Cubs fans: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder or neither?
Continue Reading - Pages: 1 2
Well, it appears Theo Epstein and crew are going all-in and going after both of the top prizes of this year’s free-agent class. Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder would each instantly make the team the favorite in the NL Central, mostly by subtraction from the team that loses them. But would either of them make the team a World Series contender?
Most fans in Chicago thought the Cubs were going to go through a rebuilding process. You know, shed some payroll, let the terrible contracts of Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano expire — much like their talent — and build up the farm system. Everyone I talked to was willing to be patient and let the new regime put together a team built for the long haul. But if they land one of these guys, the spending isn’t going to stop with them.
So, what option do you want Cubs fans?
Pujols is the best player in the game. He is arguably the best overall right-handed hitter since Jimmy Foxx, and when you have a chance to get a guy of his caliber, you do it. It just throws a wrench in the plans. I mean, he is going to want to win … now. He has two World Series rings, including one on the way from this season, and at 31, surely doesn’t want to play for a team that isn’t ready to win another one.
He is a three-time MVP and has finished in the top-five in voting 10 times during his 11-year career. He has made nine All-Star appearances and has won two Gold Gloves. His 162-game averages are as follows:
162 G 123 R 43 2B 42 HR 126 RBI .328 AVG .420/.617/1.037
He is the active leader in batting average, slugging and on-base plus slugging. He had his worst season this year and still hit .299 with 37 home runs and 99 RBIs. Even when he gets injured, he comes back weeks before doctors said he would. He is, by all means, a machine.
He isn’t going to come to Chicago unless they upgrade, i.e., spend more money than the already $200MM+ they will have already spent on him. This means acquiring a starter or two to a rotation that currently has two dependable ones in Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster. Nobody knows what Zambrano will contribute this season. Randy Wells looked good at times but still has issues with his consistency. Andrew Cashner is coming off a shoulder injury that caused him to miss most of the season, and we still don’t really know what he can do. And Casey Coleman? Come on.
This means going after a guy like C.J. Wilson, who reportedly wants a $100MM contract, which is something he won’t get. Or the “crafty lefty” Mark Buehrle. The 32-year-old will probably get somewhere in the neighborhood of four years and $60MM. After that, it starts to go downhill with guys like Edwin Jackson, Paul Maholm and Erik Bedard. These are patchwork guys who will cost the team a lot of money because they are “veterans” and “inning eaters.” The cost of a hot dog just went up again.
Oh, and then there is Yu Darvish. The next great Japanese pitcher who could post his name and cause a bidding frenzy. Bring your own hot dogs if the Cubs make a play for him.
The bullpen needs help, too. Carlos Marmol has devastating stuff, but his control gets ridiculous at times. The market is now thin on closers as Jonathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan, Heath Bell, Jonathan Broxton and Matt Capps have all either re-signed or signed with another team. Ryan Madson and Francisco Cordero are still out there as potential targets. Kerry Wood will most likely be re-signed and Sean Marshall is a quality arm, but after that, the team will have to look at free agency for help.
Aramis Ramirez will have to be brought back to add some protection for Pujols in the lineup. He will have all the leverage knowing that they need him in the lineup and could get more money than he is worth. I could see him getting a four-year, $60MM deal. His defense isn’t very good these days but he is still a big-time run producer. With Ramirez, this lineup would be good enough to compete for a title:
Everything would depend on the pitching. They can’t stand pat with what they currently have if they sign Pujols. They will need to spend and spend big. All in all, you are looking at another possible $150MM+ in contracts at about $40-50MM per year with Ramirez, the bullpen and the starting-rotation upgrades.
Share and Enjoy
Continue Reading - Pages: 1 2