Some believe Price will under no circumstances sign a deal before he tests the market, but Price said Wednesday that re-signing with the Tigers before that time is still a possibility.

“We never ended negotiations or whatever it is,” Price said. “We’re open for it, and if we can come to an agreement, then so be it. If not, I’ll test that other thing.”

Price made the same statement prior to the season, when he acknowledged the lure of free agency is a strong one. When he spoke about that process Wednesday, however, he noted it is not pleasant for everyone.

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“Some guys enjoy it, and some guys, they hated it,” Price said. “I couldn’t imagine going through the offseason that James Shields went through this offseason. He did not enjoy it. He didn’t have fun, and that stinks, for a guy to put forth the work that he has in this league and to put up the numbers that he has in this league, to not enjoy free agency – I don’t know.”

Price has maintained that he wants to play with a team that can win and that he wants to play with teammates with whom he can have fun. The unspoken factor, of course, is money. On at least the first two counts, it appears Detroit would be an option. After a bit of a rocky transition to the team last year, being thrown into the mix in the middle of the season, Price has settled nicely into the fabric of the clubhouse.

“This is awesome,” Price said. “It’s why I get to the field so early, because I enjoy being here. I really enjoy being in this clubhouse with all these guys. We have an unbelievable clubhouse. I had a lot of fun in Tampa, obviously, and I was with those guys for four, five and parts of six seasons.

“I’ve only been here for probably not even a full season of baseball and just the comfort level that I have with all these guys in the clubhouse, it surprised me a little bit,” Price added.

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Sports Illustrated recently ranked the top 10 players set to hit free agency after this season. Not surprisingly, Price tops the list. A perennial All-Star who won the Cy Young in 2012, Price has a 2.70 ERA over 12 starts this season.