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A new report suggests that, if free agent first baseman Prince Fielder had his druthers, he would be a Chicago Cub in 2012.

According to Newsday’s Ken Davidoff, Fielder wants to wind up with the Cubs, in part because of his excellent numbers at Wrigley Field (.298/.424/.579 – insert your joke about facing Chicago Cubs pitching), and in part because of the proximity of two airports with direct flights to his home in Florida. You can probably toss in Cubs manager Dale Sveum, Fielder’s hitting coach in Milwaukee, as another reason Prince would like to come to Chicago.

But, of course, Fielder’s desire to come to the Cubs is immaterial if the Cubs aren’t, themselves, willing to pony up a reasonable contract offer. And, even then, Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, will strongly encourage Fielder to take the best available offer, regardless of location.

As for whether the Cubs are pursuing Fielder, Davidoff doesn’t think they are. But Bruce Levine is now reporting, as assertively as he has all Winter, that the Cubs are genuinely interested in Fielder, and are “working very hard under the radar to bring him in.”

Knowing the way Bruce reports rumors, I can say with the utmost confidence that he has been told by a reliable Chicago Cubs source that the Cubs are actively pursuing Prince Fielder. That means one of two things: (1) the Cubs actually are actively pursuing Prince Fielder; or (2) the Cubs want the world to believe they’re actively pursuing Prince Fielder (perhaps to put pressure on a team like the Padres to make a deal for Anthony Rizzo (i.e., “pull the trigger on our offer for Rizzo now, because if we land Fielder, the deal’s off”)). Both are plausible. One is true. Your guess is as good as mine as to which.

As for the ongoing Matt Garza trade saga, and the seeming incongruity between, on the one hand, pursuing a big-time free agent like Prince Fielder, and, on the other hand, trading away one of the team’s best players, Jon Heyman suggests no such incongruity exists. Indeed, Heyman says the Cubs are pursuing Fielder even in the midst of a rebuild, but simply will not go after Fielder “at all costs.”

This squares with something I’ve said since the outset of the offseason: because of Fielder’s age and the lack of a long-term, in-house first base option (and the dearth of top hitters on the market in the next couple years), Fielder could be a part of a quick turnaround rebuild. Trading Matt Garza, with the right return and the right use of the salary saved, could also be a part of a quick turnaround (a year or two) rebuild.

The point is and always has been: signing Fielder is as much about 2013 and beyond as it is about 2014. If the Cubs can get him on a short-term (five-ish years) deal on their terms, they’ll strongly consider it. And, if Fielder is as desirous of coming to the Cubs as it seems, they’d be wise to hold firm to their limited offer.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    but i think your right the nats will pull out the wallet and sign another stupid deal… some teams never learn… and it seems that we just might be starting to see the light ourselves in that respect.

  • J.B. House

    The problem is not Fielder, Jackson or Ryan Madson for that matter .Any team would love to have these players at a reasonable price. The problem is Scott Boras .
    Is it possible GM s have decided that Boras is not going hold them up anymore and that is why there has been seemingly minor play on the 3 players?

    • Tommy

      Good post J.B. House – I think you might be right. Maybe the owners are sick of being held hostage by Boras and his contract demands. I think that it may be possible that they’re finally figuring out across the league that Boras’ clients may be good, but not worth twice or three times the money that you can sign a very, very good player at the same position(s).

      I wonder how long before Boras starts complaining about collusion.

      • Rick Vaughn

        The word collusion jumped into my head halfway through J.B.’s comment. I hope that’s what is going on. It sucks that Prince would be the one to take the financial hit from it, because he seems like a very likable guy. But I would love to see Scott Boras start looking bad. I imagine the Nationals will eventually cave into his demands and it will end up being business as usual, unfortunately.

        I’m just glad that I’m the fan of a big market team who can afford these guys. Imagine yourself as a Brewers fan coming off one of the funnest and memorable seasons of your life to watch. Now you have no shot at retaining your best and most exciting player. Not to mention the fact that your other star player is an apparent cheater who is going to miss 1/3 of the season.

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    I say let the Nationals sign Prince… We sign Pena for a 2yr deal .. Use tue Money for Pitching and sign Solar and Cespedes! Edwin Jackson is there and waiting! Theo should pull the strings and sign him! Rotation , rotation! Garza, Jackson, Zambrano, Wells and I would trade Dempster! Fill a spot with Joe Saunders great rotation!!!

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Oh i for got Travis Wood!!! Then heck yea dump Dempster

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Dempster is expendible!! There’s no way in hell he’s worth 14 mil this year… Anouther dumb Hendry contract

  • die hard

    If Fielder was serious about being a Cub, he needs to man up by firing Boras and doing an Andre Dawson: From the Wiki site:

    [Dawson played for the Expos until after the 1986 season when he became a free agent and sought a team whose home field had natural grass, as his knee injuries were aggravated by Olympic Stadium's artificial turf.[5] However, due to collusion on the part of the Major League Baseball owners, he was unable to attract offers.[6] Dawson campaigned for the Cubs to sign him during the offseason, but general manager Dallas Green resisted, insisting that the Cubs would start Brian Dayett in right field (Dawson had moved from center field to right field in his final two seasons as an Expo, due to the condition of his knees), and that one player could not make a 71-91 team a 91-71 team. When the Cubs opened camp in Mesa, Arizona that spring, Dawson and his agent Dick Moss arrived with a signed blank contract in an attempt to secure a contract with the Cubs. Dawson and Moss’ stunt was derided as a “dog and pony show” by Green. After reviewing the contract, Green reached an agreement with Moss on a salary of $500,000, with a $250,000 in incentives if he made the All-Star team, started in the All-Star Game, and won the NL MVP.]

    I believe Dawson collected the extra $250K

  • Oliver dehart

    Don’t sign Fielder.
    Take 25mm and sign 3 or 4 or 5 frontline
    Pitchers/players.
    Seems like a no brained to me.

    • BetterNews

      Don’t mean to be smart, but how do you sign 4 or 5 frontline pitchers for 25 mil, and who might they be?

  • Ur Dad

    diehard

    With all due respect you can’t draw a comparison between a 1986 contract and one in 2012. I wish that you were right and that some degree of sanity would reenter major league baseball but those days are gone. Just as a matter of reference how much were we paying for a gallon of gas then, or more relevantly how much was admission for a Cubs game and the price of a beer that you would drink at the game?

    It is what it is.

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