boubucarow

***Chicago Cubs Thread***

2,719 posts in this topic

So far so good...

Dempster is back as expected exercising his player option. Ramirez declines his mutual option looking for a multi year deal and should net the Cubs at least a supplemental pick in next years draft. Shark's option was declined and the Cubs can sign him to a $2.24M deal.

It looks like Selig will decide the compensation for Theo and I read the compensation going to the Padres will be decided after the rule 5 draft.

As expected, Reed Johnson, Grabow, Lopez, and Ortiz are free agents. Garza, Soto, Baker, Wells, Hill, and DeWitt are arbitration eligible.

Of course, who will be the manager?

Some other things I am pondering...

Does LaHair get a roster spot and possibly a chance to play every day?

Is the brain trust sold on Barney going forward?

Will they or can they unload Soriano and Zambrano?

Are they considering a big free agent splash or the indication that this will be a slow build hold true?

Which youngsters make the roster and are given an every day job? Plenty of position candidates including Jackson, DJ, Flaherty, Gonzalez, Castillo, and Clevenger.

Who will be the 5th starter? Assuming that Wells is brought back and Cashner returns to the rotation, that leaves a spot. Will the Cubs aim to push Wells and Cashner down the line or is Shark or a similar unknown or #5 given the job?

Is Marmol the closer or even on the team?

And I am sure there will a lot more movement.

Edited by boubucarow

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Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena are rated as B compensation free agents so they will give the Cubs a sandwich pick each.

Edited by boubucarow

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Quade gone

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Ryno told by Theo that he's not going to a candidate for the team's vacant manager position.

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Quade gone - :thumbup:

Ryno slapped in the face again, and might be going to St Louis - :cry:

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A lot depends on what the Cards are willing to pay a manager. If they are willing to shoot the lock off the wallet, then they go with Tito...but more likely, and I think it would be a good fit, they go with Sandberg. Another guy I like a lot that isn't being talked about is Mike Jirschle from the Omaha Stormchasers (KC AAA affiliate). He is ready for a big league gig.

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Quade gone - :thumbup:Ryno slapped in the face again, and might be going to St Louis - :cry:

I disagree totally. Epstein interviewed Ryno last year and it obviously took something from that interview. If he is certain he would not hire Ryno, he did the most professional thing he could instead of granting a courtesy interview.

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Quade gone - :thumbup:Ryno slapped in the face again, and might be going to St Louis - :cry:

I disagree totally. Epstein interviewed Ryno last year and it obviously took something from that interview. If he is certain he would not hire Ryno, he did the most professional thing he could instead of granting a courtesy interview.
I can see that. My only question is this: If one of the requirements is that they have to have managed in the big leagues, which is why Sandberg is excluded supposedly, why interview Mike Maddux? I may be incorrect here, but he has only been a pitching coach, right? I get that Sandberg isn't the guy in Theo's mind, and at this point, I'm willing to say "In Theo We Trust", but why say that and then interview Maddux?

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Quade gone - :thumbup:Ryno slapped in the face again, and might be going to St Louis - :cry:

I disagree totally. Epstein interviewed Ryno last year and it obviously took something from that interview. If he is certain he would not hire Ryno, he did the most professional thing he could instead of granting a courtesy interview.
I can see that. My only question is this: If one of the requirements is that they have to have managed in the big leagues, which is why Sandberg is excluded supposedly, why interview Mike Maddux? I may be incorrect here, but he has only been a pitching coach, right? I get that Sandberg isn't the guy in Theo's mind, and at this point, I'm willing to say "In Theo We Trust", but why say that and then interview Maddux?
I've heard it as him wanting someone with big league 'coaching' experience, not 'managing'.

