The stove is finally hot…
- Industry sources offer conflicting takes on just how hard the Cubs might pursue Prince Fielder. All we know for sure at this point is that the Cubs are routinely mentioned among the top five teams “in” on Fielder. His agent, Scott Boras, is expected to meet with teams who are actually “in” on Fielder today, so we might learn just how serious the Cubs are – or aren’t – today.
- Some folks in the industry doubt the Cubs will spend much money this Winter at all. I may have been among them … until the new CBA was announced. As it stands, the Cubs will absolutely consider big-money deals under the right circumstances. The Cubs might end up making only cost-effective moves this Winter, but I have no doubt they’ll strongly consider the alternative.
- On Pujols, other executives do expect the Cubs to make an offer to Albert Pujols, but only on a shorter term deal with a high annual salary (as we’ve all suggested around here). I still don’t see why Pujols would take, for example, a five-year, $150 million offer from the Cubs over a nine-year, $200 million offer from the Cards. Those latter four years, it’s almost impossible to imagine him bettering a four-year, $50 million deal. Add in the home-town love, and Pujols staying in St. Louis feels like a natch.
- Paul Sullivan provides the first suggestion that the Cubs will be shopping Randy Wells and Marlon Byrd this week and beyond. Wells never fully rebounded from his early-season forearm strain, though he was pretty good for a long stretch in the second half. Given his cheapness (2012 is his first arbitration-eligible year), it’s hard to see the Cubs trading Wells. As for Byrd, he’ll be a free agent after 2012, in which he’ll make $6.5 million at age 34. He was decent in 2011, and would have some trade value. The David DeJesus signing makes the Cubs slightly more flexible in moving Byrd, but obviously they’d rather move Alfonso Soriano.
- The Jose Reyes signing has a number of implications, some of which touch on the Cubs. Among them: Reyes got *paid,* which can only help the market for other big-time free agents, the Marlins will now ask Hanley Ramirez to move positions (but, no, I don’t necessarily expect them to shop him (to the Cubs, for example)), and the Marlins will now even more aggressively look for a starting pitcher – especially one they could pick up on the cheap, like Carlos Zambrano.
- The Marlins are also reportedly going to step up their pursuit of Albert Pujols now, because apparently Reyes is coming complete with a $150 million credit card. If the Marlins somehow pick up Pujols, they’ll look to move first baseman Gaby Sanchez – someone whom the Cubs would call about – and may be more open to moving 3B prospect Matt Dominguez (assuming they don’t move him now that Reyes has pushed Hanley Ramirez to 3B), another kid who could interest the Cubs. Some folks believe Logan Morrison’s long-term future is at first base, too, so he could be another piece they might move. Again, the Cubs would be interested.
- Buster Olney thinks the Mets should be taking offers on third baseman David Wright this week. I’ve made my thoughts on Wright well-known – he’s too expensive (both in salary and in prospects it would take to acquire), has had repeated back troubles, and is not the right age for the Cubs’ prime window of competitiveness – but you can expect the Cubs to at least see what’s up.
- If the Brewers sign Aramis Ramirez, they might look to move third baseman – and former Cub – Casey McGehee. It’s unlikely, but, if that happens, the Cubs could ask about their former cast-off. McGehee, 29, had a brutally bad 2011 season after two straight surprisingly good years in 2009 and 2010. He’s not much of a defender at 3B, though.
- The Yankees have unspecified concerns about Matt Garza. The Miami Marlins have reached out to the Cubs about Garza. A source tells me that Garza, himself, expects to be traded this Winter. That doesn’t necessarily mean a trade will happen, mind you – players are frequently very out of the loop on these things (the last thing a team wants to do is convey to a player that he might be traded, not trade him, and then have a disgruntled player on their hands). It’s just the sense he’s gotten, I’m told.
- George Castle says the Cubs aren’t a good fit for the White Sox, if they choose to trade pitchers John Danks and/or Gavin Floyd. There are rumors that Sox GM Kenny Williams asked the Yankees for the creme de la creme of their prospects in exchange for Danks, so, like, yeah. Not a good fit.
- Lots of generic buzz about the Padres moving Headley this Winter, and about the Rockies moving Ian Stewart soon. Taken together, I’d be surprised if the Cubs’ third base situation doesn’t have more clarity by this time next week.
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