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[To be followed by, you guessed it, the case against signing Prince Fielder. This article will focus solely on the reasons to consider signing Fielder, and a subsequent article will focus solely on the reasons not to consider signing Fielder.]

With Carlos Pena likely off to greener pastures in free agency, the Chicago Cubs have a gigantic hole at first base, and in the middle of the lineup. Might it take a gigantic first baseman to fill that hole?

Setting aside the Disney dream story that is Bryan LaHair, it’s hard to view (gigantic) free agent first baseman Prince Fielder as a non-option for the Cubs. Yes, he’ll cost a lot of money. Yes, he’s beefy. Yes, his defense is not the top of the top. But the Cubs need a big bat at first, and Prince is a currently-available big bat at first.

It must be considered.

What follows are the reasons the Chicago Cubs should sign Prince Fielder, to the exclusion of the equally-relevant reasons the Cubs should not sign Fielder, which will be addressed later.

The Production

The first reason to sign Fielder almost pass without discussion: the guy is an offensive force.

Some folks like to point to the yo-yo’ing of Fielder’s numbers through his career, calling him inconsistent. Here’s the thing about Fielder’s offensive numbers: even when they yo to the downside, they’re still pretty damn good. Fielder’s worst season since his rookie year was when he was 24, back in 2008. That year, he hit “only” .276/.372/.507, with 34 homers and 102 RBI. His OPS+ of 130 that “bad” year would have placed him first or second on the Cubs every single year since 2005.

The rest of the time, Fielder’s been a monster. His career .282/.390/.540 line places him among the best hitters in baseball over the last half decade. He averages 37 homers, 32 doubles, and 106 RBI every 162 games. He’s been in the top 16 in league OPS every season since his rookie year, and has three times been in the top three.

If the yo-yo’ing criticism has some teeth, it’s this: Fielder appears to alternate awesome seasons with really, really awesome seasons.

The Impact on Players Around Him

Maybe Rickie Weeks, Casey McGehee and Corey Hart really are impressive hitters. I’ll grant that possibility.

But when your lineup features a couple guys like Fielder and Ryan Braun, a pitcher’s margin for error with respect to the other seven hitters gets a whole lot slimmer. Batters in front of Fielder benefit from a pitcher’s awareness that, if he doesn’t get this guy out (and throw him strikes), he’s going to have to face Fielder with a man or men on. Batters behind Fielder benefit from a near 40% chance that they’ll be hitting with a man on base, which also improves the pitches they see.

The Age

Prince Fielder is 27 years old. Most free agents hit the market in the middle of, or at the back end of, their prime years. Fielder is still at the outset of what is traditionally believed to be a player’s peak years.

Signing Fielder to, for example, a seven year deal may not be as egregious as you think: in the final year of the deal, he’d still be only 33 years old to start the year.

The Defense

No, Fielder’s defensive prowess is not going to convince any teams to sign him. But it turns out that it’s not quite the boogyman you may have thought. While Fielder’s range is limited, his fielding percentage is just about league average (he actually is sometimes at the back of the pack, but the difference between the best and the worst first baseman, in terms of fielder percentage, is in the one thousandths). In other words, Fielder doesn’t get to quite as many balls as the average first baseman, but neither does he make more errors – on a percentage basis – than the average first baseman.

Let’s talk about that range thing. Range factor, which is the number of assists and putouts a player accumulates per nine innings, isn’t a particularly useful evaluative tool when it comes to first basemen. The reason should be obvious: while it includes the plays a first baseman makes himself, it also includes the throws he receives at first. So, for example, if you were the first baseman on a team full of fly ball/strikeout pitchers, your range factor would be decidedly low (the fact that Fielder has been near the top of the league in zone rating (i.e., how well a player gets to balls in his “zone”) the last few years suggests something like this is going on). Even if you do believe range factor is an effective ding on Fielder, here’s the thing: he’s about 4% lower than average. That’s it.