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Quade gone - :thumbup:Ryno slapped in the face again, and might be going to St Louis - :cry:

I disagree totally. Epstein interviewed Ryno last year and it obviously took something from that interview. If he is certain he would not hire Ryno, he did the most professional thing he could instead of granting a courtesy interview.
I can see that. My only question is this: If one of the requirements is that they have to have managed in the big leagues, which is why Sandberg is excluded supposedly, why interview Mike Maddux? I may be incorrect here, but he has only been a pitching coach, right? I get that Sandberg isn't the guy in Theo's mind, and at this point, I'm willing to say "In Theo We Trust", but why say that and then interview Maddux?
I've heard it as him wanting someone with big league 'coaching' experience, not 'managing'.
thisI'll be rooting for Ryno no matter where he ends up.

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I'll be rooting for Ryno no matter where he ends up.

:thumbup::stirspot:

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I'll be rooting for Ryno no matter where he ends up.

:thumbup::stirspot:
And that would be fine(gulp)

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Epstein added that the process of hiring a manager will be done in a public way with the Chicago media having a chance to interview every candidate. Epstein and his group will evaluate how the candidates interact with the media.

Has this been done before?

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So, who's it gonna be? My money is on Maddux.

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So, who's it gonna be? My money is on Maddux.

That would be my guess. The Maddux angle is odd to me since both Mike and Greg are talking of family issues possibly preventing them from certain jobs. Yet, there is a possibility that Mike brings on Greg as the pitching coach. Does that eliminate the family isuues that Greg was concerned about? And is Mike less concerned about his family issues only if Greg is involved somehow? We know at this point that Epstein/Hoyer want Greg back in some capacity. Are they okay with him as a pitching coach and does Greg/Mike want that?

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SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs have offered their managerial job to Dale Sveum.

The Brewers hitting coach is also a candidate for the Red Sox' opening, but they're expected to extend their search for another couple of weeks. Sveum, 47, has no managerial expereince, but he's been around the game of baseball for his entire life and has been coaching since 2001. He's likely to make a decision within the next 24 hours.

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SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs have offered their managerial job to Dale Sveum.The Brewers hitting coach is also a candidate for the Red Sox' opening, but they're expected to extend their search for another couple of weeks. Sveum, 47, has no managerial expereince, but he's been around the game of baseball for his entire life and has been coaching since 2001. He's likely to make a decision within the next 24 hours.

Sveum was the Brewers' interim manager for a few weeks in 2008 after the curious mid-September sacking of Ned Yost. Sveum has 12 games of big league managing experience which makes him like Connie Mack compared to Matheny and Ventura.

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DeJesus is a solid if boring addition at a very good price. He is a plus defensive RF who is solid on the base paths. He has a career 284/356/421 while his 240/323/376 last year was hurt by a 42 point drop in his career BABIP. His K rate was the only other downturn in his advanced numbers but it was still only at 17% and could have been a result of him pressing due to the struggles. If he can bounce back, he can be a solid top of the order hitter against RHP with his average OBP year.

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Report: Chicago Cubs Make An Offer To Albert Pujols

The Chicago Cubs have reportedly submitted a bid for free-agent first baseman Albert Pujols, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

While the Cubs had previously been rumored to be interested in Pujols, along with fellow slugging free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, until now it had only been reported that the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins had made offers to the 31-year-old. According to the Post-Dispatch, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein met with Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday, and the paper was able to confirm that the team made a “qualifying bid,” for the longtime St. Louis Cardinals first baseman.

Since Epstein took over baseball operations for the Cubs this fall, the team has made their intentions clear that they wish to rebuild the Cubs in the hopes of bringing an elusive World Series title to Wrigley Field. Last season Carlos Pena served as the club’s first baseman and hit .225/.357/.462 for Chicago with 28 home runs and 80 RBIs. Pena is now himself a free agent, however Pujols and Fielder are viewed as potentially significant upgrades.

Pujols hit .299/.366/.541 with 37 home runs and 99 RBI for the Cardinals last season. The three-time Most Valuable Player has a career 162 game average of .328/.420/.617 with 42 home runs and 126 RBI.

