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[Preceded, yesterday, by the case for signing Prince Fielder. This article will focus solely on the reasons not to sign Fielder.]

You can imagine my subtle smile when, a day after laying out the case for signing Prince Fielder, a report confirmed what we’d suspected since the new CBA came to light: the Chicago Cubs are pursuing free agent Prince Fielder.

The smile, you see, was more about the timing than anything else. Despite writing 1400 words on the virtues of signing Fielder, I remained unconvinced that it was actually a good idea. Maybe it’s the former lawyer in me, but I like to hear the best arguments for and against something before making up my mind – and even then, sometimes I remain torn.

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

The Money

Whatever positive gloss you put on Prince Fielder’s value, you cannot escape one fact: $25 million for Fielder, even for a large market club like the Cubs, means some 20% of the team’s payroll is tied up in one player. That leaves the other 80% to be split among the remaining 24 roster spots – or less than 3.5% per player. Fielder, again, would be getting 20%. On what planet is that justifiable?

Then there’s the length of time the team is paying that $25 million. Every year, it seems the top free agent(s) come(s) out with some outrageous contract demand that we all laugh at, and say, “yeah, and I want to date a supermodel.”

And then the player gets his ridiculous demand. Sometimes more. (Yet Adriana Lima remains nowhere near my Friday nights.)

So, when rumors circulate that Fielder wants to land an eight-year, $200 million deal, I no longer laugh off that possibility. The idea that the Cubs could be stuck with as many as four unproductive, $25 million seasons of Fielder doesn’t make me laugh, either.

The Weight and the Looming Specter of Mo Vaughn

After the 1998 season, a world-beating first baseman was up for free agency, and nobody doubted that he was going to get paid. He’d put up six consecutive seasons with an OPS over .915, had hit 35 or more homers in four straight seasons, and was a top five MVP finisher (including one win) in three of the past four seasons.

His name was Mo Vaughn, and he was a 29-year-old monster, whom the Los Angeles Angels signed to a six-year, $80 million contract – the biggest in baseball at the time. A burly, left-handed hitter with prodigious power (but light on the defense), Vaughn was to be the Angels’ middle-of-the-order pop for the next half decade.

He never put up another OPS over .866 – his first year with the Angels – and his numbers dropped steadily from there, except in 2001, when he sat out the whole year. By 2003, at age 35, and in the second-to-final year of his deal, Vaughn was out of baseball.

Now, Prince Fielder is not Mo Vaughn. No one is. But history’s lessons exist for a reason, and, in this instance, they exist to teach us one thing: big men don’t always age well.

Fielder says he’s in great shape, despite his visible size. Others – most of whom have a vested interest in his success – say the same. But there’s no denying that he’s a big man, for whom “baseball shape” is likely to become an increasingly difficult goal as he ages.

The Defense

Remember everything I said yesterday about Fielder’s defensive abilities? Nothing but double-talk, lawyer crap.

Fielder’s defense is bad. His range is small, his ability to dig balls out of the dirt is limited, and his defensive athleticism is questionable. And these things aren’t likely to improve as Fielder approaches 30. An NL team, like the Cubs, will not have the luxury of parking Fielder in the DH role later on in his contract like an AL team will. That suggests AL teams can more boldly bid for Fielder.

The Impact on Players Around Him

Anyone remember when Prince Fielder got into a Carlos Zambrano-esque fight with pitcher Manny Parra in the dugout over what Parra viewed as questionable defensive effort on Fielder’s part? I do. And you can watch it here, if you’d like. Fielder drills Parra. Hard.

Maybe Parra deserved it, and maybe it wasn’t as bad as it looked. But to slam into a teammate, in the dugout, in the middle of a game demonstrates, at best, really questionable decision-making skills.

And then there was the time Fielder tried to fight opposing pitcher Guillermo Mota after Mota plunked Fielder. No, I’m not talking about a charging the mound situation. I’m talking about Fielder camping out, waiting for Mota, and then heading to the Dodgers’ clubhouse to try and fight Mota there after the game. Fielder’s teammates had to pull him away.

And then there was the time Fielder, in the middle of a pennant race, stated publicly that he didn’t expect to return to Milwaukee after this season, prompting some surprised and disappointed reactions from teammates.

If you ask Brewers’ players whether Fielder is a good teammate – hell, if you ask new Cubs manager Dale Sveum – I’m sure they’ll say yes. Maybe he is. I’m not trying to say he’s Milton Bradley, or even Carlos Zambrano. But, it’s not a total non-issue.

