Friday Free-For-All

The flow of rumors is down to a drip as we near the Christmas break. Yet the Cubs are without a first basemen or much of a starting staff and still employ Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. There is still work to be done JedStein.

- Early in the day yesterday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that "there were signs today (I can't say precisely what) to indicate the Cubs are stepping up their pursuit of Prince Fielder." Four hours later Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, claimed the "Cubs are not major players for Prince Fielder. Not ready to spend big." I hate when my baseless rumors contradict. WHO AM I TO BELIEVE?!?!?!?!

If there's any truth to Cafardo's report, hard to see the Cubs being in on Yu Darvish either. One recent rumor regarding Pince Fielder was that he was seeking a 10-year deal, which after seeing Albert Pujols get one and being younger makes sense to ask. Whether anyone will give it to him is the real story, but it wouldn't be the worst idea for an A.L. team. For the Cubs or any other N.L. team, that would be a hard one to justify unless there's something we don't know about the DH coming to both leagues, but unlikely that could even happen before the newest CBA ends in 5 years. Otherwise, you would think the Cubs would want some sort of guarantees for the later years (maybe vesting options) or to front-load the contract so to make Fielder easier to move on the back-end of the deal if they decide to take that plunge.

- Speaking of Darvish, we do know the Cubs submitted a bid and that the Rangers, Blue Jays and Yankees did as well and there may be a few more teams involved. One rumor was that one of the bids was north of $50M and another rumor was that the Blue Jays offer was "sky high". It appears we won't know the winner until Tuesday and then it's still 30 days for the a contract to be negotiated with Darvish. I have to say I'm a bit skeptical about throwing $100M at Darvish (posting fee and 6 year contract). Hopefully I'm overestimating the cost, but paying nearly $17M a year on average doesn't sound like it's really building from the ground up and you always have to worry about a pitcher's arm blowing out. On top of that, I don't know how sure you can be that Darvish will be as good as advertised. I think after a decade and a half of Japanese players coming over the majors, it's pretty clear there's a big difference in the level of competition. Maybe Darvish bucks that trend and can make as much as an impact as Ichiro, but I'd sure worry he ends up more like Dice-K. That wouldn't be terrible, but it would be disappointing.

 

Enjoy the weekend!

(Thanks to Tim for the illustration, click on the image for the full size)

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Comments

Here in Knoxville, a former Matt Spencer high school teammate notes that Spencer is being looked at now by the Cubs as a pitching prospect. He pitched in h.s. & college. The "tutor" who worked with Spencer in winter prior to his high school senior season was D. Balsley -Padres' pitching coach. Spencer's coach at Arizona State, Pat Murphy, is now a Padres' minor league manager. Likelihood Spencer, 6'5", LHP, who throws in mid-90's, becomes the "compensation" Cubs owe Padres for Hoyer deal? Just a thought being circulated here.

thanks for the awesome info...

Fri, 12/16/2011 - 7:49am — Justin Tyme

Here in Knoxville, a former Matt Spencer high school teammate notes that Spencer is being looked at now by the Cubs as a pitching prospect. He pitched in h.s. & college. The "tutor" who worked with Spencer in winter prior to his high school senior season was D. Balsley -Padres' pitching coach. Spencer's coach at Arizona State, Pat Murphy, is now a Padres' minor league manager. Likelihood Spencer, 6'5", LHP, who throws in mid-90's, becomes the "compensation" Cubs owe Padres for Hoyer deal? Just a thought being circulated here.

=======================

JUSTIN T: I wrote about Matt Spencer's conversion to pitcher in my reports from AZ Instructs this past September and October.

He was throwing in the mid-90's at Instructs but had a LOT of difficulty throwing strikes.

Spencer was a two-way player (LHP-OF) in HS and at the U. of North Carolina prior to transferring to Arizona State, but he did not pitch at ASU.

AT AZ INSTRUCTS:
MATT SPENCER, LHP
Age 25
2007 DRAFT - 3rd round (by Philadelphia Phillies)
Traded to Cubs from OAK in multi-player deal in January 2010
Ex-OF - Converted to LHP at 2011 INSTRUCTS
2011 INSTRUCTS:
7.36 ERA
2.18 WHIP
.214 OppBA
3 GAMES
3.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 5 BB, 4 K, 5 WP

Wrongway sez...

ChiTribRogers Phil Rogers
Reports are saying that Blue Jays have won Yu Darvish bidding. Most think the bid was more than the $51 mil for Daisuke.

NY Post sez...

Having made a posting bid above $40 million and possibly close to $50 million, the Blue Jays are the favorites to land the negotiating rights to Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish.
There is a belief the Cubs also made a large bid on the right-hander but a number hasn’t been attached to their bid.

http://tinyurl.com/6m5zpem

Jim Bowden sez...

multiple sources cooberating the NY Post Report that the Blue Jays won the bidding for Yu Darvish...they have until Tues to complete a deal

cooberating

Lol. Sports writing fail.

I don't like massive long term contracts for pitchers. As the post says, they can blow their arm out, and they often do. Any general manager or general manager team that spends that kind of money, on an unproven commodity no less, really deserves whatever happens to them career-wise.

Save the money for Prince.

Prince!

I find it interesting that, with all things considered, this is the slowest FA offseason I can remember with the highest percentage of deals being just b and c-level talent changing teams.

A HUGE difference than the Hendry 2007 spending spree era.

Very interesting that 4 years later (other than Albert, Prince, Buhrle, one or two others), MLB teams are doing things differently financially - particularly in the larger markets.

Seems to me, without providing any evidence, that teams are locking up guys they want to keep more often. There just doesn't seem to be all that much out there the last few years. This is just a gut reaction, I sure am not going to research the facts here. But if the Cubs do acquire Fielder, does that suddenly make it a banner FA year? Methinks so.

Yes, I think it does.

Rotoworld blurbs:

Rosenthal "reading the tea leaves" believes Cubs are the favorites for Prince. And that Rangers will step up efforts to trade for a starter after missing out on Darvish.

HEre is the link for Rosenthal's piece, "Fielder is Cub's to Lose" or something like that, ROB refers to:

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/chicago-cu...

I hate journalistic tea leaves.

From Fielder's standpoint, I think it's really almost a no brainer, assuming you have confidence in yourself and your ability to stay in good shape. Despite his "body type" the guy hasn't been hurt much, so he must be in decent shape. For one thing, the name. Prince would be Prince of Chicago if he brought a title to this town. The merchandising, sponsorship, and commercial opportunities would completely offset anything he gives up on number of years. If he signed a six year deal, and stayed healthy, he would still have an opportunity for another mega contract.

If he was part of a World Series team, he would have star power that would reach Jordanesque proportions. He seems like a fairly low key guy, though, so would he even want that? If he's at all interested in the heavy duty ancillary income that would come along with being Prince of Chicago, he'll probably sign here. If he wants to remain low key, he'll look for 10 years somewhere else.

I feel like Fielder and Garza would get along well, for some reason, and they could easily form the center of a relatively young Cubs core, with Castro as the up-and-comer.

FWIW Dan Patrick says Fielder is down to two teams Cubs and Mariners.

I'm having a hard time believing the Cubs come away from this without Fielder, unless the Mariners give him three more years than the Cubs are willing to. Especially if the Cubs' bid for Darvish was less than the Blue Jays' bid.

That comment teases an interesting point on negotiation. Obviously everyone knows what Boras does. But if it's truly the Cubs v. a bunch of teams that Prince wants nothing to do with, then this is the first major test for EpHoy not to overpay. Based on the various comments and editorials, I'd say a 7-year max window, and if they can get the price well south of $25M per, then it's going to be a big win.

It seems unreasonable that the Cubs have to offer as much as Seattle or any of the other rumored teams. It's a major-market franchise, in the division he's always known. Chicago is a world-class city, and over the course of the contract, he knows he will be surrounded by other superstars.