Another big part of what a first baseman does defensively is save errant throws. Fielder is no Carlos Pena in that department, and his “scoop percentage” (the number of bad throws he saves) is probably below average. But, once again, he’s not terribly far off the mean – through August of this past season, Fielder’s 70% scoop percentage was just a bit lower than the league average 82%.

I’m not trying to make Fielder out to be a great defensive player. He’s not. Advanced defensive metrics, and the eyeball test, tell you he’s probably in the bottom half of the league defensively at first base. But is his defense so abysmally bad that he shouldn’t be considered? No way. Indeed, according to Bill James’ calculations, Fielder’s defense in 2011 cost his Brewers just one run.

The Wait and the Window of Competitiveness

A name you hear thrown around in discussions about Fielder’s expected contract is Mark Teixeira, who got eight years and $180 million from the Yankees. The reason for the comparison has less to do with the players’ respective track records at the time of free agency (Tex was Gold Glover who was also a very good hitter, Fielder is a great hitter) and more to do with the fact that Teixeira’s free agency represents arguably the last time a game-changing first baseman was available on the free agent market.

That was three years ago.

The point here? Guys like Fielder don’t come along in free agency every year. So, even if your team’s window of competitiveness is not for another year or two, you’d be wise to strongly consider locking a guy down when he’s actually there to be locked down. Don’t believe me? Take a glimpse at the projected potential free agent market at first base next year, courtesy of Cot’s: Travis Hafner, Aubrey Huff, Adam LaRoche, Carlos Lee, James Loney, Mike Napoli, and Ty Wigginton.

No. Guys like Fielder and Teixeira are a rare thing. And did I mention that Fielder is a year younger now than Teixeira was when the Yankees signed him?

The Money

It’s going to take a ton of money to sign Prince Fielder. There is no debating that point.

But, even if he gets the max of what he’s asking – $200 million over eight years – is that enough to make signing him out of the question? I’m not so sure.

According to Fangraphs, Fielder’s “value,” translated to dollars, over the last five seasons, going backwards, are: $24.6M, $13.5M, $28.8M, $7.6M, and $20.9M. That’s strictly what he’s been “worth,” mind you, and does not include the premium always associated with signing a player on the free agent market. That is to say: he was always going to get more than he was “worth,” but it turns out that what he’s “worth” is a lot closer to what he’ll get than we might have thought.

Will Prince be “worth” $25 million per year when he’s 33/34 years old? No. Probably not. But, you are, in some ways – to borrow a particularly apt cartoon analogy – paying tomorrow for a hamburger today. “Overpaying” Fielder in 2016 and beyond is part of the price of signing him today.

And, don’t forget: with the new CBA effectively capping what the Cubs can spend on the draft and in the international amateur market in 2012 at about $13 million or so, the team will have some extra money to shift to the big league payroll. In 2011, the Cubs spent about $20 million on the amateur side. Assuming that number was expected to hold steady in 2012 (I’ll be you a shiny nickel Theo Epstein had talked Tom Ricketts into upping that figure), that’s an additional $7 million per year that the Cubs have to work with. It should be put to work somewhere.

  • http://justinjabs.com/blog Justin Jabs

    For me, the biggest hit was the age – I knew he was 27, but I guess I didn’t realize that at the end he’d be like 33.

    What’s Soriano going to be when we’re all done? 39?

    • BD

      If you believe Soriano’s age is accurate. The way he dropped off I wouldn’t be surprised if he was older.

      • The Other Matt

        He plays more like he’s 67.

  • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

    This year, that additional $7 million or so (probably closer to ten million based on some new numbers on draft budgets Callis has mentioned lately) could be used on Cespedes and/or Darvish, neither of who are limited by the international free agent cap.

    But you are absolutely right that those draft and IFA caps make free agents more important. Those draft rules in particular are looking gloomier by the day.

    • CubFan Paul

      is it possible the new draft rules are geared to a future world wide draft? meaning, we can’t spend as much as we want on IFA now so teams/owners will support a bigger draft with a bigger budget later (instead of going back to the pre 2012 rules)?