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Report: Chicago Cubs Make An Offer To Albert Pujols

The Chicago Cubs have reportedly submitted a bid for free-agent first baseman Albert Pujols, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

While the Cubs had previously been rumored to be interested in Pujols, along with fellow slugging free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, until now it had only been reported that the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins had made offers to the 31-year-old. According to the Post-Dispatch, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein met with Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday, and the paper was able to confirm that the team made a “qualifying bid,” for the longtime St. Louis Cardinals first baseman.

Since Epstein took over baseball operations for the Cubs this fall, the team has made their intentions clear that they wish to rebuild the Cubs in the hopes of bringing an elusive World Series title to Wrigley Field. Last season Carlos Pena served as the club’s first baseman and hit .225/.357/.462 for Chicago with 28 home runs and 80 RBIs. Pena is now himself a free agent, however Pujols and Fielder are viewed as potentially significant upgrades.

Pujols hit .299/.366/.541 with 37 home runs and 99 RBI for the Cardinals last season. The three-time Most Valuable Player has a career 162 game average of .328/.420/.617 with 42 home runs and 126 RBI.

From my observations I assume they are trying to offer more money per in shorter deal. Probably 25M+ for 4 or 5 years. It seems that they are shying away from Fielder due to his fielding weaknesses and the idea that his build doesn't age well.

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Report: Chicago Cubs Make An Offer To Albert Pujols

The Chicago Cubs have reportedly submitted a bid for free-agent first baseman Albert Pujols, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

While the Cubs had previously been rumored to be interested in Pujols, along with fellow slugging free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, until now it had only been reported that the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins had made offers to the 31-year-old. According to the Post-Dispatch, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein met with Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday, and the paper was able to confirm that the team made a “qualifying bid,” for the longtime St. Louis Cardinals first baseman.

Since Epstein took over baseball operations for the Cubs this fall, the team has made their intentions clear that they wish to rebuild the Cubs in the hopes of bringing an elusive World Series title to Wrigley Field. Last season Carlos Pena served as the club’s first baseman and hit .225/.357/.462 for Chicago with 28 home runs and 80 RBIs. Pena is now himself a free agent, however Pujols and Fielder are viewed as potentially significant upgrades.

Pujols hit .299/.366/.541 with 37 home runs and 99 RBI for the Cardinals last season. The three-time Most Valuable Player has a career 162 game average of .328/.420/.617 with 42 home runs and 126 RBI.

From my observations I assume they are trying to offer more money per in shorter deal. Probably 25M+ for 4 or 5 years. It seems that they are shying away from Fielder due to his fielding weaknesses and the idea that his build doesn't age well.
Yeah, Fielder needs to just go ahead and head over to the AL. He's one injury away from being a DH for the rest of his career.

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Report: Chicago Cubs Make An Offer To Albert Pujols

The Chicago Cubs have reportedly submitted a bid for free-agent first baseman Albert Pujols, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

While the Cubs had previously been rumored to be interested in Pujols, along with fellow slugging free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, until now it had only been reported that the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins had made offers to the 31-year-old. According to the Post-Dispatch, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein met with Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday, and the paper was able to confirm that the team made a “qualifying bid,” for the longtime St. Louis Cardinals first baseman.

Since Epstein took over baseball operations for the Cubs this fall, the team has made their intentions clear that they wish to rebuild the Cubs in the hopes of bringing an elusive World Series title to Wrigley Field. Last season Carlos Pena served as the club’s first baseman and hit .225/.357/.462 for Chicago with 28 home runs and 80 RBIs. Pena is now himself a free agent, however Pujols and Fielder are viewed as potentially significant upgrades.

Pujols hit .299/.366/.541 with 37 home runs and 99 RBI for the Cardinals last season. The three-time Most Valuable Player has a career 162 game average of .328/.420/.617 with 42 home runs and 126 RBI.

