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Prince Fielder is not going to choose to come to the Chicago Cubs – assuming they pursue him at all – solely because his former hitting coach, Dale Sveum, is now the manager of the Cubs.

It’s important to make that message perfectly clear at the outset of discussions about one of the top free agents on the market this Winter. It can be superficially attractive to jump to unrealistic and unfounded conclusions when you’ve got the kind of connection Sveum and Fielder have, so, before discussing that connection and what it could mean to the Cubs, it is important to place yourself in the right frame of mind.

So, again: Prince Fielder is not going to choose to come to the Chicago Cubs solely because Dale Sveum is now the manager of the Cubs.

But, as I’ve said, Sveum now being in Chicago is not completely meaningless when it comes to Fielder. Before concluding just how meaningful Sveum’s presence actually is to Fielder, two questions are necessary: are Theo and Jed going to pursue Fielder? and can Sveum help make landing him possible?

To the latter question first, Sveum was asked about his relationship with Fielder, and how that might impact his new team’s offseason plans.

Primarily, Sveum is a huge Fielder fan.

“Prince and I have a great relationship,” Sveum said. “I love Prince to death. It would be nice to have him at first base because of what he brings to the table every single day.”

And it’s not just Fielder’s production that Sveum likes. He likes the way Fielder plays the game. “It’s nice to watch a guy play and want to play every single day. He hits the ball, [and] he’s running as hard as he can. He pops up to the infield, [and] he runs, every single day. It’s not like he takes the day off.”

But, get the meat, Dale. Can you help get Fielder to the Cubs?

“Yeah, if it ever came to [president of baseball operations] Theo [Epstein] and the Ricketts family thinking that that was the right fit and the right time for this organization, I think me being here would definitely help the process,” Sveum conceded.

Swell. But, if the Cubs aren’t planning to pursue Fielder, the Sveum connection is merely academic. Obviously Theo and Jed aren’t going to come out and say they’re looking to sign Fielder, but Jed did tip his hand ever so slightly. First, he spoke generally of the Cubs’ plans.

“I think we are now in the mode of the offseason where we’re starting to look at players,” Hoyer said on Friday. “We had a lot of conversations with agents and a lot of conversations with teams [at the GM meetings]. But we are not close on anything. We know what we want. Now it’s a question of continuing some of those conversations to a conclusion.”

Hoyer no doubt intended to remain general when asked about Prince Fielder, but may have hinted at interest.

“He’s a great player,” Hoyer said. “He provides a ton of production and that goes without saying. Dale [Sveum] has great respect for him. As for whether we will be involved, we can’t comment. But I think he fits anyone’s team, especially anyone that needs a first baseman.”

If that last sentence is not his way of saying, “yeah, he’s an awesome bat at first base, which kind of happens to be exactly what we need,” then I don’t know how else he could have said it. In other words, the Cubs are at least a little bit interested.

So, where does that leave things?

The money. The money. The money.

It’s still all about the money. The latest reports have Prince wanting eight years and $200 million. The Cubs are not going to give him that kind of contract – some other team might, but the Cubs aren’t going to match it. And, if some team gives him that kind of money, the entire discussion about Dale Sveum’s influence fades behind the rising smoke from all of the $100s Fielder can use to light his cigars (also made of $1oos).

If, however, the Cubs want Fielder, and are willing to keep their offer within striking distance of the top offer, then maybe the prospect of staying with Sveum will help break a tie in Fielder’s mind.

  • die hard

    No way should Fielder come here. In 3 years he wont even be able to bend over and tie his shoes. Likely destination is Houston where he can DH.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      What would the Astros do with Wallace in 2012? Hasn’t played anywhere but 1B since 2009. Do they give up on him?

      I’ve already gone too far in the discussion – the Astros are highly unlikely to spend that kind of money this Winter, and haven’t been connected to Fielder in any rumors yet.

      • die hard

        they want to make big splash…sign Fielder and trade Wallace…maybe even to Cubs

        • cubs8ball

          You’re an idiot.

          • die hard

            Now now…a few weeks ago Brett warned against such nasty comments…be nice or be gone

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Let’s try to keep it civil, and focused on the issues, whatever our personal beefs might be. We’re all better than that.

          • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

            Me not like people who flame other people.

        • Jeff

          Jim Crane came out and said that the Astros weren’t going to spend big money in free agency.  He said their payroll will be in line with income and that it won’t be increasing very much.  They are going to continue to focus on developing their own guys.  I don’t see them in on Fielder, but I could see them going after a guy like Pena if he’s available.

      • JasonB

        Not to mention the fact that the Astros have their own old, average hitting, bad defense, albatross contract LF in Carlos Lee whom they like to hide at 1B every once in awhile.

        • die hard

          Lee can replace Ortiz at Boston

  • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

    I don’t see the Cubs getting Fielder as being “likely,” but I think it’s a possibility. Theo and crew know that they will get some slack in rebuilding the Cubs, but they also know that “very patient” Cub fans are likely to wait, maybe, a full season. If the Cubs are planning (as they should) on being competitive/dominant by 2013, signing a young monster like Fielder makes some sense.

