Posted on 31 December 2011 by Lou
Prince Fielder was a hot topic on ESPN Radio 1000’s Talking Baseball this morning. Jonathan Hood thinks Prince will end up with either the Cubs or Rangers. Bruce Levine thinks he’ll land with the Dodgers in L.A. or with the Cubs on the north side. Rumors have it that the Nats are going to make a strong push to bring the big guy to DC. When will we know – Scott Boras holds all the cards right now…
Posted on 17 December 2011 by Lou
Seems like Dale Sveum fits right in with Theo & Co. Epstein and his entourage are known for their uncanny ability to keep things close to the vest when pursuing free agents/trades. While ESPN 1000’s Bruce Levine and ESPN analyst Jerry Crasnick have both reported that the Cubs are actively pursuing Prince Fielder and that talks heated up a little bit this week, new Cubs Manager Dale Sveum said otherwise. After announcing his new coaching staff, Sveum had this to say about the Cubs pursuit of Fielder: “At this point it’s a lot of media talk. We haven’t had any talks with Prince. I haven’t had any conversations. Again it’s a lot of media.”
That sucks. I hope he’s wrong or I hope that he’s just playing along with the whole Theo & Co. plan to lay low in the weeds and then strike at the right time with a solid deal that Fielder and his agent Scott Boras can’t refuse.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything else. Go Cubs Go!
Posted on 13 December 2011 by Lou
Former Cubs 3rd baseman is going to sign a 3-year deal with the rival Milwaukee Brewers. Looks like the Cubs will get to see A-Ram a lot at Miller Park and Wrigley Field during the course of the next 3 years. Ramirez was the “top” offensive 3rd baseman in the National League in 2011. He earned the Silver Slugger Award for his .306 batting average, 26 HR’s and 93 RBI’s. Ramirez was excited to sign with the Brewers because he sees them as a playoff contender for the foreseeable future and he likes the idea of playing indoors at Miler Park for good chunks of the season when the weather is inclement.
The Cubs front office played the whole Ramirez departure very smartly. By offering to pick up his $16 million mutual option for 2012 which they knew he would decline, the club saved having to pay Ramirez the $2 million buyout. In addition, by offering Ramirez arbitration, the Cubs will also receive a “sandwich pick” in the 2012 draft since Ramirez is a Type B free agent.
It’s all good on the Cubs front these days. There is still a LOT of work to be done, but if the Cubs become players in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, look for the Chicago’s north side to erupt in elation…
Posted on 08 December 2011 by Lou
How does Theo & Co. not go after Prince Fielder with everything that they’ve got?
The St. Louis Cardinals just lost Albert Pujols to the tune of $254 million over 10 years with the Anaheim Angels in the American League.
That weakens the Cardinals tremendously.
Rumors are out there that the Milwaukee Brewers have upped their offer to try to keep Prince Fielder at Miller Park. Who’s to say that they won\’t up it even more now that they know that the Cards have lost Pujols.
Who knows if the Cards will now try to take a run at signing Fielder away from Milwaukee with a portion of the money that they had allocated towards Pujols?
No one really knows. That’s why the Cubs need to swoop in and lock up the “next-best” 1st baseman available, thereby hurting both the Cards and the Brewers in the process. At 27 years of age, Fielder is about to enter his prime years – that’s 6 amazing years out of an 8-year deal (let’s say). Even in that case, he’s still only 35 years old when the deal ends. How can you go wrong. You can build the Cubs lineup around Starlin Castro and Prince Fielder for years and years to come. And during the next couple of years, you can tweak around the starting rotation a little bit with a focus on signing Matt Garza to a big long-term extension and a “friendly” rate before the end of the 2012 MLB season. You already know that you have around $35 million coming off the books next year when Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano become free agents. You try to make trades this year by moving a Marlon Byrd and a Carlos Marmol that might bring some quality pitchers back. You throw Brett Jackson into the fire by starting him in center field all season and see what he can do. How does a DeJesus, Barney, Castro, Fielder, Soto, Soriano, Jakcson, lineup sound? Sure you still need a 3rd baseman, but maybe you also land an Ian Stewart or Chase Headley. It’s now or never time for Theo and the Ricketts Family. You made a big splash by bringing in Theo, Jed and Jason, now make an even bigger splash and make Fielder an offer he can’t refuse.
Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 06 December 2011 by Lou
The games have started – 1st up – leading people to think that the Cubs are “all in” on Albert Pujols in the hopes that that will drive the price up out of the rival St. Louis Cardinals price range. Guess we’ll see if the ploy works.
The St. Louis Dispatch reported that the Cubs have spoken with Dan Lozano – Pujols’ agent – on Monday and that they made a “qualifying offer” (whatever that means). I love it. Let’s try to get people thinking that the Cubs are a player. Given the fact that the Marlins have made a bold move to land the slugger with a 10-year deal, I don’t see how the Cubs can compete with that. So let’s just hope that the Marlins “reel in” the big guy so he leaves the NL Central for the 1st time in a decade.
C ubs President Theo Epstein played it coy when asked about any meeting with Lozano. Epstein said: “He also represents Rodrigo Lopez, so if you see somebody going into someone’s room, it’s not always to talk about the Big Kahuna.” I love it even more.