From my observations I assume they are trying to offer more money per in shorter deal. Probably 25M+ for 4 or 5 years. It seems that they are shying away from Fielder due to his fielding weaknesses and the idea that his build doesn't age well.
Yeah, Fielder needs to just go ahead and head over to the AL. He's one injury away from being a DH for the rest of his career.
Don't be so sold on not getting Fielder. I think the overall plan may be.

1. Get Pujols on a 4 or 5 year deal.

2. Get Fielder on a max 6 year deal.

3. Move on to finding a platoon partner for LaHair.

All of his is dependent upon Pena expecting the multi year deal past the deadline to accept arbitration.

In other news, the Cubs also have been mentioned with Ian Stewart at 3B. He probably would platoon with DJ I suspect. Although rumors are they want DJ in return. He seems to be the solid defender with some cheap offensive upside that the brain trust is mining for.

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Report: Chicago Cubs Make An Offer To Albert Pujols

The Chicago Cubs have reportedly submitted a bid for free-agent first baseman Albert Pujols, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

While the Cubs had previously been rumored to be interested in Pujols, along with fellow slugging free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, until now it had only been reported that the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins had made offers to the 31-year-old. According to the Post-Dispatch, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein met with Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday, and the paper was able to confirm that the team made a “qualifying bid,” for the longtime St. Louis Cardinals first baseman.

Since Epstein took over baseball operations for the Cubs this fall, the team has made their intentions clear that they wish to rebuild the Cubs in the hopes of bringing an elusive World Series title to Wrigley Field. Last season Carlos Pena served as the club’s first baseman and hit .225/.357/.462 for Chicago with 28 home runs and 80 RBIs. Pena is now himself a free agent, however Pujols and Fielder are viewed as potentially significant upgrades.

Pujols hit .299/.366/.541 with 37 home runs and 99 RBI for the Cardinals last season. The three-time Most Valuable Player has a career 162 game average of .328/.420/.617 with 42 home runs and 126 RBI.

From my observations I assume they are trying to offer more money per in shorter deal. Probably 25M+ for 4 or 5 years. It seems that they are shying away from Fielder due to his fielding weaknesses and the idea that his build doesn't age well.
Yeah, Fielder needs to just go ahead and head over to the AL. He's one injury away from being a DH for the rest of his career.
...and Pujols and his elbow isn't :shrug:

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Report: Chicago Cubs Make An Offer To Albert Pujols

The Chicago Cubs have reportedly submitted a bid for free-agent first baseman Albert Pujols, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

While the Cubs had previously been rumored to be interested in Pujols, along with fellow slugging free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, until now it had only been reported that the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins had made offers to the 31-year-old. According to the Post-Dispatch, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein met with Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday, and the paper was able to confirm that the team made a “qualifying bid,” for the longtime St. Louis Cardinals first baseman.

Since Epstein took over baseball operations for the Cubs this fall, the team has made their intentions clear that they wish to rebuild the Cubs in the hopes of bringing an elusive World Series title to Wrigley Field. Last season Carlos Pena served as the club’s first baseman and hit .225/.357/.462 for Chicago with 28 home runs and 80 RBIs. Pena is now himself a free agent, however Pujols and Fielder are viewed as potentially significant upgrades.

Pujols hit .299/.366/.541 with 37 home runs and 99 RBI for the Cardinals last season. The three-time Most Valuable Player has a career 162 game average of .328/.420/.617 with 42 home runs and 126 RBI.

From my observations I assume they are trying to offer more money per in shorter deal. Probably 25M+ for 4 or 5 years. It seems that they are shying away from Fielder due to his fielding weaknesses and the idea that his build doesn't age well.
Yeah, Fielder needs to just go ahead and head over to the AL. He's one injury away from being a DH for the rest of his career.
...and Pujols and his elbow isn't :shrug:
Very true. I think the Cubs are seeing if they can get a favorable deal. If not as expected, they will move on quickly.