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        There are some analysts who predict a World Draft as soon as 2014. We’ll see.

        If we do get a World Draft, I have to think it will be a separate event from the Amateur Draft in June we are all used to. International free agents are often 16 years old. American kids can’t turn pro (under most circumstances) until 18. If you put the two groups together in a single draft, the American lawyers will be the only ones who win.

        If we assume a separate World Draft, then there would be a separate budget for that draft just like there is a separate budget for IFAs now. MLB may increase the size of that budget in the event of a draft, but I sincerely doubt it. They don’t like 16 year old kids getting multi-million dollar deals, and they will not be looking for ways to bring that back.

        It’s possible the two events are connected, but I think the only common thread is that Selig is determined to put a lid on amateur spending before he retires.

        • CubFan Paul

          makes sense, but i still don’t understand it (the logic of why they implemented the new rules) ..what happened to ‘building from within’

          • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

            Selig would argue that teams can still build from within, but they just have to use scouting to do it. He would say that the teams with the best scouting and player development systems should be rewarded with the best players, not the teams with the deepest pockets. He would say that is exactly what the new system accomplishes.

            I say he’s full of it, but that’s neither here nor there.

            MLB saw Texas drop megabucks on two teenagers in the international free agent period and thought it was a bad thing. They saw teams like Pittsburgh (yes, that Pittsburgh) spend record amounts on the draft and thought it was a bad thing. The fear was that amateur talent was going to be priced out of range available to small market teams like Pittsburgh (yes, that Pittsburgh).

            In theory, this has leveled the playing field. That’s the goal; every team regardless of budget has equal access to talent. The reality? Well… I feel sorry for Pittsburgh. They don’t have the budget to compete via free agency and baseball just pulled their fangs on the amateur front. Somehow that’s supposed to level the playing field. I don’t see it.

            • CubFan Paul

              i agree fully. selig is a dinosaur thats stuck in his old ways

  • BD

    I think the most important point is that guys like this don’t grow on trees. If you expect the Cubs to contend in 2013 (earliest) or 2014 (more realistic), you can still use a player of this caliber who will be 28 or 29.

    • R.I.P. Santo

      I totally agree Prince can flat out RAKE and who wouldn’t want that as a cornerstone to any rebuilding or Retooling Effort. I mean really sign Prince and Buhrle, trade for Headly…we can compete this year AND build for the future!!

  • Cheryl

    With all the positives, I still think it would be better to not sign him. This past draft yielded at least three possibilities for 2013 or 2014. I’d rather go with an interim first baseman and concentrate elsewhere.

    • CubFan Paul

      there has been no projections or analysts saying the 1B prospects drafted in 2011 will be in the majors by ’13-2014

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      The past draft did not yield a single first baseman who will be ready in 2013. I’m not sure it yielded a single player who will be ready that soon except, maybe, Zych.

      If everything goes very, very well I could see Rock Shoulders or Dan Vogelbach getting a second-half call up in 2014, but I wouldn’t want to push it any harder than that. 2015 is more likely. Gretzky is extremely raw and probably won’t see a full season league until 2013. The earliest I’d project him (right now anyway) is second half 2015.

      In 2013 and 2014, the most likely guys to come out of the minors and play first would be Vitters, Ridling, and Bour. Vitters we know about, Ridling broke out this season (but was a little old for his level), and Bour was inconsistent (and a little old for his league). Unless the Cubs move Vitters, the farm system is unlikely to produce more than a substitute first baseman until Vogelbach arrives.

      • Kyle

        I have a hard time coming up with any remotely realistic scenario that puts Vogelbach here before late 2015. I love the kid, but he’s still just a HS hitter.

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          If Callis didn’t have Vogelbach starting at first the “2015 Cubs” sidebar to this Cubs Top Prospects column, I’d agree. The only thing I can figure is that because his game is one dimensional – hitting – and he already shows a lot of patience he could be advanced more quickly. If it weren’t for that Callis projection I’d be saying second half 2015.