If the Cubs miss Fielder and he goes to the AL, it's not a devastating blow, and it could end up being a blessing in disguise. So that's how Theo Co. needs to play it to Boras. You can have 7 years at $22.5M per, or 6 at $25.5M per. Final offer. Tell Prince it's on the table. Either take it, or buy a bunch of umbrellas.

Tell Prince it's on the table. Either take it, or buy a bunch of umbrellas.
---

http://yz.totes-isotoner.com/to/rsmbmrn/rsmbm...

"It seems unreasonable that the Cubs have to offer as much as Seattle or any of the other rumored teams."

you'd be surprised...or not...how much more money matters than anything to many players.

fwiw, cj wilson gave ANA a deal on years and money per year...not a lot of those guys left...and from a clubhouse view he's a bossy jerk. go figure...personalities.

griffey jr. decided to be nice...gave CIN a killer deal...2 years later the fans turned on him.

also fwiw, i dunno what's important to fielder.

Neither do I.

All I'm saying is, if money's the thing, let someone else have it. But considering the suitors, what if a good situation and a ton of money is better than a bad one with a little extra dough? Further, the Cubs are in a position either where it's a good investment for the next 5 years, but you don't have to have him because 2012 is likely a wash anyways.

So you roll the dice and make him say, I'm taking less to come here. That way, only one of two possible outcomes exists: The Cubs get Fielder on a good bargain deal, or they miss him because the contract he got was outrageous. The first one's a win, the second one is not a loss. So that's how I'd roll in there.

The key test for EpHoy: Just don't let their best player beat you. And in the case of Team Prince, the best player is clearly the agent.

Great couple of posts

I loves me some Chicago too, but we can't make so many assumptions about what Prince is looking for. If he's wants low key, Seattle would be a better place. They have a really nice park, the fans are loyal but casual and the city supports vegan diets (ie lot's of hippies).

And Fielder does love to eat him some vegans

Personally, I love a good acorn-fed vegan. Very earthy, nutty taste. They tend to be poorly-marbled though (with the obvious exception of Fielder, himself).

Silence of the Acorns?

Oh wait, is he a great, big fat person?

Now that TRN is gone, we'll miss out on all of his awesome nicknames.

We really need Prince just to replace Hendry just for these easy fat jokes.

Sullivan tweet...

@PWSullivan

Sveum sez Cubs have had no conversations with Prince.

Fri, 12/16/2011 - 11:49am — Cubster

Sullivan tweet...

@PWSullivan

Sveum sez Cubs have had no conversations with Prince.

=============================

CUBSTER: The Cubs probably haven't talked to Prince (directly), but I would bet they've talked a lot with his agent (Scott Boras).

@PWSullivan...Sveum sez
---
and Paul Sullivan probably got his sources from Wrongway Phil Rogers.

(I don't think Sullivan likes his job anymore, ever since he stopped getting his jollies from bashing Milton Bradley)

I mean Cubs...

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...

Sveum (manager), Bosio (pitching), Listach(3B), Dave McKay(1B), Quirk (Bench), Jamarillo (Hitting), Strode (bullpen)

Mike Borzello and Franklin Font also will serve as Major League staff assistants. Borzello will work with the catchers and be involved in advance scouting, while Font, who was the Cubs' Minor League infield coordinator, will assist Jaramillo.

McKay comes from the Cardinals apparently.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers...

He even remains diplomatic about the fact that two new managers, the Cardinals' Matheny and the White Sox' Robin Ventura, had no major league experience as a manager or even as a coach.

"We just saw some hirings of guys who hadn't been [managing] in the major leagues at all -- hadn't coached or anything," Sandberg said. "I don't think there's any necessary criteria other than being the right person at the right spot. I think people hire who they're comfortable with and who they feel is right for the job."

classy mofos are classy.

someone posted this on the link after the Carrie Muskat article on the new Cubs coaching staff...

The Score is reporting that the Cubs have been in talks with the Rays concerning Sean Rodriguez.

So a light hitting, plus glove utility infielder? I remember the smell when Hendry kept collecting second basemen.

Some useful blog analysis on SR...

http://dockoftherays.com/2011/03/17/applying-...

I liked Rodriguez coming up the Angels system and I thought the Rays did well getting him in that Kazmir dump.

Strikeout rate though is too high. But another guy that takes pitches (3.90 average in the majors) and at the right age.

scouting report from 2008 from Goldstein:
Year In Review: Riding high after last year's breakout season, Rodriguez came down a good bit with a disappointing showing at Double-A.
The Good: Rodriguez is a well-rounded talent. He shows a patient approach and has average power. While not flashy, he's a fundamentally sound defender with soft hands and an accurate arm. He's player occasionally in center field, and surprised scouts with his instincts in the outfield.
The Bad: Rodriguez does many things at an acceptable level, but nothing exceedingly well. He's prone to strikeouts due to a loopy swing, and will probably always have a high strikeout total. Defensively, he's not especially rangy, nor is his arm exceptionally strong.
Fun Fact: The minor leagues have an inordinate number of night games due to attendance concerns, but in 17 day contests, Rodriguez hit .379/.453/.591.
Perfect World Projection: An average starting shortstop who might have more value as an outstanding utility player.
Timetable: Rodriguez is slated to start the year at Triple-A, though it's hard to figure out how he fits into the Angels' immediate plans from there.

i was about to ask where the hell he got that scouting report...then i noticed 2008.

if the cubs want a free-swinging 15-HR power K machine...sean rodriguez is their guy.

fwiw, i'd rather have him at 2nd over any in-house options...you gotta bury the guy in the lineup unless you want 150K-ish out of the 1/2 slot, though. =p

This is the biggest Cubs season of "meh" and "wtf" I have seen since the crap teams of the 80's and 90's.

Jim Bullinger, anyone?

I mean, Stewart? DeJesus? Bianci? "talking to" ex-downward spiral position players-turned-pitchers - Matt Spencer, Tim Wakefield, 39 year old Varitek? Sean Rodriguez? Geez - what's next? Matt Stairs II

80% of the photo is ears...

http://tinyurl.com/dyhbmpf

So I guess the hiring of Theo doesn't qualify as exciting off-season news.

check back on the issue march...or if they sign fielder...

Yeah, not great, but I'd rather have his 2.4 WAR at 2B than Barney's 0.9, and Rodriguez is just one year older and they make basically the same $ too.

how in the hell did he earn a 2.4 WAR doing the crap he did last year?

as far as * go on WAR, i'd toss right the hell out when trying to figure out the dude's value. ...especially considering he's nearly useless against righties except for some pop.

played 5 positions last year (1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF) and has played CF and RF in prior seasons.

.268 BABIP last year as well...

believe Rays said him and Brignac would compete/split time for starting SS, so don't think he'll be that cheap in a trade. and as mentioned, has some extreme splits...

Rodriguez also the support of a key member in the organization. When speaking about the 26-year-old infielder, Rays’ Manager Joe Maddon said “Sean Rodriguez is a baseball player.” Expanding on the obvious, Maddon added “He (Rodriguez) is a throwback in every sense of the word. He could have played in any decade, any era. He’s kind of unique with today’s baseball player.” “You need him” said Maddon.

http://www.espnflorida.com/insider-sean-rodri...

"Ken_Rosenthal Sources: SPs still on #Reds' wish list include Gio, Latos, Jurrjens. Garza too expensive. Danks less attractive entering FA year. "

bad day for rumors.

we get "cubs arent talking to fielder" (and i hope that's just wordplay/distraction cuz they're actually talking to his agent).

...and garza is supposedly still being shopped.

at least we also got a "cubs and SEA are the main players for fielder" rumor, too.

i don't want to go into 2012 pretending this is the san diego padres...and it's not like the 2013 FA market is stud-central...hell, unless josh hamilton decides he's bored with TEX and his handlers he's one of the few power bats available...and he's a bit old...and will probably get "fielder money" even if he wont get the years.