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Report: Chicago Cubs Make An Offer To Albert Pujols

The Chicago Cubs have reportedly submitted a bid for free-agent first baseman Albert Pujols, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

While the Cubs had previously been rumored to be interested in Pujols, along with fellow slugging free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, until now it had only been reported that the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins had made offers to the 31-year-old. According to the Post-Dispatch, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein met with Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday, and the paper was able to confirm that the team made a “qualifying bid,” for the longtime St. Louis Cardinals first baseman.

Since Epstein took over baseball operations for the Cubs this fall, the team has made their intentions clear that they wish to rebuild the Cubs in the hopes of bringing an elusive World Series title to Wrigley Field. Last season Carlos Pena served as the club’s first baseman and hit .225/.357/.462 for Chicago with 28 home runs and 80 RBIs. Pena is now himself a free agent, however Pujols and Fielder are viewed as potentially significant upgrades.

Pujols hit .299/.366/.541 with 37 home runs and 99 RBI for the Cardinals last season. The three-time Most Valuable Player has a career 162 game average of .328/.420/.617 with 42 home runs and 126 RBI.

From my observations I assume they are trying to offer more money per in shorter deal. Probably 25M+ for 4 or 5 years. It seems that they are shying away from Fielder due to his fielding weaknesses and the idea that his build doesn't age well.
Yeah, Fielder needs to just go ahead and head over to the AL. He's one injury away from being a DH for the rest of his career.
...and Pujols and his elbow isn't :shrug:
Very true. I think the Cubs are seeing if they can get a favorable deal. If not as expected, they will move on quickly.
I think inevitably he will go to the Marlins (i.e. the highest bidder).

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In other news, the Cubs also have been mentioned with Ian Stewart at 3B. He probably would platoon with DJ I suspect. Although rumors are they want DJ in return. He seems to be the solid defender with some cheap offensive upside that the brain trust is mining for.

And they trade DJ and Colvin for Stewart and Casey Weathers. No great loss on either player IMO. DJ could turn into a decent 2B with offensive upside. Neither player takes pitches so no surprise there. So far the Cubs have upgraded defensively at 3B and RF. We will see how much of a drop will exist on offense.In the Rule 5, the Cubs lost Ryan Flaherty and Marwin Gonzalez. So they have cleaned house of all of the AAA IF options of future major league fringe players.They picked up Lendy Castillo who has a 96 MPH arm but little else at this point. They might try to hide the A ball pitcher at the back end of the staff. They also took Ricky Alvarez, a 3B from LAA. No clue there.

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They also took Ricky Alvarez, a 3B from LAA. No clue there.

Alvarez was taken in the AAA phase of the draft, so it makes no difference to the major league club this year

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They also took Ricky Alvarez, a 3B from LAA. No clue there.

Alvarez was taken in the AAA phase of the draft, so it makes no difference to the major league club this year
Yeah, I knew that. I just can't find much about him. Seems like organizational filler to me.

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They also took Ricky Alvarez, a 3B from LAA. No clue there.

Alvarez was taken in the AAA phase of the draft, so it makes no difference to the major league club this year
Yeah, I knew that. I just can't find much about him. Seems like organizational filler to me.
Really hard to tell yet - Alvarez was in A ball last year and had ten home runs while hitting .274 in less than 500 AB, so he could be a young diamond in the rough - obviously they saw something they liked in him

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They also took Ricky Alvarez, a 3B from LAA. No clue there.

Alvarez was taken in the AAA phase of the draft, so it makes no difference to the major league club this year
Yeah, I knew that. I just can't find much about him. Seems like organizational filler to me.
Really hard to tell yet - Alvarez was in A ball last year and had ten home runs while hitting .274 in less than 500 AB, so he could be a young diamond in the rough - obviously they saw something they liked in him
Cedar Rapids is a positive ballpark in terms of HRs. Alvarez played almost three times as many games at 1B and DH as he did at third. He had 11 errors in 36 games at 3B.