  • Katie

    Fielder is known producer. Draft picks aren’t.

  • http://www.calliopevoices.com EtotheR

    It’s a good roll of the dice. Big contracts are scary…especially on big men.

    That said…if he tanks after a few years, and the contract becomes an albatross…then, such is life. Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you…

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Is 200 million for the next decade worth lets just say *only* one world series appearance and only one playoff appearance, if prince is the difference maker? For the city of chicago I would have to say yes.

    • Lou

      I would have to say “no”. If the Cubs can’t get him for less than 6 years, they shouldn’t sign him. Also, if they sign him, it doesn’t make a good case for trading Matt Garza. I’d rather see us get Mitch Moreland and more prospects from Texas.

  • BD

    Does anybody know (or have heard) a solid reason for why most baseball contracts are not front-loaded? I’m not sure why you wouldn’t pay more during the years you expect to be good, and then less with age. (instead of the other way around)

    • Andrewmoore4isu

      Well say we gave prince
      35 million one year and 10 another year it
      Would be better for the cubs by 5 million dollars but putting together a healthy payroll for the 35 million season sounds like it would be hard on the team especially if tickets doesn’t have the money? I don’t really know just throwing it out there. Could be lots of
      Reasons and/or theories

      • Andrewmoore4isu

        Rickets* auto correct

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      If there is a single reason baseball rarely sees front loaded contracts, my guess would be the agents.

      I don’t think any sport has agents as powerful or as effective as baseball. Imagine for a minute what would happen if Scott Boras was set loose on the NBA. Imagine the weeping, the gnashing of teeth, and Kobe Bryant purchasing Switzerland with the change he found under his couch while the Lakers run up a larger payroll than the Pentagon.

      • CubFan Paul

        whoa! whoa guy! the Defense budget is pretty Huge. No one is beating that

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          Interesting that you hopped on that bit of hyperbole and skipped Kobe buying Switzerland…

          Which just underscores my point, I think, that Boras would do to the payrolls of any other sport what Fielder would do to the Cubs’ team OPS. Agents in baseball are extremely powerful, and Boras is the king.

    • hansman1982

      The time value of money – EDIT:  Originally had my figures backwards – see the message board post

  • MightyBear

    I’ll reserve my recommendation until I see Brett’s cons. My gut tells me pitching, pitching and more pitching. 2003 is still the closest the Cubs have been in 100 years. It was pitching ie wood, prior, zambrano. 1907 – 1908 mordecai brown, orval orverall, ed reulbach, jack pfister,etc.

    • hardtop

      word is born

      • Cecil

        it’s “word is bond”.

  • kernzee

    Because present day dollars are more valuable than future dollars , even with interest rates at historical lows .

  • Barney S

    If you want to change your image immediately (which is what Theo and crew want to do) then SUIT UP and sign Fielder!

  • matt3

    there won’t be a future dollar

  • kernzee

    There might not be a euro , but there will be a dollar .

    • matt3

      I really hope you’re right, cause I’m a youngin hoping to make something of myself (and of course have the cubs around). I’ve never seen a fiat currency last throughout history. Only gold and silver.

  • Mike Foster

    There will be a future dollar…..it’ll be pronounced Yuan though.

  • kernzee

    front loaded contracts favor the players , not the team . Every agent would love to see front loading of contracts . You see front loading in the NBA because of the salary cap and a luxury tax that affects more than one team .

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    An inadvertently omitted section/reason: durability. Fielder, like, never misses a game.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      This is a big one when we try to project what sort of numbers Prince will put up in a few years. He is often compared to Cecil Fielder on the basis of body type, play style, genetics, etc. The fear is that Prince will see the same drop in production in his early 30s that Cecil did. I’m not sure how well that applies.

      Cecil played in 150 or more major league games 5 times in his 13 year career.

      Prince has already done it 6 times in 7 years.