I would NOT have read that as Garza being shopped but as the reds inquiring about Garza and being given an unreasonably high asking price. Read: we're keeping him unless you totally blow us out of the water with an offer.

true that.

i just hope if the braintrust is going to punt this year (i can't even fathom that, still) they at least hang on to the good SP who isn't even 30 yet....especially with dumpster/Z gone soon. when you're building a core you got to start somewhere.

bonds gets 2 years probation, 30 days of home confinement, 250 hours of community service, and must pay a $4,000 fine.

lol, drugs.

$4K should take care of about 1 hour of that whole trial process. neat.

Radio said he's being confined to his 2 acre, 15000 SF Beverly Hills home. Rough

Shades of Cal Eldred

Former Cub farmhand with hopefully not a screw loose...Al Alburquerque has undergone surgery to have a screw inserted into his pitching elbow to repair a non-displaced stress fracture.

https://twitter.com//DKnobler/status/14774615...

Whatever you do, don't tell Prince "it's on the table." He'll eat it.

LaHair with a good game at the plate yesterday in Venezuela, first in a while: homer, double and three walks in three ABs.

CCO tweets...
http://twitter.com/thecco

Ben Cherington on XM Radio re:Epstein compensation,seriously should be completed this off-season.Both sides been tied up other matters

Ben Cherington on XM Radio re: Epstein compensation, the two sides should have worked out in next 15-20 years.

Woofer (33 yrs ago this was called twitter)...

70 yr old GM's Hoy-stein and Cherrington agree to compensation for the Cubs for acquiring Theo Epstein before his contract ran out. The Red Sox will receive one of Epstein's 16 World Series rings although the first ring from 2013 will not be involved the compensation package.

Catch the first Cubs world series on your eye-phone. Just tell Siri what you want to watch, close your eyes, and enjoy. Your brain chip will activate the game in nanoseconds.

hahah. awesome.

this was predicted in Back to the Future 8, if you remember.

I missed back to the future 8 although episode 9 was awesome!

I haven't eaten since later this afternoon

I already knew that.

Not looking to get banned myself, but anyone else miss TRN? It was a much more corrosive, argumentative atmosphere with him. Arguments are good, if they don't go too far. Rob, is that a lifetime until the Cubs win the series ban??

(breaks out the banning stick)

Arguments are good, if they don't go too far
you've encompassed the issue perfectly in that one sentence.

*ducks the stick*

Fair enough, sir. I agree banning was most appropriate for Silent Towel, a horrible hating soul, whereas TRN seemed more a person that liked to make his point by belittling others, a less terrible thing. But he did have plenty to counter those with weak arguments ... just sayin'. I don't talk much here, don't have much to contribute, just like to read. I miss his acerbic ways though.

That said, have you heard Stewart has only a one plane swing?

things have been much more pleasant, less ascerbic, and who needs to be insulted for sharing an opinion on a web site from someone who has no clue about having any degree of social skills?

Let it go...let it die...let it go...

May the force be with you.

Thank you Obi-Wan. True all you say, and I mean that sincerely.

I do believe, however, that a lack of social skills is one thing that makes web browsing equalize us all. If you can't take criticism from a faceless, sexless (who knows, maybe TRN is a transgender pissed at his/her mom Chas Bono?) anonymous email entity you'll never meet, good luck in real life.

All I want to say, and I'll never mention it again, is that as assholic as TRN could get (and that was indeed very severe, and he gleefully stoked it mercilessly at times) he did have some insightful, smart things to say about the Cubs, and wanted nothing more than the Cubs to finally dominate, and isn't that the only reason we come here?

Yes, and Hitler and the German people wanted a prosperous Germany. He just had a "different way" of showing it.

Yes, I agree he added color. In my opinion, just because the internet allows most people to say whatever the hell they want in anonymity, doesn't mean that they should. I think Americans tend to forget (not saying you do) what freedom of speech really is. This is essentially Rob's house (et al) and no one has a right to enter someone's house spewing obscenities at the owner and the owner's guests....regardless of said-person's intelligence and contributions. If I'm leading a bible study in my house and Stanley Hauerwas (a brilliant foul-mouthed Texan theologian) begins telling me or my other guests that they're "retarded" and "fucking dipshits," I'm going to tell him to leave (perhaps after repeated warnings).

did someone say brilliant foul-mouthed Texan theologian?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCfnPaSNohc

Ha. That guy is angry as fuck...for Jesus.

Stanley isn't angry, though...just talks like a sailor. Also he teaches at Duke, not on public access.

Stanley hauerwas is brilliant. And I don't say that about many theologians these days.

Agreed, I'd go Wink, Hauerwas, then...ummmmmmmm.

Maybe I can fill in here...

Your argument that TRN had plenty to counter those with weak arguments is a ridiculous. First, the stats you cite to support this are the wrong ones. Look at the ones that I cherry-picked. Those are the right stats and they completely prove my point. Even if you don't know the acronyms, have never heard of them, and would need to pay somewhere to actually see them, they are the end all be all of stats. You might as well be arguing that gravity doesn't exist. That's how stupid this argument is. Oh, you have other stats to counter mine? Sorry, those don't at all undercut my argument. Why? Because they are the wrong ones. Didn't you read what I wrote above? Are you an infant?

Second, while you only said that he had plenty to counter others weak arguments, I am going to misconstrue that and assume you meant to say that everyone else on here has weak arguments but TRN. How could you say that?!?! I mean seriously, you are insulting the intelligence of everyone on here. I can even give you examples of others making strong arguments. Oh, you never said that? Yes you did. Jesus. That was clear in your statement. You want to argue for a 5-6 posts about what you really said and meant? Fine, I can do that with you too, because it only matters what I and other readers "think" you meant and that's what I thought you meant, and so I am right and you are wrong, and this whole diversion is your fault for not being clear in your arguments. It's not my problem you can't communicate effectively. Oh, and I am still right about TRN not having plenty to counter arguments.

Oh, you still want to argue this? Well now let me then point out the numerous other times you were wrong with similar statements in the past 10 years. Remember, you also said the same thing about those other posters, and then later said they didn't have much evidence to counter weak arguments. You don't remember those incidents? Doesn't matter, I do, and that's all that matters. This is just what you always do, you overvalue posters when they are gone from the site. How do you not realize that you have this huge character flaw? Everyone else does. It's obvious. We have been reading this same bullshit you have been spewing on this point for years. Come on BobbyD. Self-reflect a little and then you will realize that I am right and thank me.

Jeez, you are persistent, still don't want to come over to my side huh? Well, now I will move to a new strategy. I BET you $100 I am right. There is no way to prove this you say? That's just because you are afraid and don't want to bet, which shows that I am right. You don't think I will pay even if you win? That's just because you are afraid and don't want to bet, which shows that I am right. These are all excuses. If you really thought you were right you would bet on it, and the fact that you won't shows that I am right.

You are still arguing with me? Given all of the evidence I just presented above, only a dipshit would continue arguing with me. Seriously, at least be man enough to admit it when you're fucking wrong. What a fucking pussy. And also, the fact that you are a dipshit and a pussy means that I am right. I couldn't win the argument so I went after the individual and won that way. I'm pretty awesome aren't I?

You refuse to argue with me? It's a waste of time you say? Well, guess what? I don't fucking care. I'm TRN and will reply to my own posts. I will continue to make new points and bring up old issues that I remember are connected to continue hammering home this point that you are wrong. I'll keep adding to the mounting evidence. If you choose not to get back into the argument then it is clear you know I am right and can't even stomach the thought of trying to repel everything I have built against you. I win, and get to keep reading myself post. If you can't resist my incessant posts about how you are wrong and try to comment or counter them, then I'll just go back and cite the same stats I did in step 1 and we can begin this fun circus all over again.

