Quantcast

As promised, an update on Prince Fielder, a man who – much like Matt Garza – may or may not be a part of the Chicago Cubs’ 2012 team.

And, much like was the case with Matt Garza rumors, it’s important to contextualize everything you hear these days. It may seem one day that it is plainly impossible that Fielder could come to the Cubs, and the next day it could seem almost likely. Rumors – even the most reliably sourced rumors – are merely data points. Fold them into what you know and what you believe, and allow them to shape your expectations at the margins. Give them more power than that, and you’ll only be disappointed when you find out that you – all of us – knew far less than you thought you did.

With that overwrought reminder out of the way, the latest on Prince Fielder…

  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who’d previously pegged the Cubs as the team that would ultimately land Fielder, now saysit’s probably going to be the Nationals. “So, if the Nats once again are negotiating secretly with Boras on Fielder, don’t be surprised. I had pegged the Mariners, Rangers and Cubs as the leading candidates to sign Fielder at the start of the off-season but now am told the Nationals are the favorite to sign him. The MLB official I talked to wasn’t sure the Nationals would go the eight to 10 years that Boras is seeking for Fielder, however. They might prefer to go shorter on the deal but as long as Boras is able to match or exceed the $25.4 million annual salary that Pujols is getting from the Angels, I’m guessing he will be happy.”
  • Nats GM Mike Rizzo recently said, barring “something extraordinary,” Adam LaRoche would be the team’s first baseman in 2012. Many are now speculating that the “something extraordinary” would be the signing of Fielder, itself. In other words, Rizzo might not have been saying anything.
  • Then again, some of the local Washington media is waiting to hear of Fielder interest – let alone “front-runnership” – from a source in the Nationals’ front office before accepting the Nats as a major player. Indeed, were the Nationals to sign Fielder, they’d likely be forced to reach the upper levels of all payrolls in baseball come 2014. Others in Washington don’t want the Nats to pursue Fielder anyway. So, are they really the front-runner? Again: caveat rumor.
  • Ken Rosenthal says some believe Scott Boras is demanding an opt-out clause in Fielder’s contract, which, of course, only benefits Fielder (and Boras). If Fielder performs well for the first three years of an otherwise reasonable seven-year deal, he walks and makes even more money (or threatens to walk to squeeze more money out of his team a la CC Sabathia). If Fielder balloons and stinks, he sticks around for the full length of his suddenly burdensome seven-year deal.
  • One final thought: if Fielder goes to the Nationals, you’re going to hear talk of Adam LaRoche coming to the Cubs (no, not Michael Morse, whom the Nats can play in the outfield). Even if the Nats eat most of his $8 million 2012 salary (and $1 million 2013 buyout), and even if LaRoche is fully healthy, I’m not sure I see why the Cubs would be more inclined to let LaRoche take the job over Bryan LaHair. Don’t get me wrong, a healthy LaRoche is likelier bet for a better 2012 season. But if the Cubs are heading toward non-youthful fall-back options like LaRoche anyway, they might as well just give LaHair a shot.
  • Andrewmoore4isu

    I love this site and blah blah blah but damnit I’m sick of rumors. I want to discuss that moves we have done!!! But no moves. I’m so anxious for the season and a resolution to all my problems…

    • RoughRiider

      What you fail to realize is that the Theo hasn’t done anything this year is because he is busy in his new second roll as GM of the Bears.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        and playing quarter back under the AKA caleb hannie

        • RoughRiider

          Good one. I hope he does better as GM.

  • JR1908

    I bet the Nats are regretting that Werth deal last yr. If it weren’t for that crazy deal I am sure they would have Prince signed already…

  • Stuart Williams

    I’m in the LaHair camp for 1B. As intoxicating as it sounds to sign Fielder and dream of all of those walk-off homers, it won’t make much difference.

    Cub fans are going to have to “detox” themselves from the “quick” fixes. Pitching and defense will win more games in the long run and we will just have to accept the long term small trades and farm system promotions.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      im down with lahair… i think he will be just as good as the rest of the band aids in the infieild. i think he just may shock some people and hit some dingers.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      just may give you what carlos pena did last year at a huge discount…not so hard to believe.
      by the way if anyone hasnt guessed im one of the optamistic, dreaming, every year is our year kind of cub fans.

      • The Other Matt

        I’m guessing he’ll give us more average and less defense. But I am on the Lahair Bandwagon also – if we don’t get Lunchbox.

        • clark addison

          Offensively, LaHair is a better bet than Pena last season. I’d look for as many home runs, better hitting with runners in scoring position, and fewer K’s with nearly as many walks.