    • Sam

      Yea man, Fielder is a BEAST. Let alone his batting stats he is one of the most durable players in baseball. In the past 3 seasons he has played in over 160 games and since 2006 he hasn’t played less than 157 games.  By signing Fielder we get a player who will give it everything he has every single day.

    • hansman1982

      another overlooked item when people talk about Fielder’s size is that I have heard from multiple people that Fielder is pure raw muscle.  That he wants nothing to do with his Dad’s legacy and works his ass off every day to remain in shape despite his build and genetics.

      • hardtop

        i have heard from multiple players that, with the exception of his legs, which are big from carrying his fat ass around, that he is pure blubber. i guess it all depends on who you talk to. that was 2009 season, but he doesn’t look any different to me.

  • Toosh

    1996 was arguably Cecil Fielder’s last “good” year. He was 33 at the end of that season. Of course, the DH rule might have helped his longevity. Prince Fielder will be 33 after 6 more seasons.

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

      Not to mention Prince is a tremendously better player than his dad.

  • die hard

    His DOB is May 9, 1984 and so he will be 28 when season month old. His listed weight is 285 and so he likely is 325. Unless rule change to allow designated runners, he will soon have to hit home run every time up to get more than a single. Castro’s errors will double. The catcher will be worn out by July chasing pop fouls and fielding bunts normally handled by a 1B. Unless Cubs also sign Pujols to play 3B, there is nobody today of Braun ability to take pressure off Fielder and allow him oppty to post such numbers. So Id say pass. Our next years 3B is on our 40 man roster.

  • Barney S

    Pitching is absolutely needed, no question….but even our new skipper is telling the world how bad our power is. We need some guys to hit the long ball and be a threat to opposing pitching. Put Campana or Castro in front of Fielder and his numbers will only get better with the number of fastballs he’ll see. Milwaukee had Braun and Corey Hart in front of him. Braun yes (of course he was a threat all in himself being the MVP and all) but Hart was no base stealing threat.
    O…and SUIT UP!

  • Edward

    Free agency should be the final piece of the puzzle, not the first. We have way too many holes to fill to waste $50 million over the next two years hoping to be legit contenders in 2014. What if he gets injured, or his production begins to decline earlier than expected?

    Save the money, invest it, and use it when we are closer to being legit contenders. Another Prince Fielder will come along…who knows maybe we will even draft one of our own?!

    • JB88

      This is an awfully myopic view of things in my opinion. First, you and I have absolutely no idea what the budget of this team is, so the idea that you are “wast[ing] $50 million” is a logical fallacy.

      Second, you are also assuming that Prince Fielder does not bring money into the team, which I think is bogus also. We’d all be sugar coating it if we didn’t recognize that Wrigley isn’t drawing the crowds it once was, which means that concession sales are down as well as other secondary sales. Additionally, you add a Fielder, you probably show other lower- to mid-level FAs you are serious about contending.

      Third, this is ABSOLUTELY the year you add a Prince Fielder. As a top 15 draft pick team, you only forfeit a second round pick. If you tried to sign a Fielder in two or three years when you are a better team, you’d be sacrificing a 1st round pick. That is a huge loss.

      Fourth, with the shed payroll from Ramirez ($16MM) and Pena ($10MM) you could theoretically save on money by signing Fielder and using a low cost alternative at 3B.

      Fifth, rebuilding does not mean stockpiling money. In fact, it should mean the exact opposite. You need to invest in your product in order to retain your fanbase and continue to create excitement. Sure, they need pitching, but they also need defense and hitting. This was a bad 71 win team that needs a lot of parts. You can’t build solely through the draft and you are now capped on what you can spend in the draft. Better to reinvest that money in a once-in-a-decade FA type, one of whom you are going to get 5 out of his 6 most productive years.