 

  • mister_rob

    OT, but looks like Jamie Quirk is our new bench coach

  • http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=14080749 steve

    about the DH and defense thing. with the Astros moving to the AL in 2013 everyone will be forced to play more interleague games. which means more opportunities to put fielder as the DH. and if he goes to the AL, hes going to be playing in a lot of NL parks where he cant DH. so I don’t know if its that big of a deal if he goes to an NL team. I don’t know i could be wrong

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      I haven’t seen a proposed schedule that contains more than 30 interleague games. That’s probably not enough for interleague play to become a significant factor when teams in either league consider players. Not their starting players, anyway.

  • Spencer

    You make a much more compelling case for signing him that not signing him, particularly in the “Impact on the players around him” section.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Having done the exercise, I’m inclined to agree. I think I’m officially a pro-signing Fielder guy. Never thought I would be.

  • baseballet

    The idea that a first baseman would eat 20% of team payroll on a rebuilding team seems like a bad investment. We all want the Cubs to be contenders sometime soon, but it’s irresponsible to splurge on a first baseman when we don’t have any idea what the roster will look like once it’s ready to contend for a World Series.

    Ricketts should dole out that kind of mega-contract to an All Star who plays a more important position. Once the Cubs are ready to contend, then they can toss out the desperation money to the best available free agents who fill in the gaps. First spend the money on a core group and then fill in at the edges.

    According to Fangraphs, Fielder had a WAR of 5.5 and Carlos Pena had a WAR of 2.6, so Fielder only nets you 3 wins. The Cubs are not yet in a position where 3 wins makes a huge difference. The Cubs should spend on young pitchers and other skill positions, and worry about first base later.

    • http://www.cubsanappreciation.yolasite.com mike

      I agree completely with that. Fielder is the type of free agent you sign when you are on the verge on taking the next step to getting to the World Series and frankly, I see no evidence that the Cubs will be able to do that next year. They have to focus on making the team better not trying to win the Series. Thats where Hendry got into trouble. You do what you can to improve without a huge bump in the payroll. The starting pitching SHOULD be the main focus right now, thats where good teams start. If you have to re-sign Pena, well, maybe thats what you have to do, but dont worry about signing a big name who wont make you that much better anyway.

      • Spencer

        Maybe Fielder won’t have a significant impact next season, but what about the next six he would be on the team? Would he have an impact then? Probably yes. Why can’t Fielder be the starting point?

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      I largely agree, but there is a solid counter argument.

      The Cubs are actually in good shape at most of the skill position.
      SS – Castro
      CF – Brett Jackson, with Matt Szczur on the way
      C – Even if they move Soto, a consensus seems to be brewing that Castillo is a starting catcher. A Castillo / Clevenger platoon would probably be a defensive upgrade and at least as good as Soto with the bat.
      2B – I think LeMahieu will be fine at second, but for those unconvinced this could be a hole.
      3B – The Cubs needs a full time third baseman. DeWitt / Flaherty / Baker are the best options for 2012, with Vitters and Lake coming along for the second half or 2013.

      That’s not too shabby. Starting pitching still need some help (understatement…) but the bullpen is in great shape.

      But look at the offensive side of the game. The Cubs lineup is badly in need of a big bat, preferably from the left side. They were horrible last season with RISP, and while the team looks to have plenty of speed on the base paths arriving in the next few seasons, the biggest bat on the horizon is Vitters. Vitters is a good hitter, but he’s no Fielder.

      So since the Cubs have young, quality, cost controlled depth at the skill positions (mostly), can they afford to invest 20% of their payroll in that badly needed big bat?

      • nonesuch

        absolutely, they can afford it. There’s no elite slugging FA’s on the horizon or on the farm. Fielder is still entering his prime years and at the end of his 6-7 year contract he’ll be entering the declining years.
        Defense is very important, but it’s the up the middle positions that count the most. The defensive abilities of a 1B is overrated (sorry Mark Grace/Derek Lee).

    • Jeff

      According to Fangraphs, Fielder had a WAR of 5.5 and Carlos Pena had a WAR of 2.6

      In other news, according to Fangraphs, Johnny Peralta, Pablo Sandoval, and Alex Avila are all worth more wins than Albert Pujols.

      • hansman1982

        I have read a few times that WAR seems to be getting pushed aside by some of the “experts”.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        Welcome to WAR. Like a chainsaw, it is a useful tool. But like a chainsaw, use at your own risk.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        DING.

