Results tagged ‘ Albert Pujols ’
Paul Maholm admitted he felt a little ”off” with his mechanics on Saturday.
“They had a pretty decent lineup,” the lefty said of the Angels.
Maholm gave up two runs on three hits, including a two-run homer by Albert Pujols in the first, over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out six.
“The first pitch to Pujols wasn’t supposed to be right down the middle and it was,” Maholm said. “He’s paid pretty well to do that.”
Maholm won’t have to face Pujols again until an Interleague matchup.
“There’s a reason I made sure no [American League] West team was on my wish list,” said Maholm, a free agent this offseason.
Maholm will pitch at Fitch Park on Wednesday, then join the Cubs in Chicago for Opening Day at Wrigley Field on Thursday. How good is the Cubs rotation?
“We’ll have to see,” Maholm said. “With [Ryan Dempster], he’s got a good track record. [Matt Garza] has the stuff and everything to be an ace, and the rest of us have to do our job. It’ll be on us. We’ll learn from each other, push each other and have fun and try to out pitch each other.”
Maholm has spent his entire career with the Pirates. How does he compare this spring with other camps?
“I thought everything was perfect,” he said. “Guys, on a consistent basis, were here early every morning, getting extra work in, making sure they were prepared to go on the field and when games start, guys were busting it. You don’t see a lot of guys taking it like, oh, it’s just Spring Training. We have to get ready and push ourselves to get ready for the season. I think that’s kind of [Dale Sveum's] personality. You work hard, play hard and have fun later.”
Clint Hurdle set the tone with the Pirates last season. Maholm said Sveum isn’t as loud as Hurdle.
“You respect the guy for coming in, laying it down and saying this is how we’re going to play and this is what I expect, and guys are taking a hold of it,” Maholm said.
– Carrie Muskat
New Cubs manager Dale Sveum has made it no secret about how much he likes Prince Fielder. Could the free agent slugger come to Chicago? Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com both think the Cubs are in the mix in the bidding for Fielder. However, Fielder, 27, and his agent, Scott Boras, are reportedly looking for a 10-year deal close to the $254 million that Albert Pujols received. That kind of contract does not appear to fit what Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have said they want to do in Chicago. The Blue Jays and Mariners also are reportedly interested in Fielder. He’s a career .282 hitter, and has averaged 38 homers over the last six years. Fielder has a .298 average at Wrigley Field with 11 home runs and 15 doubles.
The Cubs’ obligations payroll-wise beyond 2012 include $38 million for two more years to Alfonso Soriano and $9.8 million owed Carlos Marmol in 2013. If the Cubs could get Fielder to defer money the way in the first year of his deal the Brewers did with Aramis Ramirez’s contract, it would might be possible. Should the Cubs sign Fielder? What do you think?
– Carrie Muskat
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported the Cubs are still involved in talks with Albert Pujols on Wednesday. If they are, the Cubs are not believed to be offering the slugger a 10-year deal. Pujols has such received such offers from the Marlins and Cardinals. The Cubs may be dangling a shorter term contract — maybe five years? — to the three-time MVP.
One thing to keep in mind is one year ago, then Red Sox GM Theo Epstein was quoted as saying, “We’re not close to anybody,” and shortly after that, signed Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million deal.
– Carrie Muskat
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have divided the workload at the Winter Meetings, which Hoyer said has helped them be more productive. And at least one of them has apparently talked to representatives for free agents Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.
Where Pujols and Fielder go isn’t holding up the Cubs, but the two sluggers are the top topic at the Hilton Anatole.
“There’s a curiosity factor, for sure,” said Hoyer, the Cubs’ GM. “They’re two superstar level players but I don’t think those guys have to sign somewhere to break some kind of logjam. I think that’s already been broken. I think it’s a mistake if you’re waiting around for that.
“Obviously, they’re two players we’re involved in,” Hoyer said, “but to wait around for things to happen, you can miss out. We’re working on a lot of fronts.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that the Cubs made a “qualifying bid” for Pujols. Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations, did meet with Pujols’ agent Dan Lozano on Monday but Epstein said those discussions were about pitcher Rodrigo Lopez. The Post-Dispatch reported it had confirmed the Cubs did submit a bid for Pujols, but more in the five-year range and it would include a full no-trade clause.
Hoyer would not comment on specific players. However, he did say Tuesday that no-trade clauses are to be “avoided.”
