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Change didn’t go down the way I thought it would for Chicago at the Winter Meetings. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen eventually.
It could begin as early as this week with Pujols no longer a distraction and Epstein and Hoyer having spent three solid days in Dallas spinning their wheels on potential deals.
The lone trade by Chicago last week, Tyler Colvin for infielder Ian Stewart, appears to have put to rest the Cubs’ opening at third base. Now the focus remains on solidifying the opening at first base beginning with Prince Fielder.
While the Cubs believe they can sign Fielder with a ‘creative’ contract, I suspect his asking price will remain too high for serious consideration.
Not to mention, with plenty of suitors available, it only takes one team to go all ‘Angels’ on us and offer Fielder his desired seven-years, mega-dollars and the moon.
If that’s the case, however, the Cubs are still in a strong position to land another quality first baseman starting in-house with Carlos Pena–who I’m on the record as saying I’d love to see back with Chicago next season.
Albert Pujols signing with the Angels didn’t surprise me. Anaheim paying $52M more than Miami’s 10-year offer did.
In fact, I got a good laugh Thursday morning when I heard the news about Pujols. Not because of the ridiculous money involved, but because I never once thought any team would surpass the Marlins’ $200M offer…by a whopping $52M, no less.
So with the Pujols decision being what it is, here’s both the good and bad news from it concerning the Cubs.
Talk about buzz-kill. Baseball’s Winter Meetings wrap up this afternoon and the Cubs have yet to make any moves.
But that’s been par for the course while the rest of the league appears content on standing pat until Phat Albert decides where he’ll play next season.
The good news, if you want to call it that, with the Marlins pulling out of the Pujols sweepstakes is Chicago still remains in the hunt.
If Miami’s 10-year, $200M offer isn’t good enough for Albert we can fairly assume he’s either heading back to St. Louis or reconsidering taking a shorter deal–and possibly one rumored to have been offered by the Cubs.
It’s hard to imagine the Cubs will parlay Pujols or Fielder into a short-term mega-deal to sign with the Cubs.
At least, not with the Marlins reportedly offering Albert 10-years at $200M and Fielder being courted by multiple suitors willing to shell out ridiculous money and years, as well.
Not to mention, for Chicago to sign either player would require Theo to break from his own code, one which emphasizes making the smart money picks over the sexy ones.
And it’s remarkably clear the severe payroll risks of signing either Pujols or Fielder out weights the gains they could bring the Cubs on the field.
So much for Len & Bob as the Cubs best leadoff man. WGN’s dynamic duo has been unseated with the arrival of David DeJesus.
Right away it appears Epstein/Hoyer share a similar idea Jim Hendry had two years ago when the Cubs signed Joey Gathright–a speedy, left-handed hitting outfielder–to bat leadoff.
As you remember, the Gathright signing was short lived. Through 20 games he batted .214 with one stolen base, no extra base hits and six strikeouts. Hendry subsequently dealt him to Baltimore for Ryan Freel on May 8, 2009.
Freel was even worse than Gathright statistically posting a .143 avg. in 14 games with one steal, one RBI and seven strikeouts. And by July 2, 2009, Freel was DFA to make room for the newly acquired Jeff Baker from the Colorado Rockies.
Surprisingly, the Cubs have been without a typical leadoff man ever since.
1.) Tom Ricketts’ wise understanding as team owner.
2.) Pujols or Fielder?
3.) Did the Cubs really lose Maddux again?
1.) What I’m most happy about this offseason is Tom Ricketts’ willingness to allow Theo Epstein the opportunity to build the Cubs as he sees fit.
Basically, Ricketts is staying out Theo’s way, which is something we don’t see often enough from owners in pro sports be it baseball, football, basketball or hockey.
Starlin Castro pinch runs in the fifth for Tulo.
He steals second, then advances to third on a pitch in the dirt.
Is thrown out at home on a nice play by Angels closer Jordan Walden.
Final line: 0-1, strikeout, two stolen bases.
-Castro brought his mother, father and two brothers with him to the game. Courtesy, Bruce Levine
Terrible television: former Cub great Mark Grace interviewing Justin Timberlake during the fourth inning.
Interesting television: David Ortiz’s son doing his batting impersonations of Jose Bautista, Kevin Youkilis…and of course, Big Papi!
-Big fan of baseball returning to players wearing their current uniforms during the All Star game. The digs of recent All Star games should remain in the past.
-Prince Fielder is the first Brewer to homer in an All Star game–a three-run shot against the Rangers C.J. Wilson in the fourth inning.
Only two franchise have yet to host the Mid Summer Classic: Tampa Bay & Florida
As a National League guy, I was pained by years of losing the All Star game. Finally, two in a row…but a long ways away from the American League’s recent domination.
National League Wins
1994 – Pittsburgh, NL 8-7
1995 – Texas, NL 3-2
1996 – Philadelphia, NL 6-0
American League Wins
1997 – Cleveland, AL 3-1
1998 – Colorado, AL 13-8
1999 – Boston, AL 4-1
2000 – Atlanta, AL 6-3
2001 – Seattle, AL 4-1
2002 – Milwaukee, Tie 7-7 (11 inn.)
2003 – Chicago (AL), AL 7-6 *This one counts
2004 – Houston, AL 9-4
2005 – Detroit, AL 7-5
2006 – Pittsburgh, AL 3-2
2007 – San Fran, AL 5-4
2008 – New York (AL), AL 4-3 (15 inn.)
2009 – St. Louis, AL 4-3
National League Wins
2010 – Anaheim, NL 3-1
2011 – Arizona, NL 5-1
Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan
“One of these years, the players in Major League Baseball are going to look at the dumbest rule in the sport – the All-Star game determining home-field advantage in the World Series – and ask themselves how they tolerated something so backward, so inane and so downright wrong for as long as they did.”
Jose Bautista hits 50 home runs and baseball fans talk about 50 dingers like it means something again. Really?
Albert Pujols hit 47 last year. Ryan Howard hit 48. Just three years ago A-Rod (54) and Prince (50) hit the 50-mark. Heck, in 2006 Howard hit 58, David Ortiz 54!
Bautista’s achievement, albeit a terrific one, isn’t exactly remarkable.
The guy’s hit 50 home runs, which is very respectable, but it’s not 60, and it’s not 70. To speak as though is silly.
It seems baseball fans want Bautista’s mark to mean more than is really does.
No question it’s our way of moving forward from the Steroids Era.
We want our sacred records back, and of course, more 50 homer seasons to cheer for. But this time around we want them clean, we want them real.
We want Jose Bautista, not A-Fraud.
Sure, 50 is worth celebrating, but to think we’ll never see 50 again, c’mon!
I’ve said many times that Bud Selig is not the bonehead many believe him to be.
Is he guilty, however, of some boneheaded moves as the Commissioner of Baseball?
Without question, yes.
The significance of World Series home field advantage being tied to the All Star game is perhaps, at the top of his stupidity list.
It’s not that I don’t welcome a competitive game between both leagues, but a meaningful game played under exhibition rules makes zero sense.
They’re two options to enhance the Mid Summer Classic.