        • http://Bleachernation Bric

          Exactly. WAR isn’t a stat- it’s a projection. It’s based on assumptions and probability. Wins Above Replacement? What does that even mean? For instance, replacing Zambrano with Halladay would affect both’s WAR in crazy and unpredicted ways. Yet some people use this number in order to prove whatever opionion they’re trying to make. This number means next to nothing unless you’re the agent representing the player in question.

          • T C

            FALSE.

            WAR is a compilation of what players did in the previous year. It has use for projections, but it is not a projection itself. I would go to the fangraphs sabr library and read up on the components of WAR, its quite valuable.

            As far as replacement level, it IS NOT based off of who would replace someone on their own team, it’s based off of a calculation of what a AAA level replacement would produce in the major leagues, so everyone’s (at the same position) WAR is based off of the same baseline.

            Again, the FanGraphs Sabr Library – well worth everyone’s time

            • JasonB

              While not perfect, I would urge anyone to come up with a better metric to determine a player’s value.  Creating runs and preventing runs helps win games and those are the key drivers of the WAR statistic.  Unfortunately, the statistic doesn’t account for luck and thus doesn’t represent true skill and it’s also imperfect at evaluating baserunning and defensive ability (see Soriano, Alfonso) – that’s where the discerning eye comes in.

              I would take Alex Avila’s 2011 numbers at C over Albert Pujols at 1B because I can more easily replace Pujols’ production with another 1B.  Doesn’t mean that he’s a better hitter and doesn’t mean that Avila will be more valuable than Pujols in the future – just means that he was more valuable in 2011 based on the position that he plays.  Moving forward, the question that needs to be answered is “is Albert Pujols still a .330 / .290 ISO hitter or is he now a .300 / .240 ISO hitter?”  Again with the discerning eye and the evaluation of why he had such a down year.

              • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

                Like I said above, WAR is useful, but it does have serious flaws and can be used to prop up some really bad arguments. The perfect example took place 11 months ago: Matt Garza vs Tom Gorzelanny.

                If you visited MLB Trade Rumors (or any other more stat-centric forum for that matter), you saw repeated posts insisting that Gorzelanny was as good or better a pitcher than Garza. The justification? WAR. It is supposed to be league neutral, so the fact that Garza had a WAR of 2.0 the previous year vs Gorzelanny’s 1.8 was absolutely conclusive evidence… at least to those making the argument.

                Of course, none of those arguments came remotely close to passing the eye test. All you had to do to see that Garza was a better pitcher than Gorzelanny was watch both men pitch. WAR, in this case, was extremely misleading.

                It is a useful tool, but it is a tool that needs to be used in context. For instance, if you go purely by WAR, Darwin Barney is a better defender than Carlos Pena. Check their 2011 dWAR (0.1 vs -0.5). When you add context to that comparison, and particularly when you watch the two play, you realize there is a lot more going on to generate those numbers than just their abilities as defenders.

                WAR is a perfectly valid and useful tool… I use it myself probably more than I should… but Bric isn’t too far off when he says people can use that number to prove whatever opinion they are trying to make. Used properly it is a great compiled stat. Unfortunately, it isn’t always used properly.

  • JB88

    I think you are fudging those numbers a bit. 20% of the payroll at a $25MM contract would mean the Cubs’ payroll is $125MM. The Cubs’ payroll last year was $134MM, with $21MM being invested in the amateur draft, meaning the Cubs invested $155 MM toward baseball operations (not including salaries for their front office and coaching staff). Assuming, modestly, that non-player salaries brought that up to $5MM, and assuming those numbers have doubled for the new FO, that still means that the Cubs would/will spend $150 MM toward their roster, with no increases or decreases in payroll.

    So, again, using the $13 something million the Cubs can use toward amateur/international signings in 2013, that still means the Cubs have $137 MM (roughly) to use toward the big league payroll. At $137 MM, Fielder’s $25 MM would be 18%.

    The problem, though, isn’t Fielder at 18%, it is Soriano and Zambrano at nearly 14% each of the payroll. If/when those numbers are off the books, you don’t (or shouldn’t) have a problem paying a 5.5 WAR player $25MM per season …

    Lastly, though, I’m surprised you didn’t attack Fielder for his consistency. Given that in the last 6 seasons he has also put up 1.3, 1.7, and 3.4 WAR seasons in between a number of absolutely superior seasons. That to me could be the biggest disincentive to paying Fielder a $150MM plus contract.

