Congratulations to Darwin Barney, who just became a father for the second time over. Just remember the lesson I’ve been unable to live: “parents, don’t let your children grow up to be Cubs fans.” Eh. Maybe things will be different over the next 50 years.

  • With the Cardinals out of the race now, and his impending free agency inching closer, the Albert Pujols talk is going to be starting soon. The Cardinals offered Albert Pujols around nine years and $195 to $210 million in the offseason, according to various reports. It sounds like Pujols was happy about the nine years part, but not too happy about the $22/23 million average annual value. If the Cubs are even going to consider making a run at Pujols, he’ll have to decide on one or the other: huge number of years, or huge annual amount. He isn’t going to get both, at least not from the Cubs. On a large market team like the Cubs, there’s a case to be made for offering something like $30 million per year, but for no more than five years.
  • The Sun-Times ponders whether the Cubs should take a year off in 2012 and fully rebuild (which means no Pujols, and no Prince Fielder, for that matter), and whether fans would still come out to see a rebuilding club in Chicago. The Sun-Times’ sampling of three fans proved inconclusive.
  • Andrew Cashner didn’t get into last night’s game, which means he’ll go at least four days between outings. I know last night’s game was just *critical* to win, but it probably would have been a good idea to get Cashner some work.
  • Bill Buckner wouldn’t mind managing the Chicago Cubs some day. To start, he’d like to take the reigns at the Cubs’ low-A affiliate, the Boise Hawks. Current Hawks manager Mark Johnson is probably not pleased. He’s also probably not pleased because the Hawks were eliminated from the playoffs yesterday.
  • The Cubs and Mesa are still trying to finalize plans for the non-baseball part of the Wrigleyville West Spring Training complex (actually, it’s the part that abuts up next to what will officially be known as Wrigleyville). Waveyard Development, LLC was going to build a big sports-themed resort, but couldn’t get financing. A version of the resort still might happen, but, if you’ve got a couple hundred million you’d like to throw around, I reckon the Cubs and Mesa will jump on board.
  • Rejoice: the Cubs and Pabst have reached an agreement to keep Old Style beer at Wrigley Field for at least the next two years. No one understands better than a Cubs fan the importance of tradition over taste.
  • Cubs_Fanatic

    Yeah. The rumors are probably going to fly in a week after the WS. ( I think thats when everyone can file for free agency now right?) But if the Cubs go for Pujols, I PRAY that they go low on the years and mid way on money. I’d be fine with 20M a year, but I’d want incentives after that. They don’t have to be huge, just to make sure we don’t get robbed.

  • 1CubFanInPA

    This is such a tough call on the Pujols signing idea. On one hand the salary he’ll command will be enormous and much of it can be generated through ticket sales and merchandise sales on his name alone. But, on the other hand, if the Cubs are going to dump Big Z and Soriano over the winter they’re assuredly going to end up eating mega-millions on those contracts. Then to add a guy like Pujols? Geez! That’s a ton of dough to plunk down just to rid the team of two problems while only adding one piece. The Cubs desperately need pitching. If the bank vault is going to be open to try to fix the problems and make a serious run at contending in 2012 then I’m all for trying to sign Pujols. But if they’re looking at 2012 as a rebuilding year then I say ‘pass’ on Pujols — AND Fielder — and put the money into fixing this club’s numerous ails in order to achieve success over the long haul — not just for 2012.

    • Cubs_Fanatic

      Well if those ticket sales pay for themselves, doesn’t that pay for Pujols alone? I think hes worth a five year deal with it lowering as he ages. Sabathia is one I would like to see sign. But I’d also like to see Reyes. As for unloading Soriano and Z, if Wells can be moved, ANYONE can. If Bradley could be moved, so can Z. The rotation is going to be a big issue either way. If we trade to upgrade it, we lose young talent. If we spend all the money on pitching, we have virtually no upgrade on defense/offence. Double-edged sword man. The new GM is going to have a fun time with this one….

  • baseballet

    Even with Pujols in the lineup, the Cubs would be a fourth place team at best next season. The Cubs need a young core they can build around. Once the young core is in place, that would be the time to splurge on star free agents in their thirties.
    While a case could be made for acquiring Fielder since he’s younger, the Cubs would be buying him at his peak value. It would be nice if they could get a future star before he peaks! That’s what happened when the Cubs got Aramis.
    Lets buy low and sell high for a change. I think the Cubs need to take some me-time and get their house in order – let the young players take their lumps next season and see which ones are keepers. 2012 is a lost cause, let’s plan for the future.

    • Fishin Phil

      Many people will tell you a total rebuild like you are suggesting won’t fly in a large market like Chicago.  However, I completely agree with you baseballet.  I have been suffering with this team for over 40 years, so one year of complete rebuild for the promise of better things to come is no problem for me.

