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.

  • Cliffy

    SPIN CONTROL? The Boston Globes back handed slap at Sveum.

    Dale Sveum, manager, Cubs – Sveum’s personality wouldn’t have gone over in Boston. He’s a nice guy with great baseball passion, but very quiet and not someone who could take the attention away from his team and put it on himself, which is what managers need to do in big markets. He’s better for the Cubs in a rebuilding mode. That’s the way one Major League Baseball executive put it recently. I think he’s right

    • BetterNews

      Sounds like Ryno, Yes!

    • Todd

      I guess Sawx Nation has its own state run media.

    • JasonB

      Yeah, because Chicago isn’t a big market team. It’s not on the East Coast so it can’t be a big market team

  • Cliffy
    • MichiganGoat

      I still don’t understand this belief that they should get Garza, Theo took a promotion and even if he took the GM job the precedent is not a top pitcher, maybe a top prospect but not a good young pitcher that has a proven record of success. It’s absurd how much the Boston media and fans honestly believe they have leverage and deserve a top player in exchange for Theo getting a promotion at another organization.

      • Jeff

        To be fair, that was written by Dan Shaughnessy.  I’m not sure that guy is really lucid most of the time.  I’m not really defending Boston fans or media, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was his idea that they should have gotten Garza in the first place.  What does amaze me is the sense of entitlement that the city and the media there have considering that their success is only recent in coming.  I hope when the Cubs start winning consistently that we all don’t turn into unrelenting douchenipples.

    • Todd

      Thanks for the articles, Cliffy. The second was particularly harsh on Cherington. He has a long way to go, but if he”s good, I’m sure he’ll earn respect in Boston. Otherwise, he’ll be a GM in title only.

  • LouCub

    The Garza as compensation to Boston is all out crap…That would be their only way to save face after their crap offseason!!! If the Yankees are serious about Garza and pay a steep price like they usually do, i’d have no problem with Theo and Co. really shoving it up Henry and Lucchino’s behind and sending him to the Bronx…The Boston fans and media would never shut up about that one..EVER!!! It would be hilarious!!!

  • Cliffy

    Video of Zambrano being hit by line drive.

  • Ryan

    Nick Cafardo mentions that the Cubs should send Tyler Colvin to Boston as compensation and call it a day. Honestly, I’d be happy with that solution. Colvin has not proven that he can be an everyday player in the big leagues.

    • Kyle

      If Boston wants Colvin, they could probably just wait until he’s waived sometime in the next few months.

      • Luke

        Left handed power bats, even if they have trouble making contact, are too rare for me to think that Colvin would be waived. The Cubs could get something back in a trade, even if only a promising low-A pitcher. If they move him, I think it’ll be in spring training.

        But I strongly suspect the Cubs will keep him around and play him regularly in the first half of 2012. A lot of that will depend on Sveum, though.

  • LouCub

    Nick Cafardo was the ahole who was suggesting Castro and Garza in the beginning… @ Ryan when has Colvin got a legitimate shot??? Not with Quade thats for sure and Piniella didn’t play him consistently enough either..When Colvin played 2 or 3 games in a row his #’s improved drastically..Pinch hitting isn’t easy for younger players especially in April in Chicago. I think that Colvin is still too much to give up, especially since Boston is obviously the hold up in this mess and in addition, even if Colvin isn’t in the Cubs plans, he could be traded.

    • Sweetjamesjones

      I agree with you LouCub. Give Colvin a chance to play on a regular basis already. If he continues to suck, release or trade him. I am already afraid that Quade did enough damage as it is…

      • Sweetjamesjones

        Oh excuse me, I didnt pronounce Colvin’s name in Quade tounge: “Colvie.”

        • Deer

          Actually Colvin didn’t get a cute nickname because Quade didn’t care for him.

          • Sweetjamesjones

            Hahaha. True.

      • MrCub73

        When Colvin first came up, I thought the Cubs may really have something.  A guy that was so-so in the minors, but after Camp Colvin he really turned the corner.  Maybe 2011 was a down year because Colvin’s off season workouts were not what they were prior to the 2010 season, due to his bat stabbing indecent.  Maybe Colvin deserves a Mulligan, but at this point the Cubs cannot go into spring training saying we are going to give Colvin a shot to see what he can do, he fully has to earn that shot.  Whether Colvin gets that shot or not, the Cubs cannot assume he is going to pan out and must plan accordingly.  Even going back to 2010, Colvin’s performance started to tail once he was exposed to to increased at bats.  In 2010, Colvin was doing great and hitting over 300 coming off the bench.  Thus the reason for the Steve Stone/Pinella debate in the media.  When it was all said and done, where was Colvin’s average?  Colvin may have all the ability in the world, but if he cannot make the adjustments, I sure would not trust him in my lineup.  Although I question what the future holds for him, I hope Colvin can make those adjustments and be a vital part of the Cubs for years to come!