Don't worry, I don't have anything to do during the day or night and live for the sole purpose of feeling superior to others, so I'll gladly do this as long as you want.

- TRN

Awesome

That's what I meant. Fucking awesome.

The Definitive argument. Word.

Continued with...
I feel I want to reply to this but I am absolutely dumbfounded at where it's gone, and by replying I know I'm only fanning the flames.

So, where does this leave TRN?

As angry and insulting as that was, I don't think it even captured the amount of bile in most of TRN's comments. That dude seriously devolved into another ST, and it almost drove me away from this site altogether. Good job getting rid of that malignant tumor, Rob.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/736...

Cubs talking to Maholm

The Cubs have been searching for a reliable left-handed starter since trading Ted Lilly to the Dodgers in July 2010.

It's like the Ron Santo curse, except not at all

Another major league source told ESPNChicago.com that "getting the money right," will be the key to Maholm signing with the Cubs.

Man, I just looked at Maholms career stats against the NL Central rivals and it is not pretty.

Man, I just looked at Maholms career stats against the NL Central rivals
---
Maholm was a Cub killer last year.

it's even worse than that because he won't have any outings against the Cubs to mask his bad stats.

shutout, as in 5-28-11:
http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index...

or this one run in 7 2/3 IP outing on 7-11-11:
http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index...

I was looking at his career stats. IIRC, Cards have a .295 average off him, etc. Brews mash him too.

The Pirates pitchers the last couple of years have all been Cy Young-like against the Cubs!

Yeah I remember Jeff Blauser was a real Cub killer. He killed them after the Cubs got him..lol.

David Kaplan (on the post game CSN sports news after the Blackhawk game) said that his sources say the Cubs definitely have interest in Maholm but no deal is imminent.

Kap also said that Maholm had the worst run support of any starter in the NL last year.

I looked this up on the ESPN website and it looks like Maholm was #2 in poorest run support in the NL at 4.16 and #3 in MLB (#1 was Lincecum at 3.82, Doug Fister was #2 at 4.08)

Az. Phil.,
I see the Cubs have a new minor lge Field Coordinator named Brandon Hyde. He must be replacing Dave Bialis, who I believe was being transferred to another position within the organization. Do uou have any knowledge of Brandon Hyde?

since they both have Pirate roots, what is the difference between Maholm and Gorzelanny other than contract demands? Isn't Maholm just Gorz part deux? Gorz gets more K's and gives up more HR's

Gorz was hurt last yr with the Nats but he put up this line:

IP 105, Record 4-6, K95, BB33, HR 15, WHIP 1.29, ERA 4.03
Age 29 (7-12-82)

Maholm 2011:

IP 165, Record 6-14, K97, BB50, HR 11, WHIP 1.29, ERA 3.66
Age 29 (6-25-82)

When Maholm looks in the mirror does he see Gorz twin brother that was switched in the nursery (the Gorz delivery was a bit longer labor)?

Good point. But we haven't tried Maholm yet. He'd be the new model.

How about Zach Duke?

yeah we have...we've already had jason marquis...same thing, different throwing arm.

And wasn't Marquis pretty solid as a Cub..for what he was?

pretty much...i wouldnt mind mahom, but he's a 3-5 starter...probably a #4 on the cubs unless they want to slot Z 4th to break up the righties higher in the rotation order.

Gorz=Mahalo=Duke. Somebody should investigate the Pirates, I think they are cloning.

Joe Strauss (Stl, Post Dispatch) Hmmmm's via twitter...

Informed by well-placed source Cubs' alleged interest in Prince only a "smokescreen" and he may ultimately take shorter-term deal. Hmmmm

and then he (as one would expect) puts a StL spin on it...

Not inconceivable Cards slow-play Beltran to see what happens w/Prince market. "Lot of balls in the air".... Hmmmm

If they were ready to dish out big cash, even on shorter contract of 6-8 years for Fielder, I have to believe the Cards would've brought back Pujols.

Listening to xm...Rosenthal reporting Reds get Matt Latos from Padres for Yonder Alonzo

Reds tweet (via mlbtr) says...

Reds acquire SD’s Mat Latos for Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger, Yasmani Grandal and Edinson Volquez.

i think Volquez is damaged goods and ends the discussion regarding their trade of Hamilton.

Little pricey for Reds, but Latos had 4 years of control left. Nice get by padres though.

Agreed. I like Latos and hate to see Cincy get him. With a little pitching, the Reds could be the class of the NL Central in 2012.

I wonder if either Alonzo or Rizzo is now available. Hard to see how they both fit in SD.

Man, some of the pundits are killing this deal and claiming that the Reds got swindled (Jim Bowden, I'm looking at you). I don't see it that way.

The Reds got a front of the rotation starter and didn't give up all that much. Alonso is still young, but hasn't progressed in a while; Boxberger is a good pitching prospect, but struggles with his command; Gradal is a minor league catcher with some upside offensively; and Volquez is a PED user who hasn't been healthy since 2008. I don't see this as a one-sided deal at all.

Worth noting that Latos is also really young for someone as established as he is.

Worth noting Latos already has had shoulder issues. Padres scored big time in prospects imo. That being said, Reds got something they valued and for at least 4 years. See what park factors do to Latos.

Strongly disagree about the reds not giving up much.

yeah...they got a hell of a pitcher, but they gave up a ton of talent for it.

even if you toss box out of the deal you got 2 well above average prospects...alonzo/grandal are pimps.

volquez topping it off is some really high end honey butter...and his game should play well at home in SD.

I was probably wrong to say "the Reds didn't give up all that much," but I was saying it in response to the pundits who were claiming that the Reds got swindled. Maybe I like Latos more than I should (I'm reading now he may have some maturity issues), but he seems like a top of the rotation guy to me, and they aren't all that common or all that available. What I should have said is that despite the price they paid, the Reds did a good job getting Latos.

latos is an easy #1 starter with awesome stuff...reds just gave up a lot to get him.

that said, they gave up expendable parts...except maybe vosquez. i'm actually weirded out they had to include 2 of their high-end expendable prospects along with an interesting as hell relief prospect and a young/iffy-but-very-cheap SP.

all 4 given up is a hell of a top-end price for a top-end latos.

Very well could be, Hoyer traded for Rizzo in SD, so obviously he's a fan.

I wonder what the Cubs have that could pry Rizzo or Alonzo (I'd rather get Rizzo, as he's closer to Starlin's age and seems to have much more power upside) away from San Diego. Matt Garza would seem to be the one piece valuable enough to get Rizzo + others, but how badly do the Padres need a pitcher who isn't super cheap? What else do the Cubs have that the Padres might like? Brett Jackson? Ha? Szczur? Castillo? Can't imagine that even Jackson would get Rizzo back straight up. There would obviously have to be a package of good prospects headed the Padres' way, and at that point the Cubs would be bankrupt above the advanced A-ball level. Plus, Rizzo probably couldn't be the only plan at 1st for 2012--he could end up spending most of his year in AAA.

Well done. I guess sometimes I enjoyed how long the "arguments" would go, but hey, I'm a lifelong Cub fan back to the '69 debacle, so my mind is warped anyway.

Rollins back to Phillies on 3 year deal with an "easy" vest.

"Welcome to the Bart Giamatti research center" ...hall of fame collecting Santo and related Cub artifacts in preparation for Ronnie's HOF induction on 7-22-12.

http://www.youtube.com/thebaseballhall#p/a/u/...

CBS Scott Miller on Rizzo...