    However, even if Ricketts wants to make it rain, there are more pressing needs that need addressed. If we can sign some stud pitching prospects that can make an impact in 2013+ and maybe a good free agent, and still have money left over? Fielder would be more likely. If all our money goes into pitching and development (which is just fine), Fielder is less likely. We’ll see!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I wouldn’t mind seeing the Cubs take a run at someone like Mitch Moreland, if Fielder ended up in Texas, for example.

      • Lou

        Exactamundo! Or if Fielder were to say sign with Miami, make a trade for Gaby Sanchez.

        • JasonB

          Kyle Blanks also seems like a bit of a forgotten man in San Diego and is better suited to 1B – Jed would obviously know a lot about him.

          • Lou

            Does Blanks hit for LH power? Just wondering.

            • JasonB

              He’s a righty – big power but he’s having contact and injury issues thus far in MLB.  I’d only advocating getting him if the price was right but seems like it could be a low risk, high reward type acquisition.

        • BetterNews

          Yes, that would be great also.(Referring to comment made by Lou)

      • BetterNews

        Brett—I could definitely go along with that.

    • Jeff

      I think that adding Fielder this year would also buy the team some time if they do end up stinking next year.  He would have somewhat of a Sammy Sosa type box office draw, even if he gets expensive, he would put butts in the seats in August and September if the team was out of contention.  I’m not saying it would offset the cost of signing him for 8 years, or that he would make the team contenders.  I’m saying that he would be another building block in place, and a sort of attendance fail-safe in case the team is turrible next year.

      I read this on a Reds blog recently, so it had me intrigued a bit.  How would everyone feel if the Cubs went after Joey Votto with a package centered around Starlin Casto?  The Reds are apparently shopping him, and getting them to trade him within the division would be difficult, but I think it would make sense.  Barney could slide over to short where his bat wouldn’t hurt the team, and the Reds definitely need a shortstop.  I am just curious how much more than Castro that they would want for Votto.

  • njriv

    Even though the acquisition of Fielder would be tremendous, it is not an acquisition the Cubs need to make. Signing Carlos Pena is a cheaper option and he is a great defender, saving the Cubs of who knows how many throwing errors last season. The Cubs need to focus on starting pitching and then maybe pursue trades for players like Chase Headley and Nick Markakis to tighten up the defense and good potential hitters to add to the line-up, then maybe someone to platoon with Barney at second base since he faded the second half of the year..

    • JulioZuleta

      Platoon. The P-word upsets me unlike any word in the English language. We need to stop going into the year with planned platoons. It’s about time they put together a lineup with 8 guys that are capable enough to play every day. Darwin BAreny maybe belongs in a platoon in Iowa, but not Chicago. I’d rather give it to Lemahieu and watch him sink or swim. We know what we have (don’t have) in Barney.

      • njriv

        I agree, it’s just hard to give up on the kid, even though he faded the 2nd half of the season. He’s a great kid, with a work ethic that should be replicated by his teammates.

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          His personality and work ethic will be a great asset off the bench for a long time. LeMahieu is simply the better second baseman and should easily hold down the position without the need for a platoon partner.

      • Lou

        Agreed the Cubs did that with Pinella enough and his 100 different lineups during the season.

    • Rob Samuelson

      I’d love to see Markakis patrol right field. However, with the pitching staff being what it is, I don’t know if the front office would feel comfortable going after a very good outfielder making $10+ million when they could use that money (and prospects) for some rotation help.

      • Lou

        Rather see Cepedes. Good luck wrestling away anyone from the Angelos’s. That ownership group in Baltimore makes the ownership group in Boston look sane!

  • Cubs8ball

    Good article. Nothing new here. I think players need to think about the consequences of an 8 year contract. They should be aware of the ridicule bound to be received during the 6,7 and 8th year when they prob won’t be producing #s. What’s more important: Winning or making $$. Maybe Prince has the attitude to sign for 5 years with options for the rest. Oh wait… his agent is Boras.

    • http://michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      I’m not sure about how cheap Pena will be, after all he made 10M for one year and had a better year than he had before he signed for 10M. I imagine he his asking for a 3 year deal for 35-40M(I believe he is also a Boras client) and I just don’t think Pena is worth much more than a 2 year 15-20M. The Cubs do have significantly cheaper options, although not exciting, so if its not Prince then I expect Theo/Jed (Thed?) will go with internal options or trade for a prospect.

      • die hard

        Seattle’s Smoak worth a gamble in trade

      • Todd

        I completely agree, MG. It appears people assume Pena will be the more “valuable” option at first but he’s going to get paid, obviously not as much as Fielder, but enough to where he won’t be a bargain. At that point, The Cubs would be back at square one, which is signing a second-tier, over the hill FA. I would be pleased if the Cubs signed Fielder to “reasonable” contract, but I wouldn’t be upset if they passed on him, either. By reasonable, I mean six years with a club/performance option.

  • Ron

    So you are saying since Sveum is the manager we are signing Fielder? I think you may be stretching a bit.

    • http://michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      I believe his exact quote was “Prince is absolutely coming because Sveum is the manager” SVEET I’m going to twitter and blow this rumor up.