      • JK

        I tend to lean with JB88 on this. You sign Fielder. And then you have Marmol, Byrd, Soto and Garza as trade targets to potentially fill the last few holes and/or bring in major leagure ready talent that can perform. You may not contend right away but you may be competitive depending on how ready the talent is to play. Something like:

        1. Jackson cf
        2. Barney/Lemehiu/Baker 2b
        3. Castro ss
        4. Prince 1b
        5. Headley 3b
        6. Soriano lf
        7. Cespedes rf
        8. Castillo c

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Depending on the rotation, that’s a competitive team right there.

          • die hard

            Competitive? Jackson, Cespedes and Castillo are unproven major league hitters. Soriano is not dependable and is a year older. Who is going to protect Fielder’s access to fastballs? Headley? Also, Castro does not hit well batting third. Maybe AAA competitive.

            • DRock

              die hard, you are forever the pessimist. I guess that comes from being a Cubs fan your whole life. We all understand your sentiment. I have grown more and more cynical with every year that goes by in which the Cubbies don’t win. But, I have never followed the offseason moves as much as I have this year…

              • die hard

                More aptly a realist. And when I see rumors about spending big bucks on overweight overhyped prima donnas my bood boils. Everyone should not only closely follow rumored off season moves like you but go further by calling out the front office before such moves are made in the hope that the front office will think twice and then once more before pulling the trigger.

          • Barney S

            I’d honestly rather bench Soriano and put Byrd or Colvin in LF. Or Cespedes in LF and Byrd or Colvin in RF. Now that’s an outfield I could settle down with. WHAT UP?!

            • JasonB

              I don’t see Cespedes being ready to contribute immediately next year.   I think I read somewhere where Cuba’s professional league is basically the equivalent of high A.  If that’s the case, he still has to prove that he can advance through two more levels before getting to the bigs.  I don’t see that happening by next April.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I heart the schtick, by the way. I’m sincerely praying it does not end, and that’s not sarcasm.

              High five.

              • Barney S

                BRO FIVE!

                • CubFan Paul

                  Nora is way hotter than Robin btw..

                  • Barney S

                    Bite your tongue sir! That’s my future baby’s momma you’re talkin about!
                    Plus Nora’s English accent got on my nerves after a long time

      • Pat

        I think we can make some good assumptions as to what the budget is/will be.

        Ricketts has said from the beginning that all profits will be reinvested in the team, I am going to assume that is true and also assume that none of the family members will be giving themselves big raises this year.

        The tickets prices and TV and radio deals are still the same, and as far as we can tell there are no major new sources of advertising income. As a result I would say that the budget for this year is very unlikely to be any higher than last year. Especially since ticket sales were slightly down, and concessions had to be down by a decent bit compared to 2010.

        Due to the new CBA, there should be maybe seven million freed up from the amateur budget. However, Theo makes at least 3.5 million this year and possibly 7, depending if he get’s that “completion bonus” this year or next. Best case that leaves 3.5 million, but you also have to pay Hoyer, Sveum, and any other front office additions.

        I can’t see any reason not to assume that the major league payroll will at best be the same as last year.

    • Sam

      What if our prospects don’t pan out? What if 2-3 years down the road when we are ready to compete we lack the deep ball threat? What if 2-3 years from now there are no solid FAs available?  The fact of the matter is that the Cubs need a player of Fielders caliber and they may not get a chance to get another player like him for a very long time. Players get hurt, thats just the risk you take, and you NEVER EVER know how prospects will play out. Just look at the cubs all crype list and see for yourself… And in regards to the whole build talent from the ground up plan, which is great and I’m glad to see the Cubs building a strong foundation…. but… YOU CANNOT EXPECT TO SOLVE EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM INTERNALLY! You just can’t. You build a team with FA signing, trades, AND prospects. The only reason why that hasn’t been working out for the Cubs is that we had an idiot for a GM.

      • JK

        Agree…..remember when Larry Walker was available. Man the Cubs screwed up by not taking a chance on him.

      • Lou

        The thing is your right because who do the Cubs have as legitimate power now or two years from now. Cubs just have to see if Fielder will settle for 6 or less years, preferably 5. Then, I’m Ok with it.