How should prospect Anthony Rizzo interpret Reds deal & Alonso arrival: "Probably a bit of a tough pill," GM Byrnes admits.

rizzo?

jesus christ. someone tell theo-corp the team's payroll isn't $70 million bucks and the 2012 offseason looks like crap except for pitching...which he'll need a lot of given that the #2 and #3 pitchers are going away (and maybe the #1 in garza). i kinda wonder if the owners are putting pressure on or if theo-corp is so full of themselves they feel the need to create something in their own image with their own fingerprints and are giving a "screw you guys" to the fans while playing "my legacy."

i'm a cubs fan...not a pirates fan...not a padres fan...not a royals fan...

i know nothing's set in stone, but so far...*puke*...and rizzo? f'n rizzo? hey, i don't think the kid is trash, but the cubs would have to give up a lot to get him.

go 2014 cubs!

i hope i have a better outlook by april...or next week.

skitzo offseason fielder/cubs update...from rotowurld

"Sources told ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine that the Cubs are indeed involved in talks for Prince Fielder.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum and team president Theo Epstein told reporters Friday that they have not had direct contact with the 27-year-old free agent first baseman. But Levine's sources revealed Saturday that Epstein has kept an open line of communication with Fielder's agent, Scott Boras, since the general manager meetings in November. The Cubs are likely hoping that Fielder will be resigned to accepting a shorter-term deal. "

highly recommend MLB Network's "Outta Here" show.

i dunno how many they're making or if they'll come/go as low-profile specials, but it's a look at the quirky things that go on in the game that aren't odd enough to make the highlight reel as epic.

featured in the show on now...kaz matsui 1st-AB-of-season 3 year HR streak...the cubs having back to back opening days where the cubs scored 16 runs and Z didn't get the win...much more, it covers a lot of stuff in 30 minutes.

it's backed up with player interviews...mostly lighthearted...goes at a quick pace.

btw, dumpster credited the 16 run games with them using plastic bats filled with cement that MLB caught onto and took away from them after game 1. heh.

I saw it too, good show.

Lou lost opening day to Braves in 2010 and his last game as manager by same score. 16-5

4-0 on opening day for Dusty's Cubs, 52-19 runs scored and allowed.

the tcr twitter link has a lot about the Rizzo buzz but here are two more:

Jon Heyman, CBS...

cubs, rays are indeed among teams interested in anthony rizzo. cubs higherups hoyer/theo were ones who got him to sd

hearing teams are already calling padres about anthony rizzo. cubs and rays (wade davis?) are logical.

June 2011 Providence Journal article on Rizzo, Mcleod and Hoyer and how he was drafted by the Bosox and became a key trade chip for Adrian Gonzalez.

http://soxblog.projo.com/2011/06/how-the-red-...

A little birdie told me to expect a row of bleachers much like the seats above the green monster. Also will have a bar.

This edifice will be in right field bleachers infront of the Torco/Miller lite sign building.

And be sponsored by a brewery that is not Miller Lite.

Look for in 2013.

add Jim Bowden to the Rizzo rumor mill...

@JimBowdenESPNxm

Padres have interest in a package deal with the primary trade pieces being Anthony Rizzo and Matt Garza...should be interesting in Cubs view

If the Cubs are not serious about Fielder, then a Garza deal makes sense. I'd have to hope that more than Rizzo comes back, though. Maybe a young starting pitcher, too, or some pieces they might be able to package elsewhere for a young starter.

But didn't the Padres just trade an ace to pick up a bunch of prospects? Aren't they probably looking for young'uns, not Garza? And what are the Cubs going to do to fill out their starting rotation, other than get Paul Maholm that is?

I don't get how it would make sense for either team, especially the Padres.

if the pads have any sense they'll keep rizz and continue to attempt to get alonzo used to LF (which he is unbelievably horrible at...soriano looks better in LF...no exaggeration).

garza is worth 8-10m this offseason, easy.

In other Japanese player news: Brewers win Norichika Aoki bid rights

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7365232/mil...

The Cubs' bid was "very low" and they have no illusions of winning the rights to negotiate with Darvish, a source tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

What is this guys fucking problem?

Cafardo sure can blabber on. Here is the entire part on Epstein (it's just page 3 of his 6 page sunday special from boston.com):

Epstein has a game plan

The Cubs were everyone’s mystery team this offseason. They were supposed to be in on Albert Pujols. Uh, not really. They were supposed to be in on Yu Darvish (yes, but a major league source indicated they made a very low bid and have no illusions of winning the post), and now they’re supposed to be in on Prince Fielder.

Things could change, but as of this writing the Cubs were still in the mode of, let’s not spend until we’re ready to spend and right now we’re not ready to spend.

There appears to be the perception that because Theo Epstein spent a lot of money on free agents in Boston, he will do the same in Chicago. Maybe in time he will, but his focus in addition to improving the team is revamping the farm system.

In order to do that you need players. You need draft choices.

Judging by the nastiness of the tweets and e-mails from Chicago, the Cubs fan base is no longer the mild-mannered, just-happy-to-go-to-Wrigley following it perhaps was once upon a time. They want a winner. Unfortunately, some fans equated Epstein’s arrival with instant winning. Doesn’t work that way.

Epstein didn’t inherit a great situation and his first order of business is to try to get out from under it, hoping to lose some of the big contracts that weigh down the franchise. Improve Carlos Zambrano’s value? Of course. Make it so Alfonso Soriano is at least somewhat attractive to another contending team? That’s the goal. Bid adieu to Aramis Ramirez? Done.

Possibly deal pitcher Matt Garza, probably Chicago’s biggest asset, for a boatload of good young players? Why not. This is the way you rebuild your organization. Epstein has a plan to retool and he appears to be sticking with it.

Now, owner Tom Ricketts could always intervene and order Epstein to sign Fielder, but that’s not why he hired him. Ricketts hired Epstein to do the job and put together the team his way.

http://tinyurl.com/7l4grsy

if the game plan is to lay low for a couple seasons while Theo-corp puts their own fingerprints on their vision then they can blow me.

rebuilding my ass...$130-$140+m to work with...10s of millions this year and like 50m next year.

make it work, guys. a lot of GMs would spooge themselves working with this much leeway. they have a lot to work with.

Whoa CRUNCH what's with the 'tude? We are so used to Hendry and his buying sprees good or bad, and then we bitch and moan about the player, amount, or contract length.

On the trade front, there is not that much to work with other than Garza and one or two others, and the FA market is pretty shitty other than the couple big ones. If Boras wants a 10 year deal, you'd be a buyer?

Do you want to pay $100mm for an untested MLB Japanese pitcher when you're rebuilding and have 3-5 positions to fill?

If it gets into Feb and nothing of substance has happened, then we can bitch together.

this isn't a poverty team.

when you have 20m to spend this year and 50m to spend next year...if you are punting...you suck.

i don't care about the Theo-corp vision if it means running the cubs like the royals for a couple years.

to build around something, a core is nice to have...30+HR power bat...nothing close in the minors and none in house...#1 starter...nothing close in the minors, but one in house. 2012 offseason is pitching-rich and not much else...which is handy considering 2 come off the books on the 2012 offseason.

the money is there to stay competitive. they had aram gift the team with an exit, even. there's loot AND flexibility.

that said, im still waiting for more to come off the table or onto the team before i throw my hands up in the air about 2012.

It's not even X-mas, they've been here a few weeks is all, I am going to give them some time. But just for the sake of argument:

If the choices are:

A) Run like the Royals for 2-3 years and then be run like the Red Sox for the years after,

or

B) Continue to be run the like the Cubs

I'll take A.

I think each decision needs to be made carefully and systematically. It would be really cool to get Fielder, but is it really the best use for the money? Can you get better value for the money if it's spent elsewhere? These are the questions you have to ask. It is my opinion the question you pose is a false dichotomy.

since there's more than one way do "get it done" there's no 1 right answer.

they don't have a huge amount of farm to trade away, but they do have carpenter/cashner and their biggest chip in garza. they'd probably want to keep carpenter...or at least one of carp/cash. dunno how much soto is worth right now, honestly. there's guys like lake/etc. but they're not going to get anything worth mentioning but added value to a bigger trade without some "we rule" scouting on some under-valued kids.

they also have a ton of loot coming off the books after this season giving them huge spending flexibility...along with a good amount left this season.

a hybrid approach will, of course, be what happens...

i'd like to see a hitting anchor you don't have to worry about for 5+ years in the lineup, though.