      • Ron

        That is what I got. I can help spread that now too!

        • JasonB

          And he’s going to sign a league minimum deal just because he loves playing for Sveum that much.

          • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

            Bieber!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I love you guys.

  • stonecubby

    I think they should offer fielder 6 years @23 per
    And try to move some contracts send soriano to the
    American league try to make some money any way we can
    Prince would give this team a different attitude that’s
    What the cubs need a gamer

    • die hard

      He wants 10 years at 30 mil…so your offer may fall short

  • stonecubby

    Ya they always start high you’ll see
    Maybe 6. With a performance option
    To make it 7. But I wouldn’t go more
    I don’t think he will get 25 he will
    End up somewhere between 23/24

  • Zach

    Brett, what do you think about the Cubs trying to trade for Lucas Duda. He is only 25 and the Mets already have Ike Davis at first base. He batted .292 with an OBP of .370 and had 10 homeruns in 374 at bats.

    • JasonB

      I’m not Brett but I’ll help answer this question.  The problem with trading for a guy like Duda is threefold.  First, he can play OF so they have options to move him there.  Second, he has established himself as a young, cheap, good hitter and it’s going to be expensive to acquire that asset (Sandy Alderson is pretty smart and understands his value).  Third, the Mets don’t have any money and they likely won’t be competing next year so they want to keep any good cheap players that they can.  Their next window will probably open up in a few years when their top SP prospects are ready and Duda will be a productive contributor to that team.

      If we’re going to go after a young 1B, I’d like to see us look at Morrison from Florida (I know he played LF last year but he is a 1B by trade who was moved to LF because he was blocked by Sanchez).  He’s young with better pedigree and he showed power last year which was previously his biggest question mark.  Problem is that we’re sending Sczcur to get him but we’d probably also have to ship Sczcur to the Mets in order to land Duda so all things being equal, I’ll take pedigree.  The other problem is that the Marlins appear to be going for it next year so I suspect they want the more ML ready player in Morrison.  Maybe Sanchez would make a little more sense if the Marlins sign Pujols.

      • Zach

        Thanks for answering my question. I did not know that Duda could play outfield, and i didn’t realize that they might have to send Sczcur, which i would not want them to do.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        A fine answer, with which I agree.

  • Cheryl

    The cubs should concentrate on pitching. Fielder is an expensive dream. He’s not going to win a pennant by himself. There’s too many other holes to fill. If Castro doesn’t improve on defense there’s a problem there. Theo and others said their open to trades on every player and that may even include Castro. If there was a choice between keeping Garza or Castro I’d say keep Garza. Castro is replaceable.

    • die hard

      finally…someone else who is not drinking the kool-aid…hang tough as you will soon be criticized as a know nothing because you dare to question conventional wisdom..

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You’d rather keep Garza, who is under contract for two more years at about $9 million and then $12.5 million, over Castro, who is around the league minimum for another year or two (depends on whether arbitration eligibility is reclassified in new CBA), and then is under control for another three years after that?

      I can’t agree with that, and that’s not even considering Castro’s unparalleled upside.

      • die hard

        I would package Castro to get a number one starter who could be counted on to win 15-20 games each yr over next 5-7 yrs…Dont know who that may be but Castro without significant changes is not the answer of our needs at SS over next decade…check his at bats and how many were singles because he was just trying to meet the ball when if he had taken a full swing to try for the needed long ball he would have struck out or connected. If hes willing to change this style and is successful at hitting 30-40 HR then I could live with a .275 BA and his mediocre defense at SS. Also, check his body. Hes got the frame of a 1B and could easily put on 30 lbs of muscle over next 3 yrs. Will he? Dont know if hes got the work ethic. If not, will be 30 lbs of fat.

        • Oswego Chris

          a number one who can be counted on to win 15-20 over the next 5-7 years does not exist…if he does, his team is not trading him…

          I don’t quite understand your analysis of Castro’s swing….something about half-swinging hits I guess?

           

           

           

      • Cheryl

        I’d rather not trade Castro. But the pitching is in such a state that it would depend on the offer. No way would I part with him except for an exceptional package including a number one starter, Yes, Castro is at the minimum right now and will get better. But what do we do about the pitching?

      • Lou

        But do we know that about arbitration and its reclassification or is that just intelligent speculation at this point? By the way, all for trading Garza if it gets us a solid SP prospect and a major league ready player with power.

    • Todd

      Cheryl, I agree that the Cubs need pitching, but saying they can’t go after Fielder and improve the pitching is a false dilemma. Great pitching is valuable but so is going after the best available player. I think the Cubs would be foolish to overpay for pitching to two mediocre pitchers vice signing Fielder, if that’s what the decision came down to. The Castro v. Garza debate is also a false dilemma because it all depends on who’s inquiring and what they’d be willing to part with to acquire either player.

