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The tight lips of the Chicago Cubs front office is undoubtedly causing reporters fits – hence the continuously conflicting reports about the Cubs’ offseason plans. And nowhere is that tension more obvious than in the Cubs’ pursuit – er, non-pursuit – of Prince Fielder.

  • Ken Rosenthal is the latest national writer to suggest that the Cubs are in the catbird seat with respect to Fielder’s services. Rosenthal calls the Cubs “the front-runners” to land Fielder, and says the Rangers and Marlins aren’t going to bid on Fielder, and calls the Orioles an unattractive landing spot. He believes the only other two possible contenders are the Mariners, whom Rosenthal also doesn’t think are attractive, and the Nationals, who might not actually bid.
  • But, in the interest of keeping us as cynical as possible, and things as confusing as possible, Phil Rogers and Nick Cafardo each suggested last night that the Cubs aren’t even in the Fielder race, let alone at the top of the board. Notable on Cafardo’s explanation (no money) – Peter Gammons, also a Boston media personality, was the first to suggest the Cubs would be out on Fielder because of a lack of money. Coincidence that the same story is coming from two members of the Boston media? Maybe. More likely? They’ve got the same source (or their two sources have the same source), presumably a legacy member of Theo Epstein’s former staff. How well apprised do you think Theo keeps his former office-mates about the Cubs’ dealings? I’m thinking not very. If the Cubs end up “out” on Fielder it will be because they felt a winning contract would require an unreasonable commitment, not that the team “doesn’t have the money.”
  • Jon Heyman says Prince Fielder loves Chicago and loves hitting at Wrigley Field, and Heyman puts the Cubs as the second most likely team to land Fielder, behind the Rangers (who, again, Ken Rosenthal says are out).
  • The Cubs’ rumored pursuit of Fielder is also being picked up by Carrie Muskat and on Cubs.com. Here’s the thing on that: Carrie is simply reporting what other folks are saying in the media (namely the Jerry Crasnick report from yesterday and the Jon Heyman report above), so it’s not as if this is another block of wood on the fire, in terms of the substance of her reports. But it is a block of wood on the fire in terms of its mere existence. That is to say: whether Carrie knows something she can’t say or not, these kind of outside-sourced rumors don’t tend to show up in her reporting or on Cubs.com unless there’s some meat there. Cubs.com is not a rumor site.
  • Dave Kaplan says Prince Fielder would be wise to sign on with the Cubs, even if it meant a little less money or fewer years – because Fielder could become a star in Chicago. I suppose that’s true, but if the choice is five years and $125 million with the Cubs, or eight years and $200 million with the Mariners, can Fielder really make up that extra $75 million between a second contract and “being a star” in Chicago? Endorsements for guys like Fielder aren’t quite as lucrative as a simple, big ‘ole baseball contract. If it’s about the money, Fielder might end up being wiser to go elsewhere.
  • The Sporting News also calls the Cubs the favorite to land Fielder, for all the reasons you’ve already heard (need, money available, etc.).
  • In terms of the contract, Rosenthal notes that Scott Boras is demanding 10 years, but might settle for a six or seven-year deal with a higher annual value than Albert Pujols got ($25.4 million). Either way, Rosenthal cites a source who tells him Boras will want an opt-out clause built in.
  • john

    Name 3 players besides the obvious we should target? Not 1st if we get Fielder not 2nd SS 3rd Not LF Crisp/Soriano Not CF Byrd/ Cespedes Not RF Dejesus. So, just pitching right?
    Darvish out of control Kurado? Saunders? Who? What prospects are we willing to give?

    • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

      1B Brandon Belt
      2B Hiroyuki Nakajima
      SP Chris Volstad

      You’d have to trade for each of those guys, and they may not be available, but they might be available without having to give up prospects we’d want later, especially the latter two.

    • Bluekoolaidaholic

      Saunders, hands down!

      • Rick Vaughn

        The sad thing is, even Joe Saunders is going to get a big payday. Lots of teams are in on him.

    • Rick Vaughn

      Rich Harden and Joel Zumaya

  • john

    Now if we don’t land any free agent. Time to panic!

    • die hard

      DeJesus was FA

  • john

    The end of the Mayan Cal has to do with the death of the god of creation and war. Misinterpreted to mean end of world

  • john

    NY Post doesn’t say the Bluejays were the winners just that they had a strong bid. Multiple sources? One guy tells another guy and next thing you know it’s news not rumors.