Wouldn't everybody? That's why guys who look like they might be that are so expensive. Overpaying for one thing isn't necessarily better than overpaying for something else.

Yeah. They have $20m to spend this offseason. The problem is that you can't just pick up an ace or a 30+ HR bat for that, let alone both.

and they have 50m next year.

they have tons of flexibility and no one making that kind of loot is looking a 1 year deal.

they can more than afford to add talent.

Who exactly should they add? Would you have wanted to sign Pujols for the 10 years? I'm sure they're offering Fielder good money, but if it's astronomical money or years should they really pull the trigger? It's one thing to have money, it's another to have an opportunity to spend it on something worthwhile without doing something stupid.

yeah, fielder would be a nice start...given his age, especially. the team has no anchor power bat and there's not a lot of options for that in the 2012 offseason unless you want to pay a 31 year old josh hamilton some serious loot.

if they build the system through trades what's left to give up that that cubs don't already need? garza is a sure thing to go if that's the case and that's a shame because he's due 8-10m at best. it's about all they have besides 2 95-100mph relievers (one may be a starter) with questionable control that's expendable.

they have the tools to sign and build through trade...there's no money hurt going on that a huge handful of teams wouldn't scoff at.

i could deal with not getting fielder if he gets a 10 year deal or 25m a year over less years or similar silliness...but a 6-8 year deal at 20-22m i wouldn't complain about.

Agreed. It just depends on how much they want to stretch this years budget. If I'm the owner, I put $20m this year towards Fielder instead of mcdonalds.

If Epstein-Hoyer have a $130M payroll budget for 2012 (the same Hendry apparently had last year), and with $110M already committed (about $72M for players who have already signed, $7M for the Pena money deferred from 2011 and the Silva buy-out, $21M estimated to sign the arbitration eligibles, and about $10M aggregate for the auto-renewals), that would leave about $20M available to spend.

But if Kerry Wood is re-signed for "market value," and if the free-agents who have been mentioned in connection with the Cubs (Coco Crisp, Paul Maholm, and Jason Varitek) are signed, too, that would probably use up most of the $20M, and there certainly wouldn't be anywhere near enough left for Prince Fielder and/or Yu Darvish (should the Cubs somehow end up the top bidder).

So maybe Epstein-Hoyer just don't have the cash needed to sign Fielder or Darvish.

That is, unless Ricketts releases some of the $50M+ in payroll that will become available after the 2012 season ($45M in salaries saved when Zambrano, Dempster, Byrd, Marshall, and Baker are FAs, plus not having to pay the $5M deferred from Carlos Pena's 2011 salary or Carlos Silva's $2M 2012 buy-out, plus the salary of any free-agent who signs a one-year 2012 contract in the coming days & weeks).

BTW, the Red Sox 2011 payroll was more than $30M more than the Cubs, so welcome to Pittsburgh, Theo.

Using up your money on Crisp, Varitek and Malholm and then complaining you didn't have enough for Fielder sounds like Hendry-ball personified.

I agree.

Nick Cafardo < Paul Sullivan

*universe implodes*

Boston Globe writer Peter Abraham quoted Cherington about the Theo compensation (I think it's a few days old and may be 3/44):

On the Theo Epstein compensation talks:

“I think sometime in the next 15 to 20 years we should have a resolution. I think at some point this offseason we will put that to bed. People get tired of this answer but it's mostly because we've had other things to do. We have a basic understanding of about what the level of compensation should be. We differ by degree. At some point that will be resolved. It’s not really holding up anything else.”

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/...

I'm thinking that it might not get completed for another year. It is obvious those involved dont give a shit.

Muskat blogs in on Rizzo, LaHair

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2011/12/18/1218-cou...

just saw the replay on the Johnny Knox fumble/injury after the strip...very ugly. Mid-spine extremely hyperextended. Hope there is no neurologic injury but taking him out strapped on a cart and I'll be surprised if it's not a really bad news. Moving his arms (not a neck injury) but can't tell about his legs.

They announced during the broadcast the Knox is moving his extremities, so that's a very good sign. Very, very scary moment.

from wscr...Johnny Knox will have surgery on his spine tomorrow to stabilize it. My take is that the injury is either a fracture or a fracture/dislocation at the thoracic-lumbar junction. The stabilization is usually is a localized fusion with instrumentation. Apparently no neurologic damage is present, which certainly is the good news.

Watching the replay at the time was one of those ugly Joe Theisman fractured leg moments. The spine at the thoracic-lumbar junction isn't meant to bend into acute extension (except in Cirque de Soleil)

Theisman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHCXNt4P8Xg

So, CUBSTER, is he effectively finished with football?

That is, with a spinal fracture?

That is, with a spinal fracture?
----
They may clear him for football activities in a year, but...Johnny Knox is probably done as a pro football player with his one virtue, speed. As a person outside of football he should be just fine. If he gets a solid fusion and there is no residual leg weakness (after the several months of relatively light activity that will permit a fusion to heal...well, there is a Santa Claus and Easter Bunny so who knows.

And I'm guessing if he cherishes the ability to walk, he should not try to play in NFL again.

Some news updates...

John Grabow signs with Dodgers to a minor league deal with a spring training invite to the major league camp. Oddly this was tweeted on Saturday (and nobody cared) but was confirmed today (below).

http://twitter.com/#!/dylanohernandez/statuse...

Jason Kubel signs with DBacks 2/15 with an option year

http://twitter.com/#!/JonHeymanCBS/statuses/1...

Winner of the Yu Darvish posting bid will be announced around 8-9pm tonight (which is Tuesday AM in Japan).

http://twitter.com/#!/jonmorosi/status/148757...

The Brewers won the posting for Norichika Aoki, getting to pay the $2.5M fee if they can negotiate a contract with the OF from the Yakult Swallows in the next 30 days.

http://twitter.com/#!/AdamMcCalvy/statuses/14...

on XM Duquette interview with Padres asst GM AJ Hinche. Said the Padres are not interested in Matt Garza.

Not sure what that means other than what other chips might be worth Rizzo if Jed-stein is hell bent on their backup 1B prospect. Between the Reds and Redsox prospects they've acquired, not sure what would be appealing there.

I wonder if a Szczur and Dolis/Carpenter package could pry him loose?

Thoyer seems to be punting the prospects with poor plate discipline. So I imagine the ability to play football is much lower on their list of desired traits than it was on Hendry's.

Wasn't this Szczur's first full season after playing football and baseball in college? He acquitted himself ok yeah? .293/.335/.423..
He'll have to show improvement to conmtinue being a propect...but it wasn't like he's struggled for years or something...

His walk rate was atrocious after his call up to Daytona. He still has a high enough prospect profile to MAYBE pull an Alonso or Rizzo.

I'd rather have Fielder obviously. However if we are looking for kids to fill Plan B. I'd be OK with either of those guys I suppose.

Agreed, on the walk rate aafter promotion.
I'd like to see him improve on that of course, if not see him go in a deal for Rizzo.

If the Padres accepted a Szczur and Dolis for Rizzo trade, I would be downright joyous, and I like the idea of Szczur a lot. I don't see that happening, though.

Anthony Rizzo seems like a decent young prospect and may be a good everyday player at the big league level some day. However, he doesn't appear to be that now. Even if he stays in San Diego, he's likely to spend at least part of the year at AAA. If he's not good enough to start for the Padres, why should the Cubs think he's good enough to start for them?

Which brings me to the point I really want to make. I'm tired of this idea that when other teams get a new and better player, maybe the Cubs can trade for the guy who just lost his job. This would apply right now to Rizzo, Kendry Morales, and Mark Trumbo.