    • baseballet

      Good point JB88. It’s chilling to note that Fielder has had a few recent seasons WORSE than Pena’s 2011, as measured by WAR.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      There are have been suggestions throughout the offseason that the Cubs’ payroll could go as low as $125 million in 2012 – no fudging necessary. Setting that aside, the point would be the same whether the number was 20% or 18%. It’s an argument against. That’s all it is. I’m not necessarily saying I find it compelling, or that payroll can’t go up.

      Fielder’s consistency was discussed in the pro-Fielder post yesterday. I don’t actually see it as a huge issue (as I thought I would when I started writing about it as an anti-Fielder point). I use WAR occasionally, when necessary, but I don’t believe it to be the end-all be-all stat that it purports to be (particularly because I believe the defensive component is flawed).

      • Kyle

        “There are have been suggestions throughout the offseason that the Cubs’ payroll could go as low as $125 million in 2012″

        Suggestions from whom? I’ll take that bet any day of the week.

        The only thing we have explicitly is that the total baseball budget is $200 million. With the new restrictions on amateur spending, they are going to have to be giving a lot of assistant scouts seven-figure contracts to keep the MLB payroll at $125 million.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          To be clear, the point I’m making is only that the argument is – whether the Cubs’ payroll is as low as $125 million (I don’t believe it, but Chicago media have gone that low) or upwards of $140 million – 15% to 20% of that payroll is too much to dedicate to one player. I’m not saying I agree with the argument, nor am I making the argument in an evenhanded way. This is simply the argument against signing Fielder, as it can most strongly be made.

          As Spencer pointed out earlier, the pro-Fielder arguments are ultimately more compelling.

  • Jeff

    I don’t get the whole concept that the Cubs can’t sign a big name free agent because he won’t be the final piece to the World Series puzzle. Why does this “rebuilding” have to be done in a certain order? If the Cubs are sure that Fielder or Pujols is going to be the best first baseman that they can get in the next 4 or 5 years, why should they wait just because the rest of the team isn’t ready to contend? Who says that they can’t “rebuild” while spending money on an almost sure fire free agent? The team has the resources to sign a couple of big free agent contracts without taking away from what they intend to spend on the draft and international signings (the new cba only makes this point more valid, since they now have to spend that way). I just don’t understand why it has to be one way or the other for some people.

    • JB88

      Agree completely. I think most people are so scared by big contracts, given what we received from Soriano and Zambrano that they don’t want big contracts of any kind. It is small thinking IMO and it is one of the reasons that we are fans and not in a baseball FO.

    • Spencer

      I agree 100% with this sentiment. Fielder being with the Cubs for the next seven years actually enhances the team’s ability to contend. Having a player like Fielder on the team might not make an immediate impact next year, but it certainly could in the next six that he’s on the team.

    • baseballet

      I did not say that the Cubs should not spend money on free agents. I think the Cubs should indeed spend big, but they should do so strategically. They should focus on acquiring pitching and skill positions. Once they have a core in place they can worry about first base.

      It’s a mistake to allocate 20% of your payroll on first base before you know what you need to contend for a World Series. If you lock that money into a first baseman then it hampers you from acquring pitchers and middle fielders. Splurge now on young pitchers and skill positions; later when you’re close to contending, you can spend what’s left on the best hitter you can find who can play first base.

      • Jeff

        I get what you are saying. What I want to know, is why does signing Pujols or Fielder preclude them from adding pitching or other players? The money is there, even if they have to get a little creative. I don’t think that money is the issue, and I don’t think that it is an issue of having to choose a power hitting, middle of the lineup first baseman, over improving the pitching and the defense. Ricketts said again today that Theo has the authority to dump any contract necessary. By my counts, that’s 30+ million in spending money that they could free up by dumping Zambrano and Soriano. I’m not saying that’s going to happen, I’m saying that the well isn’t going to dry up by signing a first baseman. I am more worried about Pujols/Fielder being healthy at the end of their deals, and which of them would be open to being traded to the AL when their defense dictates that they stop playing the field.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I don’t think we know that Ricketts is allowing Jed/Theo to dump bad contracts AND re-add that money to the payroll (thus upping the payroll considerably). He might be. But I think all we know for sure is that Ricketts won’t stand in the way if Jed/Theo want to dump Zambrano and Soriano for nothing in return – i.e., release them.