      • MichiganGoat

        I see where you are coming from, but you can rebuild while you sign premier FA. It doesn’t make sense to just sit and hope that you can rebuild with homegrown talent and trading for young players. You could end up with 10+ years if you keep wishing and hoping that if you give the kids a chance they will all develop into superstars. Ricketts wants to model the Cubs after the Red Sox and that means continue to develop hometown talent, BUT sign the big name FA when they fit a need. The Cubs have no 1B that available for the next five years and Pujols or Fielder are tops at their position and will have 5 years of success in each of them. It is irresponsible not to make a serious attempt at either of them. Fielder is patient hitter with three consecutive season of .400+ OBP and Pujols is a machine, either of them will be a anchor for a team that is building homegrown talent and will make every other hitter around them even better. The Cubs must try to get on of them without over paying.

        • Fishin Phil

          I understand that you can’t just rely on homegrown talent, but I would really rather see them spend their free agent dollars on starting pitching.  If they can do both a corner infielder and pitching at the same time, great, but I don’t think they’ll be able to pull that off.

          • CubFan Paul

            what starting pitching Phil? what pitching are taking about that you would rather the team spend on?

            • Fishin Phil

              C J Wilson would be a nice start.

              • CubFan Paul

                it starts & ends with Wilson, therefore leaving money for other free agents (Fielder & mid level guys)

          • MichiganGoat

            Again I agree with you, but there is only one top FA pitcher this year in CJ Wilson and I don’t see the Cubs getting into the bidding war that will occur between the Yanks and Sox or Wilson’s desire to stay at Texas. The best FA available this year are Fielder, Pujols, and Wilson. It will be a poor off season if we don’t land one of those three and honestly I believe Fielder is the only one the Cubs have a real chance of signing. I can’t imagine a new GM wanting to stand still and not make a serious move this year and next year so that the Cubs are poised to make a run during the 2013-2015 seasons. We can continue to build and develop homegrown talent and trade or other pieces, but we can’t let a top tier 1B pass by without a serious attempt.

    • Brett

      Adding Pujols for five years would be less about 2012 than about 2013 through 2015. Pujols (and Fielder) is a free agent this year. Not next year. Sometimes you’ve got to sign the guy when he’s actually available, even if you’re not ready to compete for another year or two.

      … that said, I’m generally a supporter of the rebuild approach.

      • Fishin Phil

        Do you honestly think Pujols will sign for only 5 years?  I don’t, which is the main reason I would prefer the Cubs don’t pursue him.

        • Brett

          No, I don’t. But it can’t hurt to try and blow everyone else away on annual value with a shorter deal.

  • chris margetis

    I think I’d rather see Buckner stick to doing Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes.

  • jt

    hmmm i disabled javascript and I can bypass the Herald’s paywall and read their cubs coverage! Just thought you guys might like to know :)

    • TWC

      Paywall designers aren’t that smart.  Take, for example, the New York Times’.  If you click Stop just before the page finishes loading it never loads the paywall barrier.  Maybe some people can’t be bothered to make that extra click, but if it’s saving me $20/month, I’ll gladly add a click to my news browsing.

      Another note:  if you triple-click Reload and Back at the same time while on, you’ll gain access to the invitation-only section of the website where you’ll find Geovany Soto’s personal beard grooming blog and naked pictures of John Grabow flipping you the bird while rolling around in the piles of money he’s made this year.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

      • Brett

        Dude. That’s the pay part of the site. Don’t tell people that – that’s where my bread is buttered.

        • Fishin Phil

          Glad to hear that is just butter, I was concerned at first.

  • Vince

    Forget the notion that either Fielder or Pujols is coming to the Cubs. St. Louis and Milwaukee will find plenty of beer money to keep them right where they are. Besides, why in the world would either player want to come to a loosing organization with little or no future except yet another failing rebuilding plan, not to mention playing in that morgue (Wrigley Field).

  • Toosh

    I’m with you on Pujols but I think Fielder will walk.

    • TWC

      Agreed.  I don’t think that Milwaukee has the ability to sustain their winning ways and I think that Fielder can see it.  They’ve sold a lot to get to where they are right now, which is likely a first-round playoff exit.

      • Fishin Phil

        Yup, the Brewers shot their wad this year.

  • Coal

    It’s hard to imagine Fielder leaving (or ownership letting him leave) if the Brewers have any sort of decent run in the playoffs. With the Cards, Cubs, Reds and Pirates fading as they did this year, the next few years could be the Brewers window.

