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Query whether, in the face of rampant rumors that the Chicago Cubs are looking to unload, obsessing about Prince Fielder’s 2012 destination is a worthwhile endeavor. Given his age – 27 – it remains plausible, if not likely, that the Cubs will consider pursuing Fielder even as they rebuild. And the national pundits continue to list the Cubs among Fielder’s most likely suitors. Is that reflective of information they’ve received from anyone other than Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, though? Hard to know.

Speaking of Mr. Boras, it seems like he’s finding tough sledding in trying to secure a blockbuster contract for his big-time free agent first baseman. Just listen to how hard he’s working to “sell” teams on Fielder.

“When Prince Fielder came to Milwaukee, check out the first year, what they were drawing,” Boras said when asked what was taking so long for Fielder to sign. “Then, when you see that number [2.21 million], see what they’re drawing now in Milwaukee [3.07 million]. And they’ve also got a new [local] TV contract . . . Look at where the franchise was then, and where it is now.

“You absolutely see two factors with superstar sluggers — they bring retention value and attraction value. Retention value — look at [Rickie] Weeks, [Corey] Hart, [Yovani] Gallardo. They all stayed in Milwaukee. When you have that guy in the middle of the lineup, it’s, ‘Oh yeah, I want to play with him.’ Jeff Kent won an MVP hitting behind Barry Bonds. Ryan Braun won an MVP hitting in front of Fielder. That’s the modality.

“. . . [A player like Fielder] gets you the [local] TV contract, he gets you a higher franchise value, your attendance goes up . . . These players pay for themselves. They make you a lot of money. Owners understand that. They reach out to you. Prince is not in any way a normal free agent. Owners will move players off their teams that already occupy positions to get him. Even though they have a player at the position, this is the move to bring in a franchise player.”

I’m not saying Boras is wrong – there are some kernels of truth in that hard sell – but, man, oh man: he’s working hard. And it’s obvious that he’s not seeing the offers that he’d like to see.

And Boras continued, seeming to speak directly to teams like the Mariners and Orioles (and, dare I say, Cubs?), who might not yet be ready to compete, but could be there in a couple years.

“Prince covers all the spectrums. You don’t just have to be a competitive team now [to sign him]. You can be a club that will be competitive in a couple of years. If you sign this player, it will always be a good investment, no matter what position you’re in.”

In other words: Prince and I recognize that the “win now” teams might not be willing to pony up the eight to ten year deal we want, but maybe some of you bottom-feeders can swoop in. It’s about the money, after all.

Boras continued from there, explaining why it is necessary for owners to meet with Fielder before making a final offer, and talking about Fielder’s surprising leadership ability. He’s an agent who always works hard for his clients, but I’m not sure I’ve previously seen such a confluence of (a) a big-time client, (b) a dearth of rumored offers, and (c) Boras publicly extolling the virtues of the big-time client so loudly.

It seems clear that there is a significant disconnect between what Boras thinks Fielder should get in a contract, and what teams are willing to offer. Usually Boras gets one team to step up – it only takes one – but maybe this time is different. Maybe Boras will find that the market stays soft, and no matter how many praises he sings, he’ll have to recommend that Fielder take a shorter-term deal.

  • 2much2say

    Current line up
    1st Baker
    2nd Barney
    SS Castro
    3rd Stewart
    LF Soriano
    CF Byrd
    RF Dejesus
    C Soto
    Garza Dempster Zambrano Wells Jezz Z

    • BetterNews

      No way Baker plays first. Sorry.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        big z plays first before baker

        • BetterNews

          Hi five brother!

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            big z mows the out field, trims the ivy, plays fist when its not his turn in the rotation, and runs a rake over the infield before games=$18M

            • BetterNews

              Hey, you’re starting to sound like me! That could get in trouble, big time.

            • Adolf-Oliver-Bush

              Big Z is underpayed. They should give him a 200 million extension, Hendry style..

              • Adolf-Oliver-Bush

                Use the money they saved by not signing Prince.

    • Mick

      Look out Cardinals, objects in your mirror are closer than they appear!!!