I hate this "sloppy seconds" mentality. It's the Cubs for God's sake. They spend more money than just about anyone (with a few exceptions), so why are they always in the hunt for a player that is on someone else's scrap pile?

I know there has been a lot of talk on both sides of the issue, but the Cubs should be in strong on Prince Fielder. If it get to the point where another team wants to give the big man an 8-10 year contract, then you let him go. But this talk about the Cubs not having enough money to sign him is crap. They have $70 million coming off the books in just the next two years. Get creative. Figure it out.

I don't have anything against Rizzo, Morales, or Trumbo, but I think that the Cubs should be trying to sign some of the best, most desirable players at their position, not someone else's leftover.

I agree with that post completely. I know we're just dealing with rumors, and very vague ones at that so far, but I am sensing this attraction to journeyman ballplayers so far. I guess sometimes you need to fill up a roster spot, but I hope this isn't an indication they're mailing it in for 2012. I realize that there is this notion that there is a specific budget for 2012, and according to AZ, a move here and a move there, and suddenly, whoops, all gone.

But if the owners can't expand the budget to get a guy like Fielder, or Darvish, or whoever, to improve this team's core, they really had no business buying the team in the first place.

So far, the rumors aren't getting me very interested in going on what used to be an annual spring training trip. Tickets go on sale Jan 5 or so, and if the roster remains as it is now, I really have no interest in going.

I skipped last year for the first time in a long time. I'll skip again this year if the team acts like a small market team.

I know we're supposed to be patient and all that. And, I am. I'm still a Cubs fan, and there's my proof. I'm just not going to buy any Spring Training tickets for Pittsburgh West. That's not being impatient. That's just a decision making process for me on how I choose to spend my money.

If Theo wasn't going to have the money to work with, he wouldn't have taken the job. It's as simple as that. Theo was a signal that the Ricketts are serious about building the organization the correct way. It might mean 2012 will be less than spectacular (though I still predict more success in 2012 with journeymen than with 2011 AAAA douchebag ball players that can't field a goddamn ball).

A lot of the anguish appears to be centered around Fielder and the Cub's lack of interest after Pujols was taken off the table. I still have yet to hear why Fielder is such a compelling value. If you are looking for a team that is going to blindly spend money on overpaid free agents that may or may not work out- well, enjoy your nostalgia for the Hendry regime. I, however, do not sympathize.

Well I agree that giving Fielder a 10 year/$300 million contract would make him overpaid...butwith the lack of 1B talent in the farm system, givven he's the best available 1B, what would be a price they could sign him so he's not overpaid? Length of contract? At age 27, what sign has Fielder given of not continuing, at least for the next 3-5 years, of continuing to be a power hitter who gets on base?

I would say if you're looking for why Fielder is compelling, take a look at his numbers, and his age, and get back to me.

Do you think a guy with his build will age well? Are you expecting future performance to match past performance? When the Cubs signed Soriano, weren't we saying the same things? Weren't we saying the same things about the other big name free agents that year, Barry Zito & Jason Schmidt who both, also, made tons of money.

Honestly, I would rather find the next Fielder than sign the current Fielder.

I don't mean to be a Real N douchebag... I'm just saying the tendency is to want to go after Fielder ONLY because he is perceived as the best free agent talent currently available. And who knows, the Cubs might still go after him. I'm just thinking maybe it's not the BEST thing to do and I'm hoping to temper this irrational exuberance about Fielder.

If Fielder was 31, and not 27 I would worry more? Expecting Fielder to contiue to hit HR's at 27-33, vs. Soriano continuing to steal 30-40 bases a year at age 31-38?

If the Cubs are going to try to be competitive, then Fielder is a good sign. If not, use LaHair...and wait until 2013 or so.

If Boras allows Fielder to sign for something like 6/$150 mil, he might as well retire as an agent because Dan Lozano is going to use the Pujols' contract to sign up every budding superstar kid. The fact that Fielder can sign another mega contract in 4-5 years might work for the player, but it doesn't help the agent at all in an intensely competitive market.

If the Cubs offer $25 mil/year for 4-6 years, it will only to be as a favor to Boras in order to drive up the annual salary for the Mariners or Rangers to match on a longer term deal.

Theo is only signing big money free agents on terms that work for the Cubs, and I am totally fine with that approach.

cubs 2014!

go chicago royals! big up the chicago padres!

maybe in 2012 offseason the cubs can make a huge splash and trade some prospects for a pitching coach.

mike maddux for andrew cashner could make this club a winner.

i can't wait to meet the new vice president of community relations at the next cubs convention.

if the cubs had expendable prospects to trade for 2012-ready pimps i'd probably be less harsh...because the hitting market for power in 2012 offseason is ass, imo. at least they have 50m to work with...poor destitute poverty team.

but yeah...i can understand the cubs not getting in on 10 year deals on any FA slugger...i wouldn't be upset about 6-8 on fielder, though.

This is starting to sound familiar.

the 1st half is "humor"...the 2nd part is reality.

It's okay, Ryno, I know you're not a douchebag. It's good to have different points of view -- that's why we have forums.

I do actually think he'll still be in good shape in 5/6 years. He's stayed healthy so far, despite his body type. He's a big guy and I assume he knows how to take care of himself.

At 27, he seems like the perfect fit. He provides a core bat for several years, and should be in his prime years while under contract.

I never thought Soriano was an outstanding hitter. Fielder, to me, is a much better hitter. Whenever Soriano hit something up the middle or to right field, my eyes opened wide in amazement. Wow! He just smoked one to the opposite field. Can I get a replay on that?

Agreed,

Soriano was always a low OB hitter and poor defender his whole career.

So much of his perceived value was that he was an "Athlete" and was coming off of a career season. We all know how much the previous regime coveted athlete over baseball player. Soriano over JD Drew at half the money was a prime example of it.

Mon, 12/19/2011 - 2:20pm — Old and Blue

I would say if you're looking for why Fielder is compelling, take a look at his numbers, and his age, and get back to me.

================================

O&B: Plus Fielder has averaged 160 games played over his first six years in the big leagues, has missed only 13 games over that six-year period, and has yet to spend even one day on the DL.

Of course, the same could be said for Alfonso Soriano when he signed with the Cubs post-2006...

That said, if I could sign Prince Fielder for 6/150 (or even 4/120 if he wants to be a FA again before he hits age 32), I would do it.

Yeah, 6 is probably as far as Theo and the boys will go, methinks. Boras may still get a much bigger contract elsewhere, and there's not much we can do about that, but watch. I won't blame the Ricketts clan for not spending on that kind of thing.

I'd say Theo was a sign that the Cubs would develop their teams from within in the future as the main building block of the team, instead of sporadic runs/windows through free agency.

The new CBA makes it tougher to build from within. I don't think anyone wants to neglect the farm system and just rely on free agency, but I don't think the Cubs will ever be (or should ever be) the type of team that relies solely on the farm system. Free agency will necessarily play a role. It's not an either or proposition.

Sure, but the long term objective is ti build a player development machine. Minor point for me to raise that Theo doesn't necessarily mean huge spending.

"I'm sensing the attraction to journeyman players so far."

So you think that's their plan?

Funny, TCR is relatively sane when it comes to the Internet. I wonder if the braintrust has any idea what they've got coming to them.

I don't know what the plan is.

I suspect that the brain trust has an idea what they got themselves into. The Cubs have a long, solid history of losing that is unmatched in pro sports. As a Cubs fan, I'm jaded and unimpressed until the W flags fly in October.

And I reserve the right to make my purchasing decisions accordingly. Most of baseball has been sabre-cized. What Theo and Hoyer are bringing is not as unique as it once may have been.

The signings they are stuck with are an impediment to future success, and they will have to get creative. I get that. I'll believe it'll happen, though, when I see it.

Of course you have a right. Didn't say or imply otherwise.