          What he gives up is fielding.

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            take the good with the bad right? lets not forget the $

          • Levi

            I don’t think LaHair would walk even close to as much as Pena.

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Brett, heard anything about rich harden? He’s a bounce back candidate that would be cheap and I k ow that’s what theojedepstienhoyer like. Besides of he can strike Everyone out Cuba wouldn’t have to worry about defense

    • RoughRiider

      Is Harden defecting to Cuba ?

      • ferrets_bueller

        lmao!

      • Andrewmoore4isu

        Gimme a break! iPhone changes cubs to cuba!!! But yes all All English people like rich harden defect to Cuba! You didn’t know?!

        • RoughRiider

          He wouldn’t be the first. A lot of planes were hijacked in the late sixties and early seventies. All he would have to do now is go to Canada first and then catch a flight to Havana. He would probably have to change his first name to Vladamir though.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    if he is in fact maybe he would consider taking an interpreter say big z?

  • tex134

    One thing to take into consideration with the Nats, besides the Werth contract that they have to deal with, Zimmerman is going to be due a raise after next year.

  • Robbo

    In regards to the opt-out clause Boras is demanding for Prince…how would draft pick compensation be determined if Fielder were to opt-out after 3 years of a deal? If he signs elsewhere after only 3 years of a 7 year deal because of the opt-out clause would draft pick compensation be required?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If he opts out, he becomes a free agent. From there, if his former team offered a Top 125 contract (a one-year deal worth the average of the top 125 salaries at that time, a prerequisite offer to receiving compensation), yes, they could get compensation. If he’s opting out at that time, you can bet he’d be worth a top 125 salary, so an opt-out would almost certainly result in compensation if he then signed elsewhere.

  • joe

    What about a Derrek Lee Lahair platoon?

    • The Other Matt

      My opinion is no. First, I don’t think Derrek would agree to sign if he knows he’s going to platoon. Second, I say give LaHair a chance. The dude proved himself in AAA, I don’t care how old he is. He might surprise, and it’s not like we’re going to be contending this year.

  • Curt

    Ok Brett all rumors and bs aside any idea who’s on 1st and what you think an opening day line-up might look like, give me yr best guess.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s just too early to give you anything but a totally unreliable guess on either. I believe the outfield is going to change. I believe the first baseman probably isn’t here yet (LaHair’s chance of starting at first on Opening Day is rising, though – maybe 30% now). Just so very much that can change.

  • Mick

    Brett, I think I’ve Jedi mind-tricked you into acquiring LaRoche from Washington if Fielder signs with the Nationals. Now if I can only get you to start writing about getting Lombardozzi in addition to LaRoche for Marlon Byrd, my job will be complete.

    I did have a chance to get my question answered during Bruce Levine’s ESPN live chat today. Here is the thread from the chat…

    Mick (Mpls)

    Have you heard or do you have a gut feeling with what the Cubs’ team payroll number will look like this year?

    Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)

    Right now they’re committed to over $105 million. Last year it was around $131 million. My guess is that it will be about $10 million less than that.
    ——————————————–

    If that’s the case and we do have another $15 million to add to payroll absorbing LaRoche’s contract would be feasible.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      … but I said I don’t want LaRoche … ?

      • Mick

        Brett, (Jedi mind trick hand sweep) we like LaRoche because he’s a serviceable backup incase LaHair falls flat on his face. Also, adding LaRoche’s salary might be the only way the Nationals are willing to give up Lombardozzi. Once we have Lombardozzi than we can trade him or Barney with Brett Jackson/prospect(s) we get in a Garza deal for Anthony Rizzo.

  • rbreeze

    Maybe by the weekend we’ll get some action on the shape of this team.  The Cubs convention is coming up.  They need more than Ian Stewart and DeJesus showing up.  Maybe DeJesus’s wife will make an appearance???

  • fester30

    When you practice responsible journalism by warning us about the nature of rumors and how heartbreaking they can be when one puts too much into them, you take some of the obsession out of the obsessive watches. Can’t you just let us get bloated with excitement that our Cubs will buy a world series in 2012 while simultaneously constructing a basis of talent in the farm system that will bring us world series titles at least 3 times a decade thereafter? If we don’t binge on false hope and fall flat on our lovable faces the day after mathematical elimination, we won’t feel like it’s real. High expectations entering a season are necessary to sustain our identities.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’ve heard the Cubs are signing Fielder, and just traded Alfonso Soriano for Evan Longoria, David Price and Matt Moore!!!1!!lol!!!!