  • CubFan Paul

    the Yankees just signed Andruw Jones to a 1yr /$2MM with $1.4MM in incentives = Soriano’s value on the trade market, $2M-$4M a year ..yikes! at the Cubs eating $42million or more and not getting back a top 15 prospect

  • 2much2say

    With the rebuild in mind, Why not play Soriano at 2nd? What’s the worst thing that could happen? Would be fun to watch, the price of admission just went up.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If the Cubs were trying to tank, it would be pretty entertaining to watch some of the combinations they could throw out there. Of course, the games might never end…

    • Tommy

      Dang, I never thought of that, but that is an awesome idea! Why not put him back at second. Sure, we already know the guy can’t play defense, but if we can get people convinced that he’s a second basemen with power, all of a sudden, we might actually have a market for him!

    • ferrets_bueller

      You’re trying to develop pitchers…having a turnstile between 1st and 2nd is not exactly going to help…

  • 2much2say

    Getting 25 HR’s from 2nd base wouldn’t be that bad a thing either.

    • JasonB

      Not until you consider the comically horrible defense that would be attached.

  • SouthernCub

    Boras: BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH
    GM: No one wants your no fielding, fat ass of a 1B…….the end

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    cant figure out how to put avatar in the box… anyone help

  • SouthernCub

    Ive been trying myself, so anyone w/ knowledge would be much appreciated

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      that makes two of us now … alittle help with the avatar BN? anyone?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Sure thing. BN uses gravatars, so here’s what you do:

        Go to gravatar.com, and set up an account there (gravatar is basically a way to have a picture for your name all over the ‘net). Make sure you use the email address there that you use here when you comment. Once your account is set up, whenever you comment here with that same email address, boom, the picture shows up.

        • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

          your the man brett!

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            dick butkis

        • BetterNews

          Brett, what did you do?(LOL)

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    frustation getting the better of me

  • 2much2say

    If you look at the Cubs Depth chart, Baker is listed behind Pena

    • BetterNews

      I really don’t know why Baker is still with the team, honestly.

      • Lou

        Well, maybe compensation for Theo.

        • BetterNews

          One could only hope. Not that I don’t like Baker as a person, I just don’t like him as a player. There is no way in hell I would give him 200 at bats in a season and take away from other better players!

    • Tommy

      I don’t think the ESPN depth chart or the Chicago Cubs website depth chart has any place in reality. We haven’t even started spring training, yet.

  • scorecard paul

    just trying out the gravatar

  • scorecardpaul

    sorry

  • 2much2say

    Garza to Detroit
    Turner Rizzo Smily Headley to Cubs
    Castellanos Cashner Jackson to Padres

    • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

      So the tigers wouldn’t give up Turner and Castellanos for Gonzalez, who has more team control left, but they will for Garza?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Not sure I like the Cubs’ side of that – it’s essentially Jackson for Rizzo (fair, but meh), Cashner for Headley (I’d probably do that, but it’s very close), and then Garza for just Turner and Smyly. I wouldn’t do that last one, and that’s the key piece.

  • Mike F

    I agree Brett. I have a much better idea, Trade Garza to Detroit and take the best 3 or 4 prospects you can get out of the top 10 to the bank as long as you get Turner and one of the top LHP, who knows maybe two. Then quit making Byrnes rich for a piece he thought so little of to place another prospect in front of. Don’t bail him out. Just say no to Headly if we’re into turning current assets into long term assets, not waste money on a guy like Headly who although a nice player isn’t even Garza level.

    And as after they deal Garza and Byrd they will have cur in excess of 55 M from the payroll why not invest that in Filder, who is a known quantity and can be had on a 4 year deal that looks like whatever. But he’s going to end up with a 100 M for flexibility of the 2nd bite at the apple and everyone knows it. Then you can trade Byrd to Boston in exchange for Michael Bowden and compensation closed. You still have moves you can make, end up with 20-25 M in the bank from previous payroll. And if you really want, you would then be able to lop some of with some of the art eligible players like Soto and Wells who may not fit. Most of all, they’d be in a very good position to go a lot of different ways. People get like a dog with a ball in front of it. All they can see is Rizzo. Theo traded Rizzo for Gaonzalez and now clearly Byre is about to do the same, this isn’t magic and Rizzo is no sure thing, so I wouldn’t clutter what could be a good deal with what everyone claimed they wanted pitching with him.

  • wienke1

    I’m glad to see the baseball execs not falling for Boras’ overhype. To hear that guy talk, you’d think his clients were the only reason for any success of their ball clubs. I know he’s doing his job, but there is just something about that guy in particular that really bothers me.

    I think baseball is finally getting sick of him.

  • Tommy

    6 years @ $23M per. That’s the best I see Fielder getting. And Boras’ act has finally gotten old and the GM’s have finally said enough of overpaying for his clients.

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