Fielder would make more sense for the Cubs than Pujols if they did want a big slugger. Although Fielder would still require a major financial commitment, it most likely would not be a 10-year contract, which is what Pujols was reportedly being offered by the Marlins. Plus, Fielder would be reunited with Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who was his hitting coach in Milwaukee.
“There’s rumors out there and all that,” Sveum said of the Cubs and Fielder. “I don’t see that we’ve started any talks or anything like that. … We’re not in any kind of process talking to him or anything like that.”
– Carrie Muskat
Dale Sveum has heard the rumors about the Cubs being linked to free agents Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder but he’s not penciling either in his early lineups.
“If they’re at HoHoKam [Park] at the beginning of Spring Training, that’s when you like to think more about that,” Sveum said Tuesday. “It’s obviously nice to be in an organization that can even mention their names to even think about them. They’re two great players.”
Sveum, taking his turn during the manager news conferences at the Hilton Anatole at the Winter Meetings, was in the process of finalizing his coaching staff. All that’s missing is a first base coach. So far, Rudy Jaramillo, Pat Listach and Lester Strode will return from the 2011 staff and be joined by pitching coach Chris Bosio and bench coach Jamie Quirk.
Also missing in the Cubs lineup is a big slugger as Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena are both gone via free agency. That’s why the Cubs have been linked to Pujols and Fielder. Sveum, who was the Brewers hitting coach before getting the managing job, would give the Cubs an edge in recruiting Fielder.
“He’s one of those special guys who comes around once in a while, once in a lifetime,” Sveum said of Fielder. “He should’ve played the game in the 1950s and ’60s and ’70s when guys played every day, they played as hard as they possibly could every single day. They cared about winning, they cared about their teammates. Prince is all those things. He’s one of those special guys.”
Sveum has heard the rumors linking the Cubs to Fielder, but said he’s not aware of any conversations.
“We’re not in any kind of process talking to him or anything like that,” he said.
How much of a force is Fielder?
“He’s an impact player who impacts the whole team,” Sveum said.
As for Pujols, Sveum is hoping the free agent finds a new team outside of the National League Central.
“I had to witness over the last six years what he could do,” Sveum said. “It’s pretty impressive. He’s definitely the best hitter in baseball right now. What he did in the playoffs and all that stuff speaks for itself. If he’s not with us, you hope he’s in another division.”
– Carrie Muskat
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday the Cubs have made a “qualifying bid” for free agent slugger Albert Pujols. That doesn’t mean the Cubs are offering a 10-year package, but they may have dangled a five-year deal which would include a no-trade clause. A 10-year mega contract is not likely because that does not doesn’t fit into what Theo Epstein has said he wants to do in Chicago. Epstein did meet with Pujols’ agent Dan Lozano on Monday, although Epstein said those discussions were more about pitcher Rodrigo Lopez. The Post-Dispatch says it confirmed the Cubs did submit a bid for Pujols. A Cubs official denied the reports. Jon Heyman of MLB Network says the Cubs are eyeing Prince Fielder more than Pujols. The Marlins and Cardinals have reportedly offered Pujols 10-year contracts.
– Carrie Muskat
With both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder free agents, there’s a chance that at least one, if not both, could be out of the National League Central next season. Does that possibility of not having to face the two sluggers affect how Theo Epstein goes about his business with the Cubs?
“I try not to focus on that too much,” Epstein said Monday. “There’s a lot of work to do here. There’s a pretty big gap between where we are now and where we want to go, both at the Major League level and as an organization more broadly so. I think if we start tracking whether an opposing team might be a 91-win team or a 96-win team, it’s probably not the best use of our time.
“We need to try to build our own operation up to a point where we feel pretty good about consistently delivering a team that’s going to be a strong playoff contender,” he said. “There will always be good teams in this division — I think it’s an underrated division — and whether or not these impact bats stay or go, if they go, those teams are going to have more Draft picks and more resources available to them to improve the rest of their club. If they stay, those guys are tough to get out. Either way, I don’t think it will impact what we’re trying to do.”
– Carrie Muskat
Theo Epstein did meet with the agent for Albert Pujols on Monday. But Dan Lozano also represents Rodrigo Lopez, a pitcher whom the Cubs would like to return to give them pitching depth.
“You see [Lozano] going into someone’s room, it’s not always that you’re there to talk about the big Kahuna,” Epstein said.
That’s the nature of the Winter Meetings, which officially got underway Monday at the Hilton Anatole with lots of talk, not a lot of action.