      • Lou

        Actually, the Castro v Garza debate isn’t a false dilemma, considering Castro’s age and potential for development, particularly with a reduction in errors, higher OBP, and more power ability as he develops. Also, from a sabremetric POV, harder to acquire middle infielder with Castro’s offensive potential. Much easier to get a 1b with a solid OPS, because it’s easier to find at that position. That’s why Fielder signing beyond a 4 year deal for the Cubs doesn’t make much sense with the $$$ he’s gonna command.

        • Todd

          It is a false dilemma, unless, of course, a team say’s we’ll take either Castro or Garza for x package of players.

          • Lou

            But you’re not getting my point–it isn’t about the return for Castro vs what you’d get for Garza. It’s about who you choose to keep on your team and their value. And based on advanced metrics you’d want a guy like Castro on your team.

            • Todd

              I agree with you about keeping Castro, unless blown away by an offer. But I don’t that offer exists because Castro isn’t polished enough. However, I do believe that saying player A or B should or shouldn’t be traded because of the current state of the major league ball club isn’t the correct way to manage the organization’s assets. At this point, all offers should, and probably will, be considered within the vacuum of that offer. If trading player A or B makes the organization better, then do it.

              • Lou

                But here’s the problem with organizational asset argument. The value of Castro v Garza isn’t the same and here’s why. Garza, though he has value, could net you a solid SP and further IMO a solid offensive player, especially in a thin FA. So, basically you could get a guy that you could develop into “a Garza” plus the offensive production from another player. To do that with Castro, the replacements you’d have to ask for would be far above and beyond anything you ask for from a Garza trade. Look at Castro’s swing. He gets to most everything in the strike zone and hits it with authority. With better plate discipline, that translates into a solid career OPS, something difficult to find at Castro’s position. Look at Theo and what he did while with the Red Sox. He drafted Pedroia and Ellsbury, both guys with solid OPS in position where solid OPS is not easily found. Much easier to find with 1b, 3b, LF, and RF. Or there’s the Yankees–solid OPS with Jeter over the years, Cano, and Granderson. Again, hard to find for position players who play up the middle with that kind of OPS. That’s why a Garza trade make much more sense than a Castro trade. There’s no comparison.

                • Todd

                  I originally said, “The Castro v. Garza debate is also a false dilemma because it all depends on who’s inquiring and what they’d be willing to part with to acquire either player.” Essentially, I said you can’t compare the two players and what they would bring in a trade.

                  You concluded your argument with, “That’s why a Garza trade make much more sense than a Castro trade. There’s no comparison.”

                  Lou, I think you’re agreeing with me. There’s no comparison because it’s a false dilemma. For the record, I don’t think trading Castro is wise because he’s too raw and, thus, wouldn’t command the type of package in return that would warrant a trade.

                  edit: I also think there’s something “sacred” about a prospect like Castro. He shouldn’t be traded, especially by an organization that can afford his potential salary. A case can be made against being too pragmatic just as easily as it can be made against being too sentimental when making these decisions.

        • Cheryl

          What about the middle infielders that are coming up through the cubs system? Seems like someone mentioned there was an even better shortstop than Castro and then there was talk about moving Castro to third or second base. Castro and Garza have great potential but they need other players to make them better. Garza needs someone other than Marmol to close and Castro needs a better third baseman than Aram was so that he can become better defensively. I sometimes wonder if Castro has the desire to constantly improve. More than once he seemed to have his head elsewhere than on the game. In the longrun it will depend on how Castro works out with a new manager.

          • Roland Perrelli

            Everyone that you would be referring to Baez and Marco Hernandez are in single A. We have quite a few years yet even if they tear it up at the soonist would be 2 full seasons. Also Lake is a short stop but I am not sure that he will be better than Castro.

          • JasonB

            I’ll debunk the myth – we don’t have a SS who is better than Castro.  Baez, Lake and Candelerio are all currently listed as SS and each are intriguing, but none of them are projected to stay at SS.

            Starlin Castro is a very rare player – after his first two years, he is drawing comparisons to Jeter and Yount.  Not bad company for a 21 year old to keep.  One of the primary goals of our new coaching staff should be to make him a better player in 2012 by developing his defense at SS and teaching him better focus.

          • Kyle

            The list of players who have hit like Castro has hit in the major leagues at 21 is incredibly short, and it is almost entirely populated with long-term All Stars and Hall of Famers.

            No, the Cubs do not have better shortstops in the minors. There is not a better shortstop under the age of 24 in all of organized baseball, majors or minors.

            Yes, he still needs to improve his consistency at SS. That’s perfectly normal for a 21-year-old. But Castro is a once-in-a-decade or rarer player for this organization.

            • BetterNews

              Well said! Also like to add, Castro WILL be on that Hall of Fame list one day. Any talk of moving him is complete “jibberish”.

  • MC2

    Everyone forgets how much money is on the books right now, (about 74 million) expected payroll to be around 134 million for the Major Club and 200 million for Draft, Rule 5, and foreign signings.

    Garza is young and cheap…Keep him and let him produce or trade for future considerations?

    Soto up and down as a hitter, poor D, 2nd best OBP (I believe) on team last year behind Pena, 2 other catchers who seem ready to replace him.

    Koyie Hill good D/handling skills, no stick… …

    Jeff Baker/Blake Dewitt Interest from other clubs before trade deadline, neither is a everyday player.