    • Edward

      Fielder is a great player, and I have have no doubt the Cubs can afford to pay him. There is also no doubt that the team needs more power in the lineup and an every day 1st baseman. Fielder fills those needs. At 27, he is in the prime of his career and young for a free agent.

      But players often change once they get paid. What’s stopping him from becoming the next Carl Crawford, Vernon Wells, or Alfonso Soriano when he approaches 30? Will 2014-2017 Prince put up similar number to 2007-2011 Prince? What post steroid era free agent proves worth $25 million annually after the age of 30?

      Most $100 million + contracts end up badly for the teams spending the money. It’s almost impossible to reach the expectations assumed with a $25 million annual salary. Anything but an MVP caliber season is a bit of a disappointment.

      I would love to be in a better position to sign a player like Fielder, but I just think we will end up fielding a lousy team around his remaining prime years. By the time we may be competing, Fielder will probably be on the edge of his prime and beginning to decline.

      Of course most our prospects probably won’t pan out. But, we simply cannot compete on an annual basis until a couple more do. And until that happens, I say we stay away from the $25 million dollar contracts, and save the money for when we are a piece or two away from a potential dynasty.

      I would love to see the Cubs begin to develop like the Rays and Marlins, but have the money to retain their talent. A big part of that process means stockpiling draft picks and patience.

      • Kyle

        “But players often change once they get paid. What’s stopping him from becoming the next Carl Crawford, Vernon Wells, or Alfonso Soriano when he approaches 30?”

        The primary thing stopping him from being the next one of those three players is that he’s a much, much better player than any of those there were at the time of their signing.

  • EQ76

    So if the Cubs sign Fielder & Buehrle and get a decent 3B in a trade (Headley), do you all think we can compete?

    • Sam

      Yea. Look at the Diamondbacks, they weren’t supposed to do shit this year and they ended up winning the NL West. anything is possible

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Whats wrong with Mike Napoli, or Adam LaRoche when hes healthy?

    LaRoche has been A very consistent 25 HR’s/100 RBI’s and great defense at 1st And will cost alot less than half of what prince will make.

    Well we all saw what Mike Napoli can do but his D sucks.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      They are not even remotely on the same level as Prince Fielder is the point. Acceptable options? Maybe (though I’d disagree on LaRoche). But Fielder, they ain’t.

      • DRock

        Thank you for chiming in, Brett. You stole the words right out of my mouth.

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        Even Die Hard knows there not Prince Fielder and I would LOOOVVEEE to have him over the other two but I was just saying.

        If you go back and look at LaRoches stats he has been pretty consistent.

        • die hard

          cheaper alternative may be trading Barney to Cleveland for 1B LaPorta

          • Pat

            And why would Cleveland want Barney?

            • die hard

              Cle need 2B and/or utility…LaPorta expendable and has upside

              • Rancelot

                No – Cleveland is set up the middle with Jason Kipnis at 2b (he of the .507 Slg % in limited duty this year and Bill James has projected to hit 18 HR’s and have 18 SB’s in 2012) and of course Asdrubal Cabrera at SS. Game over, please try again.

    • Lou

      Napoli’s defensive is probably comparable to Fielder’s and better suited for C.

  • Cubs82

    I agree 100% with sam,JB88,jk and brett.they know what they talking about.

  • Cubs82

    I think if the cubs make the right moves and sign the right players they will be contenders in 2012 period.

  • Cubs82

    @Ken_Rosenthal) Sources: #Nationals pursuing Fielder. Talks hit roadblock today. Cespedes possible alternative. less than a minute ago

  • Coal

    It’s not my money, but here are the best 3 reasons to sign him I can think of that haven’t been covered explicitly above:

    1) Star Power. I like Tony Campana as much as the next guy, but he doesn’t turn heads. And when was the last time a Cubs player did? Sammy in his prime? Kerry Wood? Pryor? Maybe Castro gets there, but we don’t have that “guy” that lights up the room and the scoreboard. You don’t see that many teams that go places without one (or often more) of these kinds of guys. If we eventually need one to get over the hump, and here one is….just sayin’.

