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It may be the greatest love story of all time – if you’re a Chicago Cubs fan. San Diego Padres first baseman, and all-around stud, Adrian Gonzalez loves Chicago, loves Wrigley Field, and likes the idea of becoming a Chicago Cub.

*Gush*

But. There’s always a but. Gonzalez is not a free agent until after 2011.

”There’s definitely a lot of positives about Chicago that if they made an offer, I would be interested in it,” said Gonzalez, 28, whose ability to hit for power to all fields is one reason he has a career .693 slugging percentage at Wrigley Field (85 plate appearances).

”Chicago’s a great town, and they have great fans, and I like the fact that it’s a small ballpark. I know the wind can play against you, but it can play for you, too. There’s definitely some positives. And my wife loves Chicago, for the shopping.”

Gonzalez, who said he was told before last season that the Cubs and Padres were discussing a trade to send him to Chicago, likes the idea of a reunion with his original big-league hitting coach, Rudy Jaramillo — who had done his own behind-the-scenes recruiting of his former star student. CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

There are so many revelations there that I can hardly parse them all. First and foremost, the Cubs – or at least Rudy Jaramillo – are already recruiting Gonzalez? Leaving aside the possible tampering allegations, it seems odd to recruit a guy who’s under contract for another year. Not that I’m complaining.

Does this mean that the Cubs will be looking for a stop-gap first base in 2011? Perhaps, but pinning their hopes to Gonzalez for 2012 could be a risky strategy if another team – for example, the Red Sox – swoops in and outbids the Cubs. Would you rather have Adam Dunn for the next few years or Adrian Gonzalez? The obvious answer is Gonzalez; but the uncertainty of Gonzalez certainly makes the question closer.

Also, what are the chances the Padres will consider moving Gonzalez as they did before this season (another revelation: the Cubs and Padres discussed a Gonzalez trade?! was Derrek Lee willing to go to San Diego? what did the Cubs offer? is my brain going to pop? zoinks!), and the season before? Given the team’s successful 2010 campaign, it’s hard to imagine them moving Gonzalez ($5.5 million salary in 2011) until mid-season at the earliest, and only then if the Padres are long out of it. And the price? It’s likely to be quite steep – though I imagine that we’d gladly say goodbye to some of our favorite prospects (many of whom are blocked by overpriced, long-term-signed vets anyway, right?).

Long story short – OMG Adrian Gonzalez Watch is probably a future reality.

  • N

    The big problem with overhauling this team this offseason is the Cubs really don’t have much bad money coming off the books – Lilly and Lee will be gone, but a lot of that would (theoretically) be ate up by their replacements and increases in other places.

    2011 offseason is a whole lot better – Fukudome’s contract will be over, Grabow’s contract will be done, and Silva’s contract will be done. That’s nearly $30 mil a year of players who can be replaced by a lot cheaper guys* and leave plenty of room for a run at Adrian Gonzalez. If this is for real, I’d hate for them to give up that space early by overreacting to this season.

    * – though Kosuke has been underrated this year.

    • Kevin G

      Gonzalez is pretty cheap for next year, I don’t think he is even 10 mil. Ace, question for you if Gonzalez what would you be willing to to give up to get him?

      • Ace

        It’s $5.5 million. The Cubs should be willing to give up anyone in the system, and anyone on the big club except Castro or Soto (yes, that includes guys like Cashner, Brett Jackson, Chris Archer, and Josh Vitters). How many of those guys they should give up is up for debate, but almost no one should be untouchable.

  • Willis

    You give up about anything for a dude who has hit 30 hr in a ballpark not meant for HRs. He would be awesome in a Cub uniform. He probably has 5-6 years at least of greatness left, so you give up whatever the hell the Padres want if it is on the table and then lock him up for a few more years.

  • Butcher

    I’m not going to hold my breath.

    • Ace

      I’ll hold it for you.

  • Willis

    Haha….me either. I get the feeling there will be hardly any moves made this offseason and what we see now is what we will see next April.

  • CubsFanatic

    To be quite honest, having this guy as a Cub would make me happy. Although that is slight. But if we did trade for him, I wouldn’t give an arm and a leg for him. For one year? Come on guys. No guarantee he would be back. Give soem good ones, but not anyone like Jackson or something. (Now watch. Now that I say that. Just watch.)

    • Bric

      Which Jackson, Jay or Brett? I only say this because I put Jay in with a couple of other guys (Coleman, Archer and Dolis) who will have years ahead of them in the big leagues but don’t promise to be anything awesome. In my mind I’d always take one all star over three servicable pitchers any day. We saw this year what having a bunch of average relievers gets you if you have no hitting. But if you meant Brett Jackson, then that’s a different question. He should’ve been minor league player of the year.

      • Ace

        You put Archer in the group of guys you think won’t be anything awesome? Odds are stacked against all prospects – generally speaking – but Archer was a good a minor league pitcher as there was in 2010, and he’s young for his level. He’s the Cubs top pitching prospect by a good margin.

        • Jeff

          And who was the last Cubs top pitching prospect that panned out? The last top prospect period that has worked out for the Cubs (besides Castro)? I’d say trade whoever they need to.

          • Ace

            I believe I said exactly that in this very thread.

        • Bric

          I agree, Archer is the only pitching prospect I would hasitate to deal. The point is, other than him, Lee, and Brett Jackson, no one in the farm system has all star potential (and that includes Vitters, Dolis, and Guyer). That being said, I would jump at the chance to send Jay Jackson and ten other minor leaguers for one reasonably young, reasonably cheap all star at a position we need to fill.

  • KB

    This reminds me of when Jim Thome publicly pleaded to play for the Cubs. He’s from the area, had been a Cub fan since birth, loved the park, the fans, the city, everything.

    The Cubs said, “Meh.”

    • BT

      That’s right KB. And the Phillies jumped on him. And guess what? Halfway through the huge contract they gave him, they decided they wanted to get rid of him so badly they PAID the White Sox to take him. Part of that was the fact they had a replacement ready in Ryan Howard, but much of it was because they didn’t think he could play 1B anymore. And they were right. He has played a grand total of FOUR games at 1b since then.

      I can’t believe (actually I totally can) that you are griping that the Cubs didn’t give an enormous contract to a guy whom the Philies had to pay to dump. Not to mention giving a 7 year contract to a guy with a history of back injuries seems insane by itself.

      Thome is a wonderful player, and is very valuable, but only to an American League team. The Cubs, last I checked, don’t play in the American League.

  • Ace

    Didn’t the Cubs hang on to Grace for one more year after that?

    • Sandberg

      They didn’t sign Thome because they had Choi

      • Ace

        That’s right – though I thought I remembered them bringing back Grace on a one-year deal the year Thome was a free agent (and then the next year they let Grace walk to give Choi a chance).

        • Sandberg

          Yeah I misread your response :) My comment does not refute yours.

  • Willis

    You make the trade if it’s out there and part of the agreement is signing him to an extension for 4-5 years. If it’s only for one year or half a year then no, no need in trading for him, wait to play high stakes FA games in 2012.

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