        • Sweetjamesjones

          Well said.

        • MoneyBoy

          @MrCub73 … I agree with you on Colvin.  He had a decent 2010 even with all the up and downs, 43 of his 60 hits were for extra bases, contributing greatly to his .500 SLG. 100 Ks in nearly 400 ABs isn’t great.     He had a miserable spring and simply stunk it up for most of the season at the ML level.

          You’d like to think the new regime would give him a chance … he’s not arb eligible till 2014, when he’d be 29.   Tough call … among the many yet to be made.

    • MoneyBoy

      @LouCub … Carfardo is apparently Boston’s version of Rosenbloom …

    • Kyle

      A better question than “when has Colvin gotten a shot” is “what has Colvin done to deserve a shot?”

      I keep hearing “let’s just give this guy a shot” or “that guy hasn’t had a chance in the majors.” MLB roster spots and playing time are precious commodities. They should be reserved for players who have given you significant reason to think they can be productive.

      2010 screams fluke for Colvin. He never showed that kind of ability in the minors, and he had 19.4% of his fly balls go for homers. That’s either very lucky or he has elite power (20% FB/HR ratios are the domain of guys like Pujols and Fielder), and given the rest of his career I think we can attribute it to luck.

      I really hate giving out jobs based on spring training. It’s a non-competitive, short-sample of games in an odd weather environment. You just can’t really tell much from it. Come February, I want Epstein/Hoyer to know what they want to do with Colvin. I’ll trust them if they think he should be on the team, but my guess is he’s out the door.

      • BetterNews

        Kyle—I couldn’t agree more. The kid has had his shot(s). Its obvious that MLB has figured him out. He does have “pop” in the bat, but you have to get the bat on the ball. Yes, Colvin is a done deal in my mind also.

        Made Fukudome look like a hall of famer!

      • Ryan

        Well said guys. Colvin seems to have not made the adjustments needed after he initially had some success in 2010. Pitchers figured him out and he hasn’t made the necessary adjustments.

      • Luke

        Giving out jobs based on spring training isn’t always smart, but neither is taking away jobs based on spring training, and that’s exactly what happened to Colvin. I have no idea why Quade barely played him once the season started, or why Pena and Soriano were allowed to play out of slumps while Colvin was left to rot, and so on, but once the season began he never did have regular playing time until a few weeks after Fukudome trade and before LaHair started getting more at bats.

        Colvin saw essentially the same pitch ratios from 2010 to 2011. The biggest difference in the result was that he hit a bunch more pop-ups. Is that an inability to make adjustments, or is it a guy pressing to try to earn another at bat and selling out for power? A case could be made either way.

        I’d like to see him break camp as the fourth outfielder. If Soriano is still around (doubtful), start Colvin at least two or three times a week in left and bring him in as Soriano’s defensive replacement. If not, get him at least those two to three starts and 12-15 ABs a week or so between left and right. If he continues to struggle, trade him / waive him, but I suspect he won’t. 2010 was probably better than we can expect, but there is no way his 2011 BABIP of .175 is normal, either. I have a hard time making a case against keeping him on the roster as a 4th outfield… provided he is actually played regularly. I don’t think he’s the answer to the Cubs offensive woes by any means, but I’m also not sure they could do significantly better on the free agent market.

        One thing I am sure of, given Colvin’s reputation there is probably no one working harder in the batting cages this off season than he is. I’d not be surprised at all if he posts an OPS of .750+ next season.

        • BetterNews

          Luke—Wow! Would you like to buy some nuclear waste site property? $200.00 dollars a square foot! How much do you want?

          • Luke

            So, in your world, saying a guy with fewer than 700 career major league at bats could still be useful as a fourth outfielder is the equivalent of buying a nuclear waste dump.

            K. Now I know not to waste my time feeding a troll.

            • BetterNews

              Luke—Didn’t mean to “ruffle” your feathers. I was just saying you hold Colvin up to high. He is not that good. Face the “facts” partner! I hope he never sees 700 at bats with the Cubs, I might jump off the Wrigley scoreboard! A .150 average in 2011 and you think it was a fluke? What world are you living in because that will not cut it here or anywhere. Bye Colvin!

              And Luke, put your tail between your legs and walk away(LOL)

  • Cliffy

    QT @jonmorosi: Yu Darvish is on the clock. The Japan Series is over. The off-season is officially underway for the Nippon-Ham Fighters. #WillTheyPostHim?

    • Brett

      Hopefully they make the decision VERY quickly. The Cubs are interested, but the posting process can take up to a month to conclude – that can cause some issues with the rest of your offseason planning.

  • LouCub

    @ SweetJames, yeah..Quades abuse may have set the kid back a lot..His treatment of Castro and Bary pissed me off to no end, hopefully they’ll all recover from his ineptitude.