So much for the Chicago Cubs’ lack of money – which nobody really believed anyway.
According to CBS’s Jon Heyman, the Chicago Cubs are “definitely in [the] mix for [P]rince [Fielder” (Twitter has been a boon to the bracket industry). Ah, that “definitely” word again. Heyman notes that Fielder’s age, 27, makes him much more attractive to the Cubs than Albert Pujols, and notes that Fielder fills a number of holes for the Cubs, including first base, the cleanup spot, and power from the left side.
Heyman’s report comports with what I’ve heard about the Cubs’ interest, though I’d caution that I still doubt the Cubs would be willing to make an offer to Fielder for more than six years at the absolute longest – and it’s easy to see another team being willing to add on that seventh (or eighth) year. As they did with Pujols, I’d imagine the Cubs would prefer to make Fielder a shorter-term, higher annual dollar offer. Six years and $150 million seems about right, if not a bit high – but you will necessarily pay a premium for the kind of big bat that comes along only once every few years (if that).
Among those possible teams competing with the Cubs for Fielder’s services, according to Heyman’s colleague, Danny Knobler, are the Mariners, Blue Jays, Nationals, Orioles, and Marlins. Bruce Levine adds, “surprisingly,” the Dodgers to the mix. The Dodgers tendered embattled first baseman James Loney yesterday, and, given the team’s finances, “surprisingly” is the right word.
Both Levine and Knobler add the Rangers, but their involvement remains the subject of insider debate. Team president Nolan Ryan seemed to deny that the Rangers would have interest in Fielder last week at the Winter Meetings, and sources suggest the Rangers would prefer to add pitching with whatever dollars they have left to spend this Winter.
From the list of possible competitors for Fielder’s services, however, you can cross off Fielder’s former team, the Brewers. Yesterday’s signing of Aramis Ramirez took the Brewers out of the market for any other big money free agents (reliever Francisco Rodriguez’s acceptance of arbitration didn’t help, if I may be so bold), including Fielder, says GM Bob Melvin.
While we’re ruling teams out, Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak said it was a “safe assumption” that the Cardinals will not be bidding on Prince Fielder.