The Cubs left this week's winter meetings in Maryland still involved in the Ross talks, sources said, monitoring an intriguing pitcher they had targeted before the 2015 trade deadline.
Ross, 29, was limited to just one start last season because of shoulder inflammation. In October, he underwent surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, but it's possible he'll be ready to start the season. In previous seasons, Ross has battled shoulder and forearm problems. The Padres non-tendered him earlier this month.
When healthy, though, he can be be an effective part of a big-league rotation. From 2014-15, Ross made 64 starts for San Diego, and over that span he pitched to a 117 ERA+ while striking out 407 batters in 391 2/3 innings.
Presently, the Cubs have Mike Montgomery slotted in as the fifth starter, but signing Ross would allow them to move Montgomery to a bullpen/swingman role. Among other interested parties, the Rangers and Pirates have previously been linked to Ross, so the Cubs surely have some competition for his services.