Whew. Big moves are finally happening, and it’s going to take some time to digest. Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson both signed on with the Los Angeles Marlins West this morning, and it’s fair to guess that the floodgates might open soon. In the interim…
- The Wilson deal is just five years, $77.5 million. Look, I understand that the Cubs may not have really wanted him. I understand that he may not have wanted to come to Chicago. But I still feel a bit bummed looking at what, to me, looks like a very reasonable deal that the Cubs could have competed with.
- With Wilson going to the Angels, the Rangers are likely to be even more interested in Matt Garza … and Yu Darvish. The Rangers are still talking to the Cubs about a Garza trade (about which, more later – still gathering info), but may not feel compelled to act until after the Darvish posting process is over.
- Similarly, does the Wilson move make the Marlins more interested in Carlos Zambrano? I’m not so sure. Unless they spend some cash on, for example, a big-time first baseman, I don’t know that I see the impetus for them to pick up a “cheap” starting option like Zambrano. It’s still possible, but I’d wait to see if they spend some money elsewhere. They did, after all, pick up a pitcher in Buehrle.
- As expected, I’m told the Pujols move only strengthens the Cubs’ interest in something they planned to do anyway: go hard after Kendrys Morales, who is now even more likely to be non-tendered by the Angels. Morales, 28, was a good defensive first baseman putting up excellent numbers when he badly broke his leg celebrating a walk-off grand slam with teammates. He had surgery, and then missed the entire 2011 season. He made just about $3 million last year, and, with Pujols, Mark Trumbo, and Bobby Abreu on the team, it’s easy to see why the Angels might let him go…
- …which leads me to this. Although the dual signings of Pujols and Wilson could open the flood gates to other transactions, it’s possible we still won’t see much Cubs movement. I keep hearing, as I heard for over a week (and suggested it here and there where it seemed appropriate), that the Cubs really want to see who is non-tendered before making moves. The deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration-eligible players is Monday. You aren’t going to get any superstars that way, but you can get spot-fillers that might illuminate your others moves. I understand the approach, and, assuming the Cubs don’t miss out on anything in the next few days, I’ll approve of it. And, who knows: perhaps the Cubs would prefer to wait, but they’ll have their hand forced before Monday? Another reason to hold off on anything major in the next few days? The Darvish post.
- So, where does that leave Prince Fielder? No one seems to know for sure. Scott Boras says his client is getting a number of offers, and says he won’t consider anything less than seven years. On the other hand, there are reports that no team is willing to go beyond five years for Fielder. Boras is looking at that Pujols contract and undoubtedly licking his chops. I doubt he signs any time soon. For what it’s worth, another pundit is guessing Fielder ends up with the Cubs. This time it’s Peter Gammons. Again: very for what it’s worth.
- The Diamondbacks are willing to deal prospects to pick up a starting pitcher. Should I call them about Matt Garza, or should you?
- In addition to Yoenis Cespedes, the Cubs are involved in two other Cuban players, both just 19: outfielder Jorge Soler, and pitcher Geraldo Concepcion. Interest in the latter is a bit of an under-the-radar kind of thing, though the youngster is already pitching at the highest level in Cuba, and was the rookie of the year last year. As for Soler, whom some scouts like even more than Cespedes, his price tag may climb to $20 million, which is likely heavily inflated given the CBA international spending restrictions that are set to kick in next year. We’ll talk more about the two 19-year-olds when they are officially free agents – given their age, they’re more “prospects” than true free agent signings to help in the immediate future, like Cespedes (26) or Yu Darvish (25).
- If you were among those pining for Kelly Johnson at second base, be aware: he accepted arbitration last night. He could still be traded, but odds are he’s staying in Toronto.
- For what it’s worth, a source confirms that the Cubs did, indeed, make an offer for Albert Pujols, but not at the $250 million level. Um, ya think? It sounds like the Cubs may have been the “mystery team” all along, but the Pujols camp let folks believe that the Cubs were offering more than they actually had.