    Decent Bullpen- with Wood, Marshall, Samardzija, Cashner (Could be grooming for closer role), Marmol (Could be dominant again w/different Pitching Coach) will draw interest from trades.

    Dempster (Love the guy) Needs to rebound from subpar season- Off books after 2012

    Wells- Cheap and serviceable?

    Zambrano- We all know about Z- Turn the passion and fire into something electric

    Soriano Poor D, Poor OBP, Still provides some pop- Does anyone want him and how much contract do we eat?

    Biggest problems findings buyers for our used cars, maybe better to hang on to a couple of them to see if they preform before the trade deadline next season. How much time do you spend waiting in the wings on guys like Colvin, Barney, and LeHair they could be the next versions of Derrick May, Bobby Hill, and Brant Brown? Needs: Defense #1, Pitching Depth (We have young guys in waiting), really kicked our asses when Cashner, Wells went out right away?

    Byrd- Plays D, Hustles, Had a down season at the plate (You take a 90mph ball to the face and see how you preform for the next 6 months) off books 2013

    Remember THED have a five year plan to build the club to where it is competitive every year. Couple of well devised trades/signings in this division they can compete next season!

     

  • goatbusters

    I understand all the reasons for not picking up pujols or fielder, but what happens if there is no big impact FA to be had when we need it? I’m not saying that this is going to happen, but I can see a scenario where the cubs pass on the big bats while they’re available and are left with a FA class thats nowhere near as good. Am I wrong in thinking this way?

    • JasonB

      Enter the value of a strong minor league system.  We trade for them by using assets from what will hopefully be a top 10 minor league system.  For as many faults as Hendry had, he did have one thing right in that he viewed the minor league system as a way of acquiring talent for the big club through not only development, but via trade.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Except under Hendry’s reign our farm system fell apart, and the only great moves he made via trade were ARam and Garza. We never developed good major leauge talent consistently and held on to prospects until their value was non-existent. He did how ever develop great Japanese talent.

        • JasonB

          Fair enough – I guess that I should re-phrase by saying that while he viewed the minor league system this way, he wasn’t always effective at executing the strategy. :)

        • Lou

          But then there’s that whole international signing thing. If Cepedes comes as advertised, he could fill a major role next year without heading to the minors first. Darvish, however, is more of a question mark because of the translation from Japanese style of SP to American version of baseball.

      • Jeff

        “he did have one thing right in that he viewed the minor league system as a way of acquiring talent for the big club through not only development, but via trade.”

        I am not sure we are talking about the same guy.  Like Goat said, ARam and Garza are the only moves he made, and there definitely wasn’t any sort of pipeline that brought talent to the Cubs consistently.

        Re Goat:  He also developed several nice bench players for the Orioles.

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Yes the Orioles but they are like a AAA/Japanese team

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          I believe the Cubs are averaged better than one rookie a year coming out of the minors contributing for the past several seasons. Soto, Theriot, Wells, Marshall, Marmol, Castro, Colvin, Barney, LeMahieu, Cashner, Samardzija, Russel, and more all broke in some what recently. Granted, many of those guys are role players rather than stars, but I seem to remember Soto winning a Rookie of the Year not so long ago. And would anyone be shocked if Castro, Marshall, Cashner, and Marmol all make multiple All-Star appearance during their career?

          The Cubs farm system has not produced very many stars, but I can’t agree that it wasn’t pumping talent into the majors. That talent has been slowed injuries, badly misused by bungling managers, and sometimes has been inconsistent, but it has very definitely been arriving.

          I don’t think that will change anytime soon, either. We should see the quality of the talent improve in the next couple of seasons, but that would have happened even if Hendry had stayed. The lower minors were loaded when Epstein got here.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You are not wrong. Future FA classes must definitely be considered. Fielder-types don’t come along every year.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        That’s my great worry as well, a six year deal would take Fielder to age 35. If it wasn’t for his size I imagine everyone would be all for a 7/8 year deal.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          A six year deal would take Fielder through his age 33 season, not 35.

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            See even better I wasn’t sure if he was 28 or 29 next year, so regardless he’ll be under 35 by contract end.

  • oswego chris

    Trading Castro right now would be ridiculous…doesn’t even warrant discussion on the page…only nine guys since 1900 to get 200 hits at 21..and we will have him under control and cheap for 5 years..

    Garza would have to be a knock-out offer…he too, is under control, young and cheap…

    the rest of them…back up the truck…

    • Jeff

      So, if the Braves came along and offered Arodys Vizcaino, Julio Teheran, and another top prospect, you wouldn’t at least listen?  What if the Yankees offered Montero, Banuelos, and Ivan Nova, wouldn’t the Cubs have to look closer?  I can see not actively shopping him, but if someone comes in with an offer of two top pitching prospects who are mlb ready or close, there is no way the Cubs can turn a blind eye to it.

      • die hard

        Amen

        • Cheryl

          Again, for either Garza or Castro it would have to be an offer they couldn’t refuse.

      • Frat Rat

        Except those offers won’t come.