  • john

    Every established Ace is making 20 mil plus. If Darvish is a true Ace
    7 years 140 mil is a bargain. So it wouldn’t be out of line to bid 60 mil plus
    See Sabathia King Felix Zambrano

  • john

    Initial reports that bid was sky high. Is 40 to 50 mil Sky high? 60 mil plus would be sky high

  • john

    By the way Sveum said the Cubs had no contact with Fielder. What about Boras?

  • Hrubes20

    That was one hell of a run you just finished there, John.

    • john

      I had a Brain Shart

  • jim

    Yep, like grant v lee in civil war. Cubs will have biggest wallet in nl central after next season.
    Only jocketty stands in way.

  • die hard

    3 player trade in works?….Orioles’ Jones to Cubs, Garza to Marlins, Marlins’ Ramirez to Orioles.. ..

    • EQ76

      not a bad trade idea.. I’d still rather see some young pitching return in a garza deal though.

    • john

      No word on trade anywhere? Where are you looking? Your dreams and why not take ramirez straight up for Garza?

      • Toosh

        Die Hard likes to make stuff up, hoping for reactions.

        • die hard

          all 3 are on the market……the destination teams need the skills of the subject player…how do you think a GM comes up with a deal?…they brainstorm like this….then they make the call …..what are rumors worth?…nada…we dont find out about a trade until afterwards….. Cubs front office reads BN……For instance, kept Listach to coach 3B which was first proposed here….we can brainstorm as well as or better than any GM….why not make this deal?…players of equal value make good trades…

          • Pakman23

            Why would we acquire another outfielder? We have four already. Also Jones ops and Soriano’s were only .025 apart, why not keep Garza and just play Soriano.

          • Rick Vaughn

            Well, since they’re obviously reading this, let’s help them out.

            Castro has a good arm, middle relief maybe? Byrd got hit in the face and probably needs to wear a facemask, so I think catcher is in the cards for him. My wife has a crush on Kerry Wood, so she’d like to see him everyday, Maybe he can play 3rd base? And I had a wicked knuckleball back in the day….I think we found our opening day starter. I won’t come cheap though.

            Just brainstorming.

            • die hard

              serious posters only

              • Toosh

                You might consider taking your own advice.

                • die hard

                  always serious….

                  • Toosh

                    Yet most people don’t take you seriously. Ironic.

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

              Well played Rick, you just left out Dick Tidrow as the sole outfielder, GM, and manager/closer

              • die hard

                If Tidrow was GM, Cubs wouldnt be in the mess they are in now under new front office

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Haha. Nicely done, Mr. Vaughn.

            • Bluekoolaidaholic

              Wild Thing
              You make my heart sing!
              Bring it!
              Any 100 mph fastball is worth the big dough!

      • die hard

        cant use Ramirez any more…unless Castro moved to OF where he belongs…or ,or ,or how about Castro to 1B and Ramirez at SS..or vice versa?

  • Jesse

    According to Cubs.com, Dave Sveum denied that the Cubs have reached out to Prince. If they were truly interested, why would he lead us to believe differently?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      To answer your question in a literal way, he would do it because it enhances the Cubs’ bargaining position. But the real reason could be any number of things. He might not yet be in the loop. He may have been told to avoid discussing a guy he obviously wants on the Cubs. He could be speaking very plainly – the Cubs haven’t reached out to Prince … because they’re talking to his agent.

  • Jesse

    Yes John, but Theo said from the beginning that the manager would have a say in all player movement.

    • JM

      Because that is not the way these things are typically done, especially if Theo is trying to avoid the situation turning into a zoo before he’s ready, not to mention manage expectations in the meantime. Sveum is being a good little soldier right now and doing whatever Cubs HQ is telling him to do. I consider him a total non-source. We might as well be trying to get answers from Ryan Dempster.

      And anyhow, it wasn’t that long ago that the Angels said they only had 10-15MM to spend. Why would have said that if they were truly in on Pujols? Why would they have wanted to lead their fans to believe differently? Probably because it was in their best interests to do so. Same thing here.

    • JM

      He certainly has a say, but I guarantee it’s not a very loud or meaningful one.