      • ferrets_bueller

        Bahaha! I also heard that we managed to deal Zambrano to Toronto for Brett Lawrie, and a player to be named later to the Angels for Trout!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Cubs just named the player … Tony Campana. Angels have to replace that outfield speed.

    • cubsnivy56

      I’ll feel real good if you tell me we didn’t have to pay Soriano’s salery and stll got the players!

  • Frank

    Question–for those who are saying we should give Lahair a chance at 1B–what do you see in him that makes his chances for success any better than Micah Hoffpauer’s were a few years ago? Honestly, I just don’t see it. Am I missing something?

    • Mick

      The guy led AAA in HR’s last season w/38 and is currently leading the Venezeulan league with at last glance 14. My prediction for LaHair is he’ll lead the Japanese league in HRs in 2013 (after a less than mediocre 2012 campaign with the Cubs).

    • The Other Matt

      Because Hoffpauer had a chance and failed. Tyler Colvin had a chance and failed. Does that mean we should never bring anyone up from AAA to give them a chance?

      • Kyle

        We should only give chances to people who history tells us have a good chance to be worth the chance.

        That means taking the minor league numbers, and adjust them.

        Adjust them down for the transition from AAA to the majors.
        Adjust them down for a hitter’s league.
        Adjust them down for a bad defensive player.
        Adjust them down for a guy who is repeating a league, especially several times over.

        Adjust his numbers properly, and you aren’t left with anything impressive from LaHair.

        • The Other Matt

          So anyone over the age of 22 who plays in the PCL should get no chance to play in the majors. Kyle, I respect your opinion, I just don’t understand the reasoning. I think his numbers last year are more than impressive – and more than enough to get a shot (I know I’ve said that like 5 times).

          Like I said, it’s not like we’ll be very competitive next year, what would it hurt to see if he can produce? I guarantee he hits better than .225 or whatever Pena hit last year.

          For the record, LaHair’s fielding% last year was .992, Pena’s was .993. So it’s not that much of a difference, although I hear the PCL is a fielder’s league, so we’d need to adjust him down for that.

          • Kyle

            Every year above 24 you go, and every year that a player repeats a league, the standards have to get higher for them.

            Again, look at the historical comparisons. LaHair is not the first late-20s guy to post huge, gaudy numbers in the PCL without having shown much previously. History is practically screaming at us what happens when those kinds of guys get their shot: they wash out and end up in Japan. Why not save the intermediate step?

            And do I *really* have to waste the bandwidth to explain that fielding percentage has very little to say about how good of a defensive player someone is?

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          I’ve developed a metric I use from time to time in evaluating prospects that indexes a player against the averages for his own league, weighted appropriately by age. For instance, a player who was young for his league (Marwin Gonzalez, Junior Lake) is slightly rewarded for it while a player who is too old (Bryan LaHair) is slightly punished.

          And on that metric, Bryan LaHair had a heckuva season. Even for the PCL his performance was so far above the league averages that the age penalty didn’t bring him down all that much. In the majors, when a player on a last place team is named MVP it generally means he had a special season. I think the PCL is the same way.

          I get the temptation to write LaHair off into irrelevance because of Murton, Zueleta, and others… but I’m not sure it applies in this case. The scouts say he retooled his swing when he joined up with Von Joshua in Iowa after leaving the Seattle system, and that since he did so his power improved. He was a warning track / doubles hitter with Seattle. He became a legitimate power threat with the Cubs (and his numbers back that up). If that is the case, he could be the exception to the AAAA rule who really does deserve a second shot at the majors.

          I’m not saying he’s the second coming of Babe Ruth by any means… or even the second coming of Carlos Pena… but I think there is plenty of reason to think he could be about league average in the majors. If the Cubs can’t land an elite free agent or swing a deal for some someone like Rizzo, I’d like to see him get another 120-150 starts to see what he can do. If he flames out spectacularly right away, Baker can step in and take over first until another option emerges (Vitters most likely). If he plays like a AAAA guy, then the Cubs can sell him to Japan as soon as another option is ready (again, Vitters). And I’ll admit those are the most likely out comes.

          But the upside is that the Cubs could have a cheap first baseman who could keep the spot warm until one of the kids arrive. Some of the experts seem to think that Vogelbach could be major league ready in 3-4 years (around age 21-22). We’ll get a better idea when he plays in A ball this year. If he does look like a fast-track kind of guy, filling in first base with a league average platoon of LaHair and Baker for a few seasons may not be such a bad idea, depending on how future trade and free agent markets shape up.

