November 30, 2011

Cubs deal selves in on Pujols chase

Well, this news, if any, should officially wake up John Mozeliak, as well as Bill DeWitt's checkbook: the Cubs are "all in" on the Albert Pujols hunt. Especially given that Tom Ricketts has given a 110 percent endorsement of whatever Epstein thinks he needs to do in the free agent market, Theo officially has carte blanche to spend. Oh, and ignore the "and Prince Fielder" in these stories. Theo's seen David Ortiz occasionally play 1B in Boston; he's not interested in a repeat of that on a regular basis in three-four years, so Fielder is definitely Plan B in the Windy City, I'm thinking.

Theo, remember, is club president, not "just" GM. So, there's also the angle of which free-agent first baseman would bring more butts back to Wrigley seats, sell Cubs swag, etc. Again, no question, no contest there.

And, there's the question of which player would boost the Cubs more. Because Pujols is a Gold Glove defender, and arguably more of an overall team leader, again, we know who leads this.

Finally, there's the matter of addition by subtraction. Fielder's likely leaving the Brewers no matter what. And, the Brewers have just one year at the top of the division heap. But, year in and year out, the Cards are the team to beat, and No. 5 is a lot of the reason why.


I can honestly see Theo going as high as 10/$275. That won't be his initial offer, of course. Something around 8/$210 is more like it. But, he's here to play. And pay.

That's if this is real interest. Jeff Passan says, in a good column, says that likely this is mutual "playing around." Pujols is using the Cubs' interest to jack a higher contract out of the Cards, which the Cubs have no problem doing. Passan adds that interest in Pujols MLB-wide is a bit thin in part due to that perception.

But, what if it's real? Or, what if Pujols does a 1-year contract somewhere, but not with the Cards, as I speculated earlier, and signs that 1-year deal elsewhere in part to show that he'll move, he's serious, etc.?

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