The latest Cubs-relevant news and rumors from around MLB…
- Jayson Stark takes an extended look at the two big boys on the market this Winter: Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. After speaking with “a dozen executives from clubs that are unlikely to participate in this auction,” Stark was able to lay out the following expectations: the average projection for Pujols was 8.5 years at just over $28 million per year (as high as $300 millions over 10 years, and as low as $90 million over 3 years), while the average projection for Fielder was about 7 years and $22.5 million per year. Stark doesn’t think Fielder will take a deal with an average annual value under $25 million, though – the amount Ryan Howard got on his recent extension. As for landing spots, every executive but one said Pujols would stay in St. Louis (the lone dissenter had him coming to the Cubs), and Fielder’s votes were split evenly among Texas, Baltimore, Miami, Seattle, Washington, and Chicago.
- The Marlins, who are meeting with Pujols today, plan to make an aggressive offer for the first baseman. With a new stadium to fill, it’s not a surprise. You can expect the Marlins to be serious bidders on a great number of free agents this year.
- The Angels might consider Pujols or Fielder, too. “Don’t assume that we have no interest in Fielder or Pujols,” Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto said. “We don’t want to lock the door. We are a high-revenue team and I’m a big believer in acquiring impact players. However, they are not our greatest need and are not priority number one on our list.”
- The Dodgers, on the other hand, are not expected to be able to make serious offers to big names like Pujols and Fielder until the team is sold. Ditto Orioles on the no big-time free agent thing. And the Rangers probably won’t make an offer on either of them if it requires seven or eight years.
- Jon Heyman doesn’t see Pujols leaving the Cardinals for an extra $20 million. It’ll take a huge offer to get him to leave.
- Every article you read on Pujols’ free agency cites the Cubs as one of his expected pursuers, but, do you still get that sense? I don’t. I think the Cubs would consider Pujols for big money despite his age, but only if he came for about five years. I just don’t see Pujols doing that.
- Remember when I said earlier this week that it “felt” like CJ Wilson’s expected contract had fallen far from the $100 million range? Well, now there’s word that if it exceeds a “mere” five years and $75 million, the Rangers will probably bow out of the bidding. And that’s about where his contract is expected to be at this point. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a big commitment to a guy with such a limited track record as a starter, but … at five years and $75 million, I can’t be the only guy thinking the Cubs should be bidding.
- That 4-year, $44 million deal the Phillies had in place with closer Ryan Madson might never have been in place to begin with. That’s according to Phillies’ GM, Ruben Amaro. The Phillies are now checking out Jonathon Papelbon, and, from the Cubs’ perspective, the only hope is that whomever they land on, they give the guy a healthy contract – thus increasing the attractiveness of Carlos Marmol’s two-year, $17 million deal. Of course, there are still some “affordable” closer options on the market, including Jonathan Broxton, Joe Nathan, and Brad Lidge. UPDATE: As I was typing, the Phillies signed Papelbon to a deal that is around four years and $50 million (with a vesting option that could take the deal over $60 million). Yo. That’s good news, generally speaking.
- Yoenis Cespedes is expected to get more than the six-year, $30.5 million deal Aroldis Chapman got from the Reds. The Cubs are listed as one of his possible suitors in that article, something I heard from a source earlier this week.
- Stark cites a couple sources in his Fielder/Pujols article who are concerned that Yu Darvish hasn’t been posted yet, and Jon Heyman hears the same. Because the process takes so long, even if Darvish were posted today, the team winning the bid might not know it until late December. And then it can take another 30 days to negotiate a contract. In short: time is ticking. Of course, wouldn’t that be a nice pre-negotiating tactic? Wait on the posting, so that by the time the “winning” team gets to negotiate with Darvish, it’s so late in the offseason that all the other quality arms have been signed. There goes your leverage, and up goes Darvish’s price.
- Mark Buehrle says he won’t be giving a hometown discount to the Sox, and sources indicate there are as many as 10 teams interested in the 32-year-old lefty.
- The White Sox will listen to offers on John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and Carlos Quentin – all of whom could potentially interest the Cubs.
- The Reds aren’t expected to be heavy players in the free agent market this year.
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