Epstein & Co. rarely show their cards during these meetings. My wish – that they are planting the seeds about the Pujols offer, just to quietly go in and make an offer to Prince Fielder that his a-hole agent Scott Boras can’t refuse…
Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 02 December 2011 by Lou
With the GM Meetings starting in Dallas next week, we’re curious what Theo & Co. will be doing all week. While Theo is typically pretty tight-lipped, he did identify a few areas where he thought the Cubs needed help. Here are a few snippets:
“We need starting pitching. You can’t just take your chances of being looked at seriously as a club with just five guys. You have to point to six, seven or eight guys… We are going to have to build our starting pitching staff. We don’t have a ton of depth and that’s a priority.”
When asked about rumors regarding the Cubs possibly dealing Matt Garza – the Cubs best starter – Theo had this to say – “He’s exactly the kind of guy that we would like to build around.” Another words, he’s not going anywhere…
As for hitting, Theo gave out this little secrets: “Adding a left-handed bat would be nice [David DeJesus partially solves that equation]. But under the right circumstances. We are not going to force anything. We’ll look for a well-rounded position player to contribute on defense and maybe run the bases. If that hapens to be a left-handed bat, yes. David DeJesus is a good example of that. He does those things well. And those are things as a club that we don’t do well. The most obvious ways to improve is to look at your weaknesses and try to turn them into a strength.”
Amen – I’m looking forward to an exciting week in Dallas. Let’s just hope it ends with a royal signing of Prince Fielder…
Posted on 29 November 2011 by Lou
Numerous reports have confirmed that the Cubs have contacted Albert Pujols’ agent regarding the big slugger. While some Cubs fans seem overly excited about the prospects about landing the best hitter in baseball, I have a feeling that this is a HUGE ploy by Theo & Co. Knowing how the Cubs have been hampered by Alfonso Soriano’s 8-year deal and knowing how Theo & Co. rarely enter into a bad “long-term” deal (the 7-year, $142 million Carl Crawford notwithstanding), the Cubs won’t make this deal. You heard it hear first. 8, 9, 10 years for a 32-year old 1st baseman entering the twilight of his career? What happens in Year 6, when Albert Pujols enters the year at 37 years of age and you still owe him a whopping $25-30 million a year for 5 more years?! That’s exactly what we’ve been doing with Soriano for the last 2 years and we still have 3 more years left on his deal. Now sure, Pujols is MUCH MORE productive than Soriano, but it still does not justify mortgaging the club again when we’re so close to getting out from the Soriano deal in another year or two.
So why are the rumors spreading about the Cubs making a play for Pujols? There are several reasons:
1. It drives the price up on the Pujols sweepstakes, maybe knocking him out of the Cardinals price range and sending him to the NL East Marlins or Nationals or the American League with the Texas Rangers or Anaheim Angels. That weakens the Cardinals big time with a move like that.
2. With the Yankees (Mark Teixeira) and Red Sox (Adrian Gonzalez) “probably” out of the mix for Pujols or Prince Fielder (you can never say never with either team however), it is plausible that the Cubs could land either player for a “steal of a deal” without the 2 highest payroll teams driving up the price further. So it is “conceivable” that the Cubs would make a play for Pujols.
3. It also hides your cards if your real intent is to go hard for the younger (Fielder is only 27 years old) 1st baseman. Epstein and Fielder’s agent Scott Boras have been known to get deals done and what better way to swoop in and make him an offer he can’t refuse than to let everybody think you’re going after Pujols. New skipper Dale Sveum was Fielder’s hitting coach in Milwaukee and the 2 have a good working relationship. With tons of money coming off of the books the next year, Theo & Co. can also make a commitment to Fielder that in addition to building from within, the Cubs will also have much more flexibility to add pieces from the outside through free agency after the 2012 season. With Theo & Co.’s track record, Fielder has to be reassured that the Cubs will be competitive just about every season once they get things settled.
Maybe I’m just hoping for the best-case ideal scenario – a 1-2-3 combo of Brett Jackson, Starlin Castro and Fielder as the future of a potent offensive lineup – but don’t surprised if Theo & Co. pull off this miracle signing within the next week. Imagine the buzz on the north side then…
Posted on 30 September 2011 by Lou
The Cubs have a LOT of work to do this off-season. They finished a whopping 25 games behind the 1st place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. A 71-91 record just doesn’t cut it. Especially after finishing the 2010 MLB season with a 75-87 record – 16 games back of the 1st place Cincinnati Reds.
The lone positive – the NL Central is a very winnable division – each of the last 4 years has brought a new division winner. So who knows – if a few things go their way in 2012, maybe the Cubs can make it a 5th straight different division winner.
The Cubs first need to hire a new GM to replace Jim Hendry. Then the new GM with his staff will have to figure out a way to plug up a TON of holes without a lot of money with which to work. Owner Tom Ricketts has already said that the payroll will not increase much from what it was in 2011. Sure there is a lot of money coming off the books this off-season – no Kosuke Fukudome; no Milton Bradley/Carlos Silva salary; no full Carlos Zambrano salary (assuming they can shovel him off to another team); and maybe no Carlos Pena or Aramis Ramirez salary. Will Ricketts be able to stomach making a run at the Scott Boras-led Prince Fielder? How will the Cubs plug the gaping holes in their starting rotation? Who will play right field on a regular basis? Will Manager Mike Quade keep his job under the new GM?
There are no easy answers, so it will be an interesting off-season to watch and we’ll keep you posted every step of the way here at MyCubsToday.com.