          (and the implicit conclusion is that, if they’re allowed to dump them for nothing, obviously they’re allowed to dump them for a 10 cents on the dollar return)

          • nonesuch

            My guess is that is for public consumption, meant to un-hamstring Jed/Theo’s trade discussions. Ricketts can’t un-say his “I can’t see him playing here anymore” comment so this is spin control.
            Still can’t see how just dumping them makes this team better. We don’t have any minor leaguers knocking on the door to replace them. A reasonable trade for prospect or two and a modest amount of salary relief is the best that can be hoped for.

  • wax_eagle
    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Not sure how applicable that is. Prince has already played in 150+ games more times than Cecil did in his entire career. There is no comparing their durability; Prince wins easily. That implies that Prince’s conditioning might be as good as he says it is.

      I think the Mo Vaugh comparison Brett used is a better one, and one that raises just as many red flags.

  • Chris84

    A friend of mine who lives in Milwaukee posted on Facebook once that he saw Prince Fielder at a restaurant and that he ordered something with a lot of fruit in it.

    My obvious response was “you mean like a jelly donut?”

    *rim shot*

    Seriously though, the weight thing and his dad’s decline later in his career, aka the fear that he’ll do the same, is what makes me nervous about Prince.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Incidentally, Fielder is an avid vegetarian.

      • JB88

        Point of order: How is one an “avid vegetarian”? :)

        • hardtop

          avid vegetarian mean you only eat fatty meat products at home when no one is looking…. at least that explains fielder….

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Um … like … not one of those chic vegetarian-when-there-isn’t-a-juicy-steak-around types?

          Yup. I’ll go with that.

        • ogyu

          I’ll be stopping at Culver’s this evening for a vegetarian meal of fries and a chocolate malt…

      • Chris84

        Which has always baffled me. When I was a vegetarian, I dropped tons of weight. I can only assume that the he deep fries everything. mmmmm…. deep fried everything.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Haha.

        • Jeff

          Donuts are not meat, so, he still has some things to work on where his diet is concerned.

  • http://twitter.com/rbmryu Rafael Meirelles

    I was born near where Adriana Lima was born and am not near her either. = (

  • die hard

    Brewers would give him $50 mil over 3 yrs…he may take it after testing FA

  • MightyBear

    I still say you build through the farm system and add free agents to complete your team. Getting Fielder isn’t the last piece of the puzzle that can put them over the top ie Texas Rangers. Again the Cubs need pitching. While I would love to have Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols (or both) on the Cubs, it won’t make any difference if they’re giving up 6 runs per game. If you’re going to spend in free agency, spend it on pitching. Get a closer who can throw strikes and trade Marmol for a bat. The Rangers have been hitting for 10 years, they haven’t made it to the WS until the last two years when they got some PITCHING.

  • Sam

    You can’t allow a big contract to scare you away from signing a player. Just because they havent worked out for us in the past doesnt mean we should be terrified of them. You cant win if you dont take risks. And as for not competing next season the talent is there. Who says soto and dempster cant have bounce back years? Who says next year couldnt be the year Castro comes into his power swing? Last year the Cubs looked like they didnt give a shit. What if bringing in a player like Prince Fielder could be the spark that gets a fire going in the clubhouse? Or give our guys some confidence and inspire them to play on a higher level?

    • baseballet

      Why would the Cubs allocate their biggest payroll chunk on baseball’s most expensive free agent who can’t run or play defense, and who has had recent seasons worse than Pena’s 2011? That buy-high strategy is classic Hendry.

      Also, super fat guys are not usually All Stars in their 30’s. There are exceptions, but Fielder is going to have to run the bases and stretch out doubles when he’s 32 years old (while making an ace pitcher’s salary). The Cubs should only splurge on a player like that once they’re ready to go for the gusto. OMG, please tell me Cubs Camelot with their Harvard and MIT degrees realizes this.

      • Lou

        Who is going to replace Fielder’s production conceivably then over the next three years? You know, the timeline when the Cubs are supposed to develop into a competitive team? Bryan LaHair. Here’s my thinking. You forgo his defensive for what he more than makes up offensively. Hopefully you sign him at the most to a 6-year deal, by the end of which he’ll be 33. By the end of that contract, you’d hope the Harvard and MIT degrees will realize that Fielder can’t do it alone. So, you’re theory of him having to play extra hard at 32 is debunked. You’re not going to get a Fielder like player to develop that kind of talent he possesses by 2014. The Cubs currently don’t have that talent. Furthermore, a Garza trade won’t give you that kind of talent. I see a Garza trade being more about quantity since the Cubs have plenty of holes to fill and want to do so affordably. Also, with the 6th pick in the 2012 draft, I just see the Cubs going the starting pitcher route. So, with all these other options not providing the Cubs with Fielder-type production, what exactly is the drawback in giving Fielder a 5-6 yr contract?