The Cubs do need a first baseman, but Pujols and the multi-year, mega deal he’s seeking doesn’t appear to fit what Epstein & Co. are trying to do. Bryan LaHair might. Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer did meet with LaHair, who was at the meetings to receive an award Monday after leading all of the Minor Leagues with 38 home runs at Triple-A Iowa. No promises were made to LaHair, who was to return to Venezuela on Tuesday for a few more weeks of Winter League play with Magallanes.
“We told him we appreciate the things he can do as a player and asked him to concentrate on certain elements of his game as well and said we look forward to seeing him in Spring Training,” Epstein said.
At least LaHair is an option at first. As far as third base, Epstein said, they “have internal candidates more than definite internal solutions.”
The Cubs’ options include Jeff Baker, DJ LeMahieu, Josh Vitters and Junior Lake. There were reports the Cubs had talked to the Rockies about Ian Stewart, and Epstein said they’ve put a few feelers out.
“We’re not close to anybody,” Epstein said.
– Carrie Muskat
Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, touched base on a variety of topics prior to the Winter Meetings, which begin next week in Dallas.
* As far as the new rules stated in the collective bargaining agreement regarding the Draft, Epstein said the Cubs will simply have to make sure they get the evaluations right as far as scouting players. “You have to answer the ultimate question: which player is going to have the best career?” he said.
He said the adjustments — and potential limits on what teams can spend without incurring a penalty — will not affect how they spend money on free agents. The goal is to still develop the team through scouting and player development. He said, “We just have to be better” in terms of scouting.
* What about rumors the Cubs are reportedly pursuing free agents Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder?
“I don’t think we pay too much attention to rumors,” Epstein said.
The priorities haven’t changed. Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer want to build the Cubs the right way for the long haul, mainly through scouting and player development and with the acquisition of young players. The second aspect is taking advantage of every opportunity they can.
“We’re not going to do anything to serve the second priority that disrupts the first,” he said. “If there’s a move that makes us much better in the short term but it’s at the expense of doing things the right way and building it for the long haul through a core of young players, we’re not going to make that move.”
So, keep that in mind when you hear the next rumor regarding the Cubs.
* Top priority heading into the Meetings? It’s starting pitching.
“We need starting pitching,” Epstein said. “You can’t take your chances very seriously as a club if you go into a season with not just five guys you can point to but six, seven, eight guys. You better know who your ninth starter is going to be because you’re going to need him. The numbers show you’re going to need your ninth starter through the course of the year.”
* Epstein said he enjoyed meeting the Cubs staff in the Dominican during a recent scouting trip. He would not comment on the players he saw, which included Cuban outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler.
* With the addition of David DeJesus, where does that leave Brett Jackson? Epstein said he hadn’t talked to the young outfielder yet but did say Jackson is “the type of guy we want here and he’s got a bright future here.” Jackson will have to show he’s ready for the big leagues. Epstein said there has been a trend to promote players quickly from Double-A. He says Triple-A is a finishing school, and some players need to take the time there.
* Carlos Zambrano is healing after taking a line drive off his face during a start in Venezuela. There is no timetable for Zambrano’s return to pitch there, but he is expected to make another start for Caribes. Big Z needed 16 stitches to repair a cut after he was hit.
* Where does Epstein see Jeff Samardzija and Andrew Cashner – in the rotation or the bullpen? Right now, Epstein said they’ve had discussions on the two right-handers.
“I do see both guys being really valuable pieces to the picture,” said Epstein, encouraged by Cashner’s performance in the Arizona Fall League. He also noted Samardzija looked much better in the second half of the season, and added “next year is a big year to build on that.”
Don’t expect Sean Marshall to be in the rotation mix.
“If you have the best left-handed reliever in baseball, it’s hard to think about taking him out of that role,” Epstein said.
* New manager Dale Sveum’s coaching staff could be announced next week.
* Don’t expect to see Epstein in the lobby of the Hilton Anatole during the Winter Meetings.
“It’s one of the few times that all 30 clubs are actively engaged in talking trade, which is nice,” Epstein said. “There’s a perception out there that the job of a GM or club president is always on the phone with the 29 other clubs talking about trades and it really doesn’t happen that often. You have to seize those opportunities at the GM meetings, at the Winter Meetings.”
So, he can pick up the phone and walk down the hall to talk to another team.
“I’ll be honest, you’re not going to see me down there [in the lobby] much,” he said. “I tend to stay in the room. I don’t like that scene in the lobby. We’ll try to get in the same room with our scouts and management team and gauge agents and scouts.”
– Carrie Muskat