    • Ol’CharlieBrown

      Agreed. I think the chances of Pujols leaving the Cardinals have increased just by the fact that the Cardinals won’t be in the playoffs. Obviously if they went to the World Series and won, the Cards would probably put much more effort towards bringing him back and he would probably have more reason to want to come back. Even though the Brewers will be in the post season, something tells me they won’t last long and so I think the same theory applies to Fielder as well.

    • CubFan Paul

      newflash Coal & Charlie: Fielder already turned down a $100plus Million Dollar extension to stay in Milwaukee. He will be a free agent. the money he turned down went to Ryan Braun to the tune of 5years/$105M extension (2016-20), plus 2021 mutual option.

      The Brewers tried to resign him this last offseason & Fielder balked at it and the Brewers called his bluff and extended Braun’s contract instead when they didnt have to ..Fielder will be elsewhere no matter what the Brewers do postseason wise

      • CubFan Paul be more clear: The Brewers want Fielder back at a “hometown Discount” like Braun’s current deal and extension, but thats not going to happen because Scott Boras represents Fielder and they know his worth on the open market ..especially to a team like the Cubs with the money & gigantic hole at 1st base

  • Mike Foster

    I’m not a Pujols fan, let him stay in St. Louis and eat up their payroll for 9 or 10 years. Plus, he had an off year (yeah, I know, 1 yr not = career), I think he’s starting his fade. Two reasons, his SO were done but his BB were off worse. Is he now GO or FO batter? And his games were down, how much more DL time do we want to buy? I agree with Phil though, 20 Mil at 5 years (shudder, too long) might be OK. YMMV.

  • RY

    i love pujols and all for the cubs, but a nine year deal at over 23 mil per is nowhere near what this team needs to do to help itself.

  • ISU Birds

    Don’t go after Pujols please. i can almost guarentee it won’t end well. (See: Alfonso Soriano, Milton Bradley) C.J. Wilson would be such a better place to try and go. Garza, Dempster, Wilson, Cashner, Wells. I could live with that rotation.

  • Deez

    *** REBUILD! ***
    The Soriano contract, Zito’s contract, & the Initial A.Rod Contract have shown the way. No Player can perform up to any contract over 5 years. If you buy Pujols, you’re going to overpay & have to buy other pieces to show the emphasis towards winning.

  • chris margetis

    I brought this up in a previous post and feel it needs some reiteration given Brett echoing the sentiment. What is wrong with the Cubs offering Pujols a ridiculously high yearly deal(5 years $175+) with a much shorter term? The answer: nothing. If it forces the offers of the Card and other teams upward, which winds you up with the following scenario’s:
    1) He signs with the Cubs and you have a FAR more dangerous hitter than any other player + the marqee name that brings in more revenue, thereby paying for itself and crushing the collective spirit of your biggest rival.

    2) He resigns a monster deal with the Cards, which cripples their payroll going forward.

    3) He signs outside of the NL Central, where no other team can afford him and you don’t have to deal with him head to head.

    And oh, by the way, there is still some cash to go after pitching, and much more coming off next year.

    I would agree there is little chance Albert would go for a 5 year deal regardless of the yearly (within reason), but it sure wouldn’t hurt to take a shot and make your biggest rival cough up some serious cash against a much smaller payroll.

    • chris margetis

      Also, I have to include that this is ONLY because it is Pujols and ONLY because he is a Cardinal and the effect it would have were he to leave. Any other player, any other team, I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever condone this type of action or dollars for anyone. That said I still contend player+current team warrant special circustance and consideration.

  • Steve

    So…try to force the Cards to spend too much, and cripple their payroll flexibility going forward? So? Oh, then we’ll have them near the bottom of the division, right beside us? Someone to suffer with? Bad idea. Hurting the Cards doesn’t put a better product on the field IN CHICAGO. Spite is a terrible motivater. Improve our team. Let the Cards worry about their own.

  • chris margetis

    No, the point is not working in spite, it’s would be the bonus of virtually any of the scenarios posed. Big difference.

  • Robert

    i say fuck pujols. we don’t need another huge contract again, look at what soriano and zambrano have done for us. i say we give LaHair a shot at first base. he’s only 28 and has tremendous pop in his bat. i say the cubs go out this free agent market and rebuild by getting SOLID pitching. thats what they need anyway is solid pitching.. not an aging pujols.

  • baseballet

    I don’t buy that a mega contract for Pujols would pay for itself through increased attendance. This is a team headed for a lot of losses next year. Add Pujols to the roster and you still have a terrible team.
    The Cubs should address their biggest problems first, and home runs from our first baseman are not our most pressing concern. Pena is a capable place holder for another year. The Cubs have bad pitching, and they’re the slowest and worst fielding NL team. Signing Pujols to a mega contract does not address those problems.