      • Bluekoolaidaholic

        And my uncle would be my aunt if it weren’t for certain appendages.

        Get a letter in to “Fat Chance” (no pun intended) on the amount of say that Sveum has.

  • Dustin

    The Cubs are at a fork in the road with Prince. If they don’t make a serious run for him…and then especially if they also trade Garza, this team is officially in rebuilding mode. Teams never like to admit it since that would hurt ticket sales. I’m fine with going rebuilding mode, just do one or the other. So far we’ve just gone from Ramirez to Stewart and not a whole lot more.

    Personally I’d love to see them get Fielder even though it’d cost a fortune (even after the Soriano debacle), to at least have a big bat to build around and have some hope to be in the running for the division for the next few years.

    • die hard

      As Yogi Berra said “when you come to a fork in the road, take it…”

  • john

    Having a say in player movement maybe but incoming free agents nope.

  • john

    Hey Sveum, we’re thinking of trading Garza for Adam Jones in a 3 way
    Sveum: 3 way sounds interesting

  • Derek

    I think the cubs should sign Fielder of course and then add maybe 2 cheap starters maybe Kuroda and Edwin Jackson. Im thinking youll be paying about 20 million a year for Prince and about 7 a piece for the pitchers. Remeber Jackson can be a work horse and Kuroda had his best ERA last season so maybe they are figureing things out. We cant just sit still when everyone around us is doing something. Prospects are great but we need someone proven. Get a good team then work in the prospects and then we will have a world championship. I also think if we have a chance get the cuban center fielder but as of right now the Cubs have way to many outfielders anyway.

    • Toosh

      Those players will want more than those numbers.

    • Rick Vaughn

      It sounds like Kuroda is looking for 12 million. With so little available for pitching, he’ll probably get it. It’s just a bad year to try rebuilding through free agency. If they pass on Prince, I just don’t see how this team gets any better without giving up prospects in trades.

  • Derek

    It looks like after Yu goes more teams are going to be looking to trade for starting pitchers. I just hope we dont give up Garza because if we do i can see our starting staff all having 4+ era’s. Whats anyone thoughts about signing Roy Oswalt to a incentive laddened contract

  • Mike F

    I like Jackson, but his agent Scott Boras will get him more in the 10-14M a year range. Kuroda has enough demand he’s likely going to one something in the 10 M 1 year or slightly more. Finally, Prince Fielder will likely sign a deal that looks like an 7-8 year deal, but in fact is 3 years with an opt out so he can get another bite at the apple at 30. That’s not to say if someone is dumb enough to offer him 260M for 10 years he won’t take it. If the Cubs indeed bring to close in a quick deal, it will be what appears a 6 or 7 year deal, but there will be an opt out at 4 or 5 best case for the Cubs. Money will be at least average of 25M per year in that case.

    The Garza thing still to me, defies logic. If indeed you’re going to trade Garza, then you have to trade Marmol. Marmol’s value to someone else is more than to the Cubs. And Blunlty, while the Texas trade is a nice trade if they give that up, to me, it’s not remotely close to those prospects being a “certainty”. And finally, if indeed we want to rebuild, why the hell do we need to overpay Dempster. He’s a good back end at best 3, but a team that has him in the front end of the rotation is a team with trouble. I think Theo is great, and I’m not criticizing him here, there are a few quality free agents and 30 teams competing to get better. So I understand, but it’s going to be more difficult to add pitching than he has sold. And no Wakefield is not what anyone was thinking about when he talked about pitching.

    If the Cubs want pitching, they will have to draft and overpay for it in free agency. Wrigley has a reputation, even if wrongly for being a cracker box and hole, especially for pitchers. I understand the mechanics of dumping Garza, but unless he’s mentally unbalanced or has arm trouble, dumping him to dump him in the name of prospects is not what people signed up for and wrong headed.

  • Oswego Chris

    ESPN SAYING CUBS NEGOTIATING WITH PAUL MAHOLM

    • Rick Vaughn

      MLBTR reporting it too. Not the worst idea. Wonder how much. 3 years, 20 million?

  • kinhin

    Liking the move for Maholm.

    • Rick Vaughn

      Same here. It’s been a quiet offseason for him.

  • jrod

    Looks like the cubs mite be close to geting paul maholm. He’d be a nice pickup for us. We need a lefty starter

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