    2) A Feared Hitter. The Cubs lineup does not scare anyone. There is rarely a time (save perhaps with Castro – or possibly Aramis late in the year – when an opposing pitcher/manager/fan would say under his breath (oh crap, here comes…..). I don’t see a lot of those type of guys truly on the cusp in the Cubs system either. So here’s one of them – maybe you grab him and lock him up. You’re not going to win, unless you’re the early 80s Cards on Astroturf without somebody that can hurt the ball consistently. It’s not just the RBI, it’s the turning of the lineup, the added pitch count, the stress of the pitches, the momentum that can be created, and the negative impact of that type of guy can have on the other team’s psyche when he’s “on.”

    3) The Cubs’ Angle. It seems that between Sveum and Theo, we have a couple of guys who are somewhat uniquely positioned to evaluate Prince, as well as discuss the risks and rewards. Sveum’s been around Prince, and Theo’s been around guys like Manny and Ortiz. There have to be ways — insider ways — to tell if Fielder is more likely to produce, or to flake, get hurt, eat his way out of a job, etc. based on the track record and experience of Theo and Sveum. I know it’s not a certainty either way, but what we’re basically looking for Theo et. al. to do is NOT make the next big signing Soriano #2. I think they understand that – and probably have the capability to make a more educated guess about the prospects for his long term production than Hendry did about Alfonso. If you expect to make a serious run at the World Series in, let’s say, 3 of the next 5 years, heck, I think you go after him (if you can swing the $). I have to believe in the closed door meetings that Ricketts/Theo/Sveum/Kenney talk about doing something pretty much like that (i.e., seriously compete in 3 of the next 5 seasons). If that’s not your plan, why did you just go “all in” with Theo?

    That said, I think if the Cubs *don’t* get seriously in the hunt for him, there is a good possibility that the evaluation (above) didn’t yield results that made the Cubs comfortable.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Great stuff, Coal.

  • JB

    How long does MLB plan on owning the Nationals? it’s bs that we are competing with ourselves for free agents.

    • Larry

      MLB doesn’t own the Nationals anymore, they found an owner for the team in 2006. Since then they have been run by the Lerner Enterprises Group.

  • Edgar

    Just found out this site and I must say I fell in love with it.

    Im all for getting Fielder. Sure there are risks but the positives outweigh the negatives. sure we might not compete next year but we gotta start somewhere and fielder is the right choice. But there is another aspect that only the Cubs have an edge on. Here is where Theo and everyone involved can show how smart they are. That thing is selfishness if you want to called it like that. You gotta sell the idea that if he comes here and wins he or anyone will be idolized in the city, this is where you can on a low offer and then pitch the idea that the person involved in winning a championships would become a bigger star than Michael Jordan. I mean what person would not want that? In 2003 2007 and 2008 the city was ready to crown their champions. Imagine what it would mean to prior wood ramirez lee dempster and even sosa( although all his allegations). all these people would be gods here. i think this is a prize we only can offer and sure it might not mean less money but at least you give the intrigue to the player about being something more than just a baseball player. i might be getting a little ahead of myself.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks and welcome, Edgar.

  • Jed

    Look at the other side of the situation too. If you don’t Fielder, who do you play at first? Lahair? He tore up AAA, but that doesn’t mean he’ll do jack squat in the majors. Baker? He can mash the lefties but when the right-handers come, all bets are off. Colvin? Something tells me that won’t translate. Kotchman? Ain’t happening. Either the Cubs take a mid-to-low risk, high reward player in Fielder, or overpay for above average, but not a star, Pena. I’ll put my money on Fielder.

  • ReiCow

    And he is a lefty! *ducks*

    It is also nice that we *KNOW* he is 27…

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