But some of the stuff I've read here is mind-boggling. This regime is just getting started, and there's cynicism and insults already. Anthony Rizzo? SCREW THEO!*

*I took dramatic license there.

I get it, we're Cubs' fan, we're tired of waiting. But how about gving these guys a chance to screw up before they've even screwed up?

Oh, I'm definitely not in the Screw Theo camp at all. I was impressed with that hire, and impressed with how Ricketts handled the Hendry thing, trusting him to deal with the amateur signings was fantastic personnel management.

But I'm also impatient and am going to not spend my spring vacation money on a team that isn't moving forward a notable clip. That's not an indictment against Theo or anyone else. It's just a choice I need to make. Right now, the team just doesn't look interesting at all to me.

Theo inherited a huge, huge mess, and I'm very pessimistic he and his minions can do much about it the first year.

I do happen to think signing a guy like Fielder would be a nice move in the right direction, but I realize there are other forces at work out there. Like some team maybe giving him 8-10 years. That's too much and I won't be bummed if the Cubs decline on that kind of contract.

Even seven is pushing it. If some team signs him for 7 and Theo says that was too much, I'd be cool with that.

But 27 year old thumpers don't come along very often.

And I don't see much in the way of help in the minors, except way, way down the road.

My pessimism is based as much on the reality of what Theo and his friends inherited as it is on anything else.

what are the cubs supposed to empty the system to pick up rizzo for?

...a non-sure thing.

sure, prospects given up aren't a sure thing either, but it's not like the cubs are loaded with minor league pimps to spare for top-10 prospects.

Yup, that's part of the problem. Cubs have few trading cards in the stack. To me, that's another argument for going after Fielder if they can secure a decent contract for him.

i think some people look at his prospect rankings (50+ last year on many lists) and assume he's still around that mark.

he should be a top-20 prospect on almost every list next year. the top-10 i mentioned earlier is a stretch, yeah...but top-20 should be something he'd slot into.

They have screwed up the payroll over the past several years, and now they are paying for it.

The Cubs should be very happy if they could acquire a prospect like Rizzo at a reasonable price, even if that means a year of Pena or LaHair at first base in 2012 while Rizzo continues to season in AAA. They should not, on the other hand, overpay for anything right now. They are not within one move away from being contenders. They need to build overall value for the franchise. Fielder could be that, but if the owner says they don't have the cash, that's the owner's business, not Jedstein's.

Charlie - I think we may have had this discussion before, so if I'm repeating myself, I apologize.

I disagree with the notion that you should only spend big on a player when the team is just one move away from being a contender. Instead, I would suggest that you spend big on a player when there is a player available who is worth spending big on. Players like Pujols or Fielder rarely become available, so you have to move when they are on the market.

Also, I would suggest that you bring in a guy like Pujols or Fielder to build a team around, not as the last piece of the puzzle. You may end up paying for the player during a down year while you are building up the team, but that's the price you have to pay to be a perennial contender, which is what the Cubs should be.

This year is unique because there are two big-time hitting first basemen available and the Cubs need a first baseman. Also, the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are on the sidelines for both players, so if ever there was a time to make a move, this is it.

Pujols is gone, so the Cubs should be moving heaven and earth to sign Fielder. If, in the end, he ends up being too expensive (in years or dollars), then so be it. But for now, they should be doing everything possible to sign him rather than crying poor.

I think I understand your viewpoint, and I would be happy with bringing Fielder in. If he ends up with the Mariners because they offered him 10 years instead of 7, though, I would understand that too. And if that's what happens, I like bringing in a Rizzo-quality prospect who has a real chance of becoming an Adrian Gonzalez- or Fielder-level offensive player (just as he has a real chance of being a Geovany Soto or even Micah Hoffpauir quality hitter at the MLB level). I guess I'm just saying that I'm against overpaying drastically for Fielder. I'm not sure exactly what that means in terms of $, though.

We agree on that. I think the Cubs should go hard after Fielder, but if Seattle or someone else comes along and insists on giving him a 10 year contract, then the Cubs should go to plan B.

Agree,

Having the choice of "overpaying" For a Price Fielder or "overpaying" for a Koyie Hill or Paul Malholm.

I'd choose Fielder.

Fielder could be that, but if the owner says they don't have the cash, that's the owner's business, not Jedstein's.

If the owner doesn't have the cash, why did he decide to buy a big market team? But you're right. It's his business. So is how we fans spend our money. If they end up spending like a small market club, and I think the evidence is not in yet that they are -- we really don't know yet -- then I will spend like I would as if it were a small market club. In other words, I'll spend my money on other things.

"reasonable price" and rizzo don't match up...the guy isn't someone SD is desperate to give up and they can sit on him (which they should...cuz they're...SAN DIEGO NO SPENDING PADRES) while trying to get yonder his LF legs.

the idea that rizzo would come cheap in talent most likely isn't on the table.

If I were Thoyer I'd approach the Fielder situation like this:

We really want you here Prince. We want you here for a long time. So we are willing to give you 3 contracts to choose from.

7/154
8/168
10/190

We are going to give you the choice of contract, but we need to know one way or the other by January 5th. After that we are going to have to move on with the rest of our offseason.

YEAH! Cuz Old & Blue needs to decide on those spring training tickets, gawddammit!!!

I'll bet whomever Brad Pitt dumped to get with Angelina Jolie wan't some kind of skank. Same with Tom Brady and the couple chicks he impregnated.

I guess in this metaphor Pujols = Jolie/Gisselle, Brady/Pitt = Angels, and Morales = the not skanks

Point is, Morales isn't shit because Pujols took his job.

What you say is true, but at the moment, no one knows for sure if Morales is going to be healthy enough to play in 2012.

But the point remains, if the Cubs decide that the answer for first base is Rizzo, Morales or Trumbo, they are settling for someone else's scraps rather than taking the initiative to get the best available player. Other teams decided to go after the better players, the Cubs are talking about maybe going after the odd-men out.

By the way, just to be clear, none of this means that Rizzo, Morales, or Trumbo aren't good players who could really help a team. I'm just talking about the mindset behind the approach. I don't have any idea what Jedstein will actually do. I'm just reacting to the idea that maybe we should forget about the top tier players and instead try to sign or trade for someone in the second tier. That mindset drives me up a wall.

To continue this discussion, I need you to assign beautiful women to the relevant players.

No real, studs were available at 3rd/RF. I don't really agree that not getting Pujols/Prince is a white flag.

prince fielder = sandra bullock

ian stewart = sandra bernhardt

darwin barney = kathy griffin

kerry wood = meryl streep

Dj Lemahieu=Maria Shriver
Tyler Colvin=Divine Brown
Koyie Hill=Christina Kahrl

Mark Prior = Mark Prior

/silent towel'd

At what point does an AL club have the advantage on Fielder?

Az Phil says a bid of 6/150 would make sense.

10/250 in clearly an AL only extrapolation (Pujols)

Between these two is the gray zone. 8/200? With a buyout or two along the way?

I'm guessing DH will be here sooner then later. I think Rob said they had to wait until next CBA in five years, but I bet if the players had to vote on it in 2013 it would pass.

imo, fielder staying at 1st as long as possible is better for his body.

he's lost the gut, but it'll only take 1 offseason of laziness to make him look like arnold schwarzenager between movies (aka, saggy/fat).

he's got a big frame, but unlike some people who have carried that frame...he's not turned into a lazy b.colon type (colon is shorter, so it's not that fair...just popped into my head) and his joints/tendons/muscles/bones seem to handle his frame extremely well

From what I'm reading here, with a few exceptions, most here seem to think that Fielder for 6 or so max is a good idea, but nothing more than that. I think it's reasonable to think that Theo and crew are thinking the same thing.

If someone else actually offers him a bigger contract, I suppose he'll take it, and the Cubs will really have a lot of work to do to build a halfway decent lineup.

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