          • Kyle

            I’m really having trouble coming up with any realistic scenario in which Vitters ever hits enough to be an MLB 1bman. And I like Josh Vitters a lot.

            If we just want a stopgap, why not find some recently failed prospect who we actually get some value from if they succeed? Even if LaHair doesn’t Zuleta himself out of the league, he walks away after 2012 and we get nothing for having given him his shot.

    • BlueBlood23

      Only difference I can see is LaHair hasn’t officialy been fitted for a Kimono!! He’s nothing but a stop gap cost cutting measure to help us move up in the draft… How’s the 2013 draft class looking anyway Brett??

    • fester30

      My argument is that he’s hitting his baseball prime at 29, hitting everything in sight! As long as he plays for the Cubs, pitchers will go blind with terror whenever he comes to the plate. What’s that? He’s been playing for the Iowa Cubs? Oh. Well nothing I said was untrue for AAA ball. Still… I think if the Cubs can’t find a CLEARLY better option, they should give him a chance to hit a few homers and strike out a few times before he hits his decline.

      • RoughRiider

        Remember Lou Johnson !!!

    • The Other Matt

      I’m not even saying he’s a guaranteed success. But what more does a guy have to do to get an opportunity? Last year he hit .331 with 38 homers and 109 RBIs.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        yes! a stat line like that usually gets a guy a crack at the next level. with a bit of optimism too i might add.

      • Kyle

        He has to not be a 29-year-old bad defensive 1b playing in an extreme hitters league that he’s six years too old for.

        That’s what he has to do get a shot.

        The PCL is the most extreme hitters league in the upper minors. It’s full of bandbox parks. Every year, a few AAAA guys who have no real shot at producing in the majors put up wild numbers there. LaHair hasn’t done anything that Hoffpauir or Zuleta didn’t do down there.

        • The Other Matt

          Ok, so what does he have to do? Hit .490 with 73 HR and 179 RBI?

          • Kyle

            Okay, yeah. If he did that, I’d probably give him a chance.

            But repeating Julio Zuleta’s best AAA hits isn’t enough.

            • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

              we cant take our frustations of not having a great player at first on lahair… thats on the orginazation… and so far they seem content to give him the chance. if the season started tomorrow would you prefer baker at first? believe it or not the depth chart at first is so pathetic i gotta give lahair a great deal of faith that he hasnt shown to be unmerrited

              • Kyle

                Any competent MLB GM should be able to scan the waiver wire in February and come up with a better option at 1b.

                • The Other Matt

                  Like who? Dang did Bryan LaHair give your mom the finger or something?

                  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

                    im quite high on Lahair at first. but i could be swayed to give the job to carlos pena for another year. with that said you could probably guess im not one of the guys pulling for a fielder deal.

                • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

                  true but remains to be seen.

                • Lou

                  Or just realize Soriano’s your #4 or go with a guy who’s solid defensively but gives you less power (Casey Kotchman) since the team Theo currently has constructed is about making less mistakes on the field and not giving the opposition more outs.

                  • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

                    I’d be ok with Kotchman at first for awhile. I like the idea of laying a solid defensive foundation, and then improving the offense without hurting the defense as the opportunities present themselves.

                    But if Soriano is traded, he can’t be the #4, and I still think he’s going to be traded.

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            nice come back! you know what are we talking about here? a stop gap at 1st… or the next big thing? the argument is can he play fist on a rebuilding team and perhaps contribute? no brainer

            • Kyle

              He can’t.

              A rebuilding team should be able to find a young prospect who needs the playing time.

              The MLB free agent is full of stopgaps who are better.

              He’s not a good prospect and he’s not a good stopgap.

          • Lou

            No, he has to hit .270-.280 range, with approx 25-30 HRS, and 80-100 RBIS. And have an OBP above .330. Remember, he’s currently our #4-#5 hitter. Yes, I would say HE HAS TO DO THAT! Yes, yes I would!

  • ty

    good question Frank.. No doubt about the similarities with Micah. Positives may be better contact–did not seem over-whelmed in bigs with breaking pitches–as you may recall would also take off speed pitches to left field–more of a line drive hitter.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      blind optimism in a realm that requires in… the realm of the cubs

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        transition from AAA to the majors is only that transition. to truely see what you got in a player i think the hope is the ability to extend him a good amount of at bats. i think with the amount of experience that lahair has at the minor league level its hard to expect anything more than a transitioning player, i mean its not like the guy is expected to be the next trumbo. we’re simply speculating as to weather or not lahair would work out as a good stop gap at first. and i think there is a possibility to be pleasantly surprised with what we get out of lahair…blind optimism thats me the cub fan, thats what ive learned over years of disappointment.