        • Jeff

          Those were examples for people saying the Cubs shouldn’t even listen to offers on him.  The Braves are loaded at shortstop in the minors, and the Yankees have Jeter and Eduardo Nunez, so no those offers won’t come.  There are several teams that are desperate for a shortstop who could make a loaded offer, and the Cubs would be wise to at least listen.

          • JasonB

            Rays need a SS but their MO under Friedman has been selling major league ready assets as opposed to prospects.

            • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

              I don’t think the Rays would be asking for a shortstop when they still believe that Hak-Ju Lee is their answer at that position.

              If anyone wants to make an offer on Castro, I think the absolute basement would have to be three MiLB Top 100 type guys, at least one of them a clear Top 10, and at least two of them major league ready or nearly so. And even then I think the Cubs would be justified in asking for more. Yes, the Cubs should listen to offers, but don’t expect any offers to be greeted with more than a polite chuckle. The odds of anyone putting together a package attractive enough to pry Castro lose are slim to none. Players of his caliber at his age with his length of contract just don’t get traded. I can’t think of a comparable case in major league history (feel free to point one out).

              The only team that I think might have the depth of farm system, a possible need for Castro, and would be in a position where such a trade might make some sense is Kansas City. If they decide to win now at all costs, they might be in a position where they would empty the top of their farm system for a guy like Castro. That seems really out of character for them, but I guess I wouldn’t rule it out completely.

              • Kyle

                The closest thing I can think of is Hanley Ramirez, but he wasn’t MLB-established yet.

                • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

                  If we go back to the reserve clause era I’m sure there were a couple. The Phildelphia A’s were notorious for selling off all their good players every few years, so there may be someone in that situation who fits.

                  But in the modern era, Hanley Ramirez is the closest I can come up with as well.

                  Edit: Actually, Ryne Sandberg comes fairly close to being similar, but he was a throw in on a deal. If Philidelphia had realized what they had, they would never have moved him. I’m not sure that’s all that helpful in determining a possible trade value for Castro.

      • Oswego Chris

        no…I wouldn’t listen to those Braves and Yankee offers because those guys are all “prospects”…Castro is not a prospect, he is a proven MLB hitter, having done something that only Hall-Of-Famers do(200 hits at 21)…so I stand by what I said, talk of trading him on this board is a waste of time….

         

        sure we can live in fairy tale land and say what if the Dodgers offered Kershaw and kemp, or if the BoSox say Pedroia and Elssbury…yeah, sure then I might trade him but I like to look at things realistically, and there is no way in hell Castro gets traded…

        • Cheryl

          Just a reminder that this discussion started with Theo and company saying that they would consider offers on all of the current players. That doesn’t mean there will be any offers for Castro or Garza or that if there are offers tthey’d be accepted.

          • BetterNews

            Cheryl—I don’t think Theo said he would consider offers on all “current’ players. I think he said he would consider a legitimate offer. Big difference.

  • JR

    Wouldn’t signing Fielder cost the cubs their first pick in the draft?

    • Jeff

      No, first pick is protected.  The Brewers would get a supplemental pick and the Cubs second round pick if Fielder signed.

  • Roland

    Goatbusters you are so correct. There are very few impact bats in the next couple of years of free agency. So when you have the chance to get an elite bat you get it. No I would not go 8yrs but 6 maybe 7 he is only 27 will be 28 next year.

    • Jeff

      Next year; BJ Upton, Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino, Andre Ethier will be free agents, and possibly David Wright and  Kevin Youkilis.  In 2014, Joey Votto, Robinson Cano, Hunter Pence, and Chase Utley could be free agents, and I think Jason Heyward could be a free agent.  There should be plenty of impact bats available.

      • JR

        Yeah but who knows what players get extended… I would be shocked if Cano and Votto hit the open market.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        The only names that are on Fielder’s level are in 2014 are Votto and Cano. I know Hamilton will be a huge favorite but with his day game splits and frequent injuries he’s not worth the risk. But having Fielder plus any of those bats would be a powerful 3-4 combo and put the Cubs right where they should be. I’m all about getting Bourn (a true leadoff man) and then getting a big bat in 2014, but having Fielder in the mix just as he turns 30 is a hard to pass up.

        • Jeff

          I think Fielder is worth signing, even if he does end up needing a 7 year deal.  I think he will still have tremendous trade value to an AL team in the later years of his deal if his defense breaks down to the point that he has to DH.  You are right, i don’t see any bats on his level outside of Votto being available, and he makes an excellent starting point for building the middle of the order for the next 4-5 years.

        • Lou

          I beg to differ with you in terms of 2014 list and just Cano and Votto being comparable to Fielder. Think Either might have something to say about that.

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            Until Either can put together multiple power years like Fielder he’s just not in that category

            • Lou

              Agree to disagree. That’s what people said about Kemp last year. Now, I think Kemp and Fielder are in the same offensive class. I think there will be a large fall-off in Fielder’s numbers once he hits 30. Defensively, Eithier is better. Fielder is avg at best. Fielder and his agent, Boras, want a long, protruded deal. Rather see the Marlins make that mistake, or for Fielder to go to the AL and eventually shift to a DH.