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I want Fielder and Darvish for Christmas. :yes:

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I want Fielder and Darvish for Christmas. :yes:

You might get a Princely Christmas but no Yu for you

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I want Fielder and Darvish for Christmas. :yes:

You might get a Princely Christmas but no Yu for you
I have no legitimate info to believe this but I thing the Cubs are more likely to land Yu than they are Prince. I think Prince's next contract will balloon to numbers the Cubs aren't willing to match. Assuming there is some idea what Yu would cost contract wise, I could see the Cubs sinking enough money as a posting bid.

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I want Fielder and Darvish for Christmas. :yes:

You might get a Princely Christmas but no Yu for you
I have no legitimate info to believe this but I thing the Cubs are more likely to land Yu than they are Prince. I think Prince's next contract will balloon to numbers the Cubs aren't willing to match. Assuming there is some idea what Yu would cost contract wise, I could see the Cubs sinking enough money as a posting bid.
Is the posting fee a up-front lump-sum? If it is, the Cubs would probably be better off from a cash flow perspective in the long-term deal for Fielder. The team has some very bad contracts on the books now. Those will be gone by the second half of Fielder's contract term.Of course, I'm assuming the point is to turn a profit every year when in fact, that may not be the organization's priority at all.

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I want Fielder and Darvish for Christmas. :yes:

You might get a Princely Christmas but no Yu for you
I have no legitimate info to believe this but I thing the Cubs are more likely to land Yu than they are Prince. I think Prince's next contract will balloon to numbers the Cubs aren't willing to match. Assuming there is some idea what Yu would cost contract wise, I could see the Cubs sinking enough money as a posting bid.
Is the posting fee a up-front lump-sum? If it is, the Cubs would probably be better off from a cash flow perspective in the long-term deal for Fielder. The team has some very bad contracts on the books now. Those will be gone by the second half of Fielder's contract term.Of course, I'm assuming the point is to turn a profit every year when in fact, that may not be the organization's priority at all.
1) bid for posting fee has to be in by Wednesday2) IF you are the high bidder you have 30 days to reach a contract with the player3) IF you sign him you then have to pay the posting fee to his Japanese clubs in a lump sum4) if you don't sign the player to a contract, no payment involvedAll the clubs have to either put in a bid they are comfortable with OR guess how much the Yankees are going to bid

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I want Fielder and Darvish for Christmas. :yes:

You might get a Princely Christmas but no Yu for you
I have no legitimate info to believe this but I thing the Cubs are more likely to land Yu than they are Prince. I think Prince's next contract will balloon to numbers the Cubs aren't willing to match. Assuming there is some idea what Yu would cost contract wise, I could see the Cubs sinking enough money as a posting bid.
Is the posting fee a up-front lump-sum? If it is, the Cubs would probably be better off from a cash flow perspective in the long-term deal for Fielder. The team has some very bad contracts on the books now. Those will be gone by the second half of Fielder's contract term.Of course, I'm assuming the point is to turn a profit every year when in fact, that may not be the organization's priority at all.
In reality, I can't figure out if the Cubs really want Fielder. I am assuming he is going to get at least 8 for 200. I am thinking the Cubs new brain trust will avoid such a commitment (at least until a move away from contention) unless the player is a no brain plus defender and hitter for the length of the contract. That ain't happening but I don't think they will settle for Fielder unless the market comes back to them on a shorter deal.However, if they are sold on Darvish. I assume the lump sum up front isn't an issue since they earmarked a large portion of money for draft bonuses and international free agents that have now been curtailed. So Darvish will cost significantly more money this year when the Cubs are not going to add major payroll but will be much less costly going forward when the Cubs might be adding major payroll.

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Is it just me, or is the title of this article very misleading? I read it this morning and almost spit out my coffee.