        • baseballet

          What’s the drawback to signing Fielder long term as your highest paid player? He’s slow and plays poor defense right now, and will get worse as he ages. You’re giving him the biggest slice of the payroll pie for years to come; that’s too much to spend on a offense-only first baseman when the Cubs need to remedy their bad pitching, bad defense and bad team speed.

          Fielder just isn’t a good fit to become the highest paid Cub. The Cubs should use their biggest contract offers for ace pitchers and young middle fielders who give you offense, defense and speed. Pitchers and middle fielders are the meat and potatoes – you order them first; first basemen are the soda – you order one with whatever money is left over after getting your meat and potatoes. Lou, what I’m trying to say is, I’m really, really hungry.

          • Lou

            Ok, middle infielder with speed and offense. We kinda have that. His name is Castro. And we could have that in CF Brett Jackson. Pitching can still be obtained via the no 6 pick in next year’s draft, relatively affordably in this year’s FA market, and by not trading Garza if you sign Fielder. Sorry, man, you’re worried about signing Fielder for his defense, I’ve got plenty more to worry about and that’s not a reason NOT to sign Fielder. That’s just a poor argument.

  • Bails17

    The one thing about Prince that people don’t know is this…when he came out of HS he ran a 6.82 60 yard dash.  WOW right!  He was 250 at the time and was running above average big league times.  He is much more athletic, flexible, and explosive than his dad ever was.  This will play into his longevity for sure.  If he CAN get his weight down and keep it around 250 or 260…I wouldn’t be all that worried about his production at least for the next 5-6 years.

  • Hawkeyegrad

    The issue for me in signing Fielder to a big contract is that you are likely paying him big $’s for early productive years. Those early years are also likely to be the years that the Cubs have difficulty contending. Assuming payroll stays about the same, Fielder at $25 million per would replace Ramirez and Pena’s salary. We would then still need a RF and 3B using Fukudome’s money. I really don’t see how the Cubs go from a 70 win team to a 90 win team with that move. Could it happen?…yes. Is it likely?…no.

    When the Cubs presumably start to get better when Zambrano’s and then Soriano’s contracts can be reallocatted and some prospects mature, Fielder’s production will likely be in decline (but his salary will not be in decline). That is why I think you move on the high priced free agent near the end of the rebuilding process (unless the FA in question is really young).

    • baseballet

      Totally agree!

    • Lou

      I don’t see the decline at 32 or 33 years of age. Sorry. If he was getting a Soriano-type contract at the age Soriano was when he signed with the Cubs, I could see your point. If you’re comparing him to his father’s decline, I’d say different time period, different diets for players and advances in nutrition, and different work regimes for today’s players. Nothing that I’ve said points to a Fielder decline when he turns 32/33.

  • Edward

    Name one post-steroid era offensive player worth more than $25 million per year after the age of 30. Pujols? Anybody else?

    If all we were lacking is one more big bat, I say go for it. Build up the middle, spend money on starting pitching, and bring in the big bat as the final piece of the puzzle.

  • SirCub

    “Remember everything I said yesterday about Fielder’s defensive abilities? Nothing but double-talk, lawyer crap.”

    How can I be sure that this isn’t triple talk lawyer crap? I don’t think I can trust this site anymore.

  • BetterNews

    Brett—There is no doubt Fielder does not have the range of Pena or a Derrek Lee, there bodies are completely different(tall, better reach vs stout, limited reach). However, to suggest Fielder is worse defensively because of that fact does not sit well with me. It simply means the ball has to be thrown well to him.

    Having said that, I think a Fielder deal would be a mistake, not because of teammate issues, weight issues, or Mo Vaughn comparisons, but because the Cubs have a young infield, and 3rd base is a big question mark, and the Cubs would seem to need a Pena type to survive the errors that are sure to come from throws to 1st.

  • Kyle

    The Cubs’ organization is *stacked* in the middle infield. We should have absolutely no problem filling the up-the-middle spots internally for the next five to seven years.

    We are woefully short on elite bats and first basemen, though.

    • BetterNews

      Kyle—Not really sure of the point on this comment. Please clarify

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