  • Cubbies4Life

    fester30, I am totally on board with your point of view! Bitter reality just isn’t as much fun as rose-colored, unfounded enthusiasm. Brett, why don’t you just be George and tell us about the rabbits?

  • ty

    O.K Brett Do you think we got enough for prime time Alfonso? .

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Rip-off!

  • Toosh

    Boras referred to Fielder as the “PF Flyer” and said a lot of teams are interested. He also says Jackson’s worth 15-17 million per season. I’m thinking Boras should be referred to as the BS Flyer. Last initial first.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha. Nicely played.

      • Toosh

        Thanks, Brett! I’m ready for the sights and sounds from Spring Training.

  • Lou

    Sorry, Brett, no way does Michael Morse play the OF especially if the Nats sign Fielder. No way. Michael Morse playing OF = Train Wreck!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It may well be. But LaRoche definitely isn’t playing in the OF (or that’s a fair guess, given that he’s never done it in his eight years in the bigs). Morse is at least a possibility there. They aren’t planning on dumping Morse or LaRoche right now, so isn’t it fair to assume they’re planning on playing Morse in the outfield since Rizzo called LaRoche his first baseman?

      • Lou

        True. Rizzo did call LaRoche his 1b, but the Nats execs are meeting with Boras about Fielder. Fielder’s never played OF either. Rizzo can say anything he wants. Realistically, the Nats are looking for another full-time 1b, which could still be Morse. From what I’ve read, LaRoche is pretty banged up and last year’s injury may have shortened his playing career. So, really it’s like everything else in MLB right now—up in the air.

        • Mick

          Lou, Morse played 55 games last season in LF and only made one error so, what do you mean when you said, “no way does Michael Morse play the OF especially if the Nats sign Fielder. No way. Michael Morse playing OF = Train Wreck!”

          C’mon man!

          • ferrets_bueller

            Yeah, that statement is a bit ridiculous.  Morse is pretty much an OF by trade nowadays.  If I’m not mistaken, that was the first time he had ever player 1B.  And it was out of necessity.  Hell, the guy is a former shortstop, lmao!

  • ty

    white Sox have Adam Dunn–$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for now we have LaHair. White sox have Kenny Williams–we have Theo.

  • Can’t come up with a cool name

    I think Theo hired Boras. 15-17 million for Jackson, they should come running after Garza now.

  • Big Joe

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but…the guy hit 38 HRs at AAA, is, what, 28(?), and is cheap. LaHair at 1st, please. Then, go out and find me some pitching, and try to dump a couple of these burdensome contracts. I happen to believe Trumbo will eventually become available. There is your future at 1st, if LaHair doesn’t work out, or if a Rizzo deal never materializes.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      thats what im trying to say joe! can we apply ourselves in areas of greater need. i believe if we abandon the first base issue and go back to the pitching staff, we wont be spinning our wheels as much. further more i think we may be pleasantly surprised with the contributions we get from the practicaly free Lahair

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      its also an issue we can revisit (and will)

  • Frank

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer my question about LaHair and Hoffpauer. I appreciate it.

  • die hard

    Prediction: Cubs trade LaHair to Japanese team for Murton…Murton is 5th OF and PH supreme

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      what and concede baker at 1st?

  • OHBearCub

    I vote for LaHair. I will cheering for him every game. He is better than anyone thinks.

  • die hard

    If Baltimore could scrape together a few shekels, would be tremendous draw and offer competition to Yankees and Red Sox for east coast tv money and he would be only 1 hr from home in Florida….and then he can DH too

  • Puma0821

    If Lahair is having a good year would the Cubs look to trade him at the deadline for specs?

  • OHBearCub

    Put LaHair in left field ànd prince at 1st. Crisp in center DeJesus in right. Trade Crisp at the deadline and bring up Jackson. Put Soriano on the 60 day DL out of camp. Then he can be sold

  • OHBearCub

    Crisp
    Castro
    Lahair
    Fielder
    Soto
    DeJesus
    Stewart
    Barney

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    crisp is off the market to my understanding hes signing with the A’s two year deal something like 14M with incentives. and im looking at your line up trying to figure out where lahair is playing if fielder is on the team?

    • gratefulled

      Loyal, I don’t believe much thought or research went into that prediction.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    Lahair in the outfield? and as for reed johnson, byrd, and soriano?

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+