  • JR

    I love Fielder but the defensive thing scares the h*ll out of me. Even if Castro improves defensively some he still gonna need help over there at first base.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I need to get a better read on Fielder defensively. I know he’s not great, but is he affirmatively bad? Defensive metrics for first basemen can be particularly rough. Need some eyes.

      • JR

        I don’t know that Fielder is a terrible fist baseman, but from everything i have read he is below avg. He is short too which would effect the high throws and overall reach.

        • Jeff

          He commits a lot of errors for a first baseman, and most that I saw were due to lack of mobility.  If you look at the numbers though, he is better defensively than Ryan Howard, who got a pretty big contract at a later age.

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            And is a MUCH better hitter.

            • Lou

              With $51 million, though tied up in three players (Dempster, Soriano, and Zambrano) this season and Soriano’s contract still on the books next two seasons after that, the value added metric of wins above replacement doesn’t make Fielder a plausible signing. With the Cubs big league budget at $120 million tops (I believe), its not worth it. Look at Dave Cameron’s position with regard to Fielder signing with the Mariners. And the Mariners have more pieces in place currently than the Cubs, especially in their starting staff. http://www.ussmariner.com/2011/11/14/prince-fielder-and-buying-wins/

              • Kyle

                ” With the Cubs big league budget at $120 million tops (I believe)”

                Bruce Levine confirmed that the Cubs will have a $200 million total baseball budget for 2012.

                That includes front office salaries, draft and IFA signings, and minor-league operations. But since there’s no way those add up to more than $80 million, then I feel comfortable saying the payroll will definitely be higher than $120 million this year.

      • BetterNews

        Brett—I do not see him as”bad” defensively. I would actually call him pretty good by the way I have seen him play.(not going by stats) My problem with him is the money and long term contract he commanding.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        To be fair to Fielder, he didn’t have the greatest infield in the world throwing the ball to him, so he may have looked a little worse than he was. Check out Pena dWAR for this season to see what effect a defensively weak infield can have on even a good first baseman’s numbers.

        That said, to say that Fielder has limited range would be a bit of an understatement. With LeMahieu (probably) at second, also somewhat limited in range, the Cubs would give up some singles through the right side that a first baseman not named Fielder would probably cut off.

        If the Cubs do sign Fielder, they may want to think carefully about any left handed starters they sign.

        • BetterNews

          Luke, what is your point?LOL Would you sign him on not? You can’t play both sides of the line!

        • Ced landrum

          Dj isn’t limited in range. He is a way better athlete then given credit for

    • Todd

      Even if Fielder is mediocre to below average at defense, isn’t first base the one position where you can afford to forgo defense in lieu of offense?

  • JR

    Ok, thanks Roland. For me losing any early pick is going to hurt. Especially since drafting well is Epstein’s main attribute.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      On the other hand, if there is going to be cap with penalties on draft bonuses, then not having that second round pick at all could allow the Cubs to draft and sign higher ceiling talent elsewhere in the first ten rounds.

      Not sure that will be the case, but it is interesting to think about.

    • Todd

      Another reason a) Ramirez screwed us with the poor 2010, thus losing type A status, and  b) the CBA screwed us with no type B compensation. With type B compensation giving up the 36th pick for signing Fielder wouldn’t be an issue for me, but now that plays are larger role when considering the signing.

  • JR

    You guys think there is a market out there at all for Big Z and Soriano? Would another team really be willing to pay a chunk of either of those trainwreck salaries?

    • Jeff

      There have been a couple of reports that there a few teams still interested in Zambrano.  I’m not sure on Soriano, but I get the feeling that he’s either stuck with the Cubs or they are going to have to eat almost all of his salary to move him, and probably wouldn’t get a whole lot in return.

    • JasonB

      My take is Soriano has no value and is effectively untradeable.  I think Z could have some value – he only has a year left on his deal and in a pitching thin market, some teams could inquire about him if they miss out on some of the FAs.  I think he could be most valuable at the deadline next year when he is only going to be owed an additional $9 million, which is why I’m inclined to hold onto him.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Sori has value IF the Cubs eat all but 3-5M of his contract a year, he is still an affordable DH at that rate.

        • JR

          So your telling me Goat that another team would be willing to pay 13-15 mill a year for Soriano? I would be shocked if that was the case. And the Cubs should jump all over that in a heartbeat!!

        • JR

          My bad i mis-read your post Goat. I still think if the Cubs can have another team only pay 2 mill. a yr. on Soriano they do it.

  • JR

    What about trading for Logan Morrison? Would the Marlins entertain BigZ and someone else for Morrison? I know he has had his problems with Marlin mgt.

    • Jeff

      I don’t know where that idea came from, or why it keeps coming up, but the Marlins are not trading Morrison for BIg Z.  He is pretty valued by the team down here, and he is one of their more popular players, which plays a bigger role in his value in Miami than it would elsewhere.

      • JR

        OK, I don’t know why the Marlins would do it either. Guillen does have a mancrush on Z, so who knows..