Article

The off-season for the Chicago Cubs this winter is a rather unique and unusual process to the team’s fan-base. Throughout the Jim Hendry regime, the Cubs’ front office was very open in telling what there plan for the 0ff-seasons were thus allowing fans to anticipate the signings that Hendry eventually finalized. But with Hendry’s regime being victim of culture change at Wrigley Field, and Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer taking over the Cubs’ baseball department, the off-season experience this winter for Cubs is something that Cubs’ fans have yet to experience. For the first time in a long time, the Cubs’ front office are keeping their operations close to vest with little known about the direction that Epstein and Hoyer want to go in for the 2012 season.

On one hand there are rumors that the Cubs are willing to trade starting pitcher Matt Garza this winter, with the Texas Rangers being the most recent team to have discussions with the Cubs regarding Garza. But then rumors surface that the Cubs may have pursued Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson before the pair of pitchers signed with their new teams. If one were to speculate on the direction that the Cubs want to follow for the 2012 season, the best scenario would be to say that the Cubs want to rebuild but still contend in the division. With Albert Pujols no longer in the National League Central division, the St Louis Cardinals may not be on the level that they were when the team won the World Series this past season.

Another first baseman that is likely to improve the Cubs’chances of winning the National League Central division is Prince Fielder. Fielder is not expected to return to the Milwaukee Brewers, and if that is the case, the Brewers may struggle replacing the power production that Fielder brings to any lineup he is in. But Fielder leaving the Brewers may have a greater impact than Pujols leaving the Cardinals, mainly because there appears to be a good chance that Fielder will sign with the Cubs.

On the surface, the Cubs seemed to have a quiet week at the winter meetings in Dallas this past week. However that is not how general manager Jed Hoyer saw it. Hoyer believes the Cubs had a productive time at meetings suggesting that the team could finalize deals in the coming weeks that were a result of conversations had with various agents and teams this past week in Dallas. One conversation that Epstein and Hoyer had this week was with MLB super-agent Scott Boras. Boras represents Cubs’ free agent first baseman Carlos Pena, but on a larger note, Boras also represents Fielder. Unlike the Cubs’ conversations with Dan Lozano,the agent for Albert Pujols, it is widely believed that the Cubs are serious bidders for Fielder’s service. Joel Sherman, of the New York Post, reports that most executives view the Cubs as the most likely landing spot for Fielder. Whoever Sherman’s go-to executives are they seem to be credible, as it was Sherman who first reported–through talking to executives–that Epstein would be leaving the Red Sox organization for the Cubs.

There are two reasons why the executives told Sherman that Fielder will sign with the Cubs: the first being that Epstein wants to make a “statement sign” in his first year as Cubs’ president of baseball operations, and the other being that the Fielder is “one of the few bona-fide sluggers” who will be available over the next few years. Quickly running through the list of potential 2013 free agents, James Loney is the only first baseman of any significance to be on the market after the 2012 season.

If the key for the Cubs’ front office is to focus on the future, then Fielder would seem to make sense. Through the process of preparing for the future, the Cubs’ front office should realize that over the next couple of season there will not be an impact first baseman available that has the same Caliber that Fielder has. While the knock on Fielder is that he is best suited for the American League rather than the National League, his power display is something that the Cubs can not overlook. Fielder has a career line of .298/.424/.579/1.003 with 11 home runs in 49 games at Wrigley Field. Then add in the fact that Fielder is only 27, and the Cubs would have found their left-handed hitting run producer for the next five or six seasons.

Fielder and Boras are likely seeking a seven or eight year deal worth north of $2oo million, but if the Cubs’ offer Fielder a six year deal worth $150 million, it may be easy for Fielder and Boras to overlook the fact that the deal is not for seven or eight years.

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And the Cubs let go of Koyie Hill. That appears to leave the backup job to RH Wellington Castillo (strong arm, low contact/walk, good power) or LH Steve Clevenger (contact gap hitter, good eye).

And contracts were offered to arbitration eligible players Garza, Baker, Dewitt, Soto, Stewart and Wells.

Edited by boubucarow

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