11/29 The Cubs, Pujols & Fielder

FOX Sports cites “Major League sources” saying the Cubs are showing interest in free agents Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. The report says the Cubs are inquiring about both because there is a small amount of sluggers available in future free agent markets and because of the new restrictions on spending in the Draft under the new CBA.

New Cubs execs Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are trying to rebuild the team, but the reality is that Pujols and Fielder don’t seem to fit their goal to build “a foundation of sustained success.” When Epstein took over the Red Sox prior to the 2003 season, he did sign David Ortiz, but got him for $1.25 million. Pujols and Fielder are looking for long-term mega deals. Those are the kind of deals (ex. Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano) the Cubs are trying to avoid. Plus, Epstein’s philosophy is to pay for future performance, not past.

— Carrie Muskat


Why don’t they fit a goal of sustained success? I don’t think it’s fair to judge either player based on past failed signings of Jim Hendry. Signing one of these players jeopardizes only money, which the Cubs have a lot of. We wouldn’t even have to forfeit a first round pick, since it’s protected (instead a second rounder). With 55M coming off the books this year, we have easily enough to pay one player 25M or so and still build the team around him. Not to mention, payroll will likely increase with a winning team as Wrigley will sell out every game to see such a star player. With the new limits on draft spending, major league payrolls should increase even further for every team since they are reallocating resources. I would love to see the new regime jumpstart fanbase excitement by bringing a mega-star to Chicago.

Pujols for 8 years would be a mistake. Fielder for 8 years would be an acceptable gamble.
We do not have the luxury of a DH position for Pujols when the time comes he can do nothing but hit. Yes, even first quality first basemen’s defensive skills and range will erode over time. It’s gotta be Fielder if big bucks are to be gambled or LaHair if “youth” will be gambled. I’d rather see LaHair get a shot and the gazillions of dollars that would have gone to Pujols or Fielder go to athletic, defensive outfielders and pitching. Our outfield is basically wide open as is our starting rotation.

There is not a single word in this comment that I disagree with. This was the basis of, and the thinking behind, my comments on the Garza article. In that case I was just saying the names being discussed in terms of a trade for Garza made “no sense” based on this focus of pitching and defensive outfielders. I didn’t have time to write all of that the other night, so I think what I was trying to say was misinterpreted. What you just wrote pretty much sums up all my posts from other articles this off-season in one place and shows what I, and apparently you, believe “the Cubs way,” as Theo has put it, should be. Well said!

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