    • JasonB

      See my post above.  It would have to be a big somebody else.  Young, cheap players are expensive to acquire regardless of their Twitter habits.  Even if we sent Z, we’re still sending a top ten, maybe top 5, prospect (depending on how much of Zs contract we eat) and then you contend with the fact that the Marlins appear to be opening their window now and may look to Morrison as a contributor.

  • Roland

    Jeff your version of an impact bat and mine are different I guess especially considering what the cubs will need. You listed Michael Bourne he is a leadoff with no power, Josh Hamilton definitely impact bat he is 30 now injury prone and will get worse,  BJ Upton good OBP  no power, Shane Victorino,Andre Either,Youkilis(injury risk), are 30. The others Cano, Utley, Hayward will not see free agency. The other ones you listed Wright(injury risk), Hunter Pence, Votto, are great players but Votto has two years til free agency. He could be traded to another team and locked up like Adrian Gonzalez. We have a unique opportunity with Fielder a 27 yr old hitter with prodigious power great OBP and a position of need that our minor leagues will not be able to fill in at least two yrs. THe cubs need to seize the opportunity and get a guy in early stages of prime and enjoy 6 great yrs.

  • JR

    Roland, you love you some Prince. Good argument for him!

  • Cliffy

    Looking at high ranked systems yields this item.

    Among the players the Royals chose to leave unprotected are left-handed relievers Blaine Hardy and Brandon Sisk, right-handed pitcher Eduardo Paulino, infielders Rey Navarro and Irving Falu and outfielder Paulo Orlando

    Hardy’s stats as a left handed reliever look prett good

  • Roland Perrelli

    Andre Either is 29 going to be 30 before season starts and is nowhere near the hitter Fielder is. He ave 19 hrs a yr over career .291 ba .364 obp. Fielder 33 hrs a yr .282 ba .390 obp and is 2 yrs younger.

  • Roland Perrelli

    Well you have to look at our situation first and foremost and we have no one that will be ready for at least two years that could potentially do what he does. Other than Votto and Either to a much lesser extent nobody that we could buy on free agent market in the next two years. Plus we have a ton of money off books this year and next. So money will not be a problem to often the cubs do not get a guy like this. A stud in his prime that would make a difference.

  • Roland Perrelli

    Plus think about all the great vegan reciepts and fat jokes we will be able to use if we sign him.

  • Cliffy

    QT @TheCCO: #Cubs prospects Junior Lake (SS) and Josh Vitters (DH) named to the 2011 AFL Top Prospects Team @MLBazFallLeagueu

    • Todd

      Man, the Cubs farm system would look really good if Vitters bloomed into the type of player he was originally projected to be. I would love to love me some Vitters!

  • Roland Perrelli

    Vitters is still young and very much in line with age vs level. This is a critical year for him if he can build on what he did at end of year and afl we will be good. His glove has to catch up at 3rd base though or move him to 1st base or outfield.

    • Todd

      His glove is what worries me. His bat projects much better for third than it does the outfield. Hopefully, he has a breakthrough season next year and can man third for 2013 and beyond.

      • Kyle

        Agreed. I am a little higher on Vitters’ bat than most. The Southern League is a notoriously brutal league on hitters’ raw numbers, so a .770 OPS there as a 22-year-old really impresses me.

        This year he’ll get the opposite, the incredibly hitter-friendly PCL. If he can’t OPS in the high .800s there, I’ll consider that a disappointing regression.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        His bat would be ok at first, I think. But on his glove, remember that he is only a year older than Castro. The same age disclaimer largely applies.

        • Roland Perrelli

          I would hope and it sounds like they will focus on mostly finished products as they are promoted out of minors. Our farm system should be preaching and teaching the fundamentals. Our prospects should be going forward not a work in progress fielding their position. Now I will step off my soap box and say yes I agree that he should be better and we should temper our expectations as we would with Castro.

          • Kyle

            Everybody’s 21-year-old infielders make too many errors. That’s just a fact of baseball. You very rarely become sure-handed until your mid-20s.

      • BetterNews

        Don’t see it happening.

  • http://bleachernation.com RicoSanto

    5 years for 140 mil back loaded and some deffered.He the can get another big contract at 32..He could be on the Cubs world series winners in 2014.

  • Cheryl

    Too bad those Cuban players that are mentioned aren’t pitchers, Were the international players that were signed at about the time of the draft infielders? Haven’t heard much about them since.Just checked on two of the signings – one is a catcher, the other is a 16-year-old shortstop out of Venezuela.

    • MoneyBoy

      Cheryl … By my count, Del Valle and Pieters are both LHP, Malave a C, Acosta & Marcano IFs, and Bonne an OF.  Bonne & Del Valle are from Cuba.  2010 Intl class included 5 RHP and 1 LHP.

      • Cheryl

        Thanks for the info. If they’re the same age as the two I saw mentioned they may be years away.

  • Cliffy

    QT @TheCCO: (@PepeBeisbol) #Cubs GM Theo Epstein called last night Carlos Zambrano to check on him, the trainer also called #Mlb

  • Q

    well, we should be set at 1B for some time with Lee, Pena, fielder, Moreland, Gaby, Blanks, Duda, and Votto.

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