Dan Lozano is a busy man. The agent that represents top free agent Albert Pujols is likely to be in high demand this week in Dallas at the Winter Meetings. With the first full day of the Winter Meetings beginning to wrap up, most teams are still trying to feel out respective agents, teams, and representatives when it comes to possible transactions. Lozano spent the day meeting with the Miami Marlins–who signed Jose Reyes, and now are focused on Pujols–but before the Marlins, the Cubs were the first team to have a word with Pujols’ agent.
Which is why when Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted this afternoon that the Cubs’ met with Lozano, speculation began that the Cubs are a serious suitor for the free agent first baseman. The one thing people tend to forget when rumors like these break is that an agent does not represent one player and that player only. Agents have a handful of clients, and Lozano represents more free agents than just Pujols. One of those players is free agent starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez. Lopez went 6-6 with the Cubs last season posting an ERA of 4.42 while starting 16 games and appearing in 26 games overall.
Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times seems to confirm the idea that the Cubs talks with Lozano today were focused around Lopez and not Pujols. While the Cubs having interest in re-signing Lopez is surprising, under the right terms, a reunion between Lopez and the Cubs would make sense. Lopez is certainly not the type of pitcher that the Cubs should install in their rotation for an extended amount of time, but if signed to a minor league deal, he would provide good insurance to the Cubs’ major league pitching staff.
But back to reason most of you went into this article after seeing the title “Theo Epstein and Dan Lozano have a chat.” The Cubs are trying to put it out there that they have “interest” in Pujols, and one of the ways they can achieve that perception is by coordinating with Lozano. The Cubs and Lozano have a common goal. That is to get Pujols’ the most money possible, and in the Cubs case, make sure the team paying Pujols is not currently in the National League central division. Even if Pujols does wind up with the Cardinals, the Cubs would still benefit by forcing the Cardinals into offering more money than they originally set forth for Pujols.
The Cubs are not going to sign Pujols, but they are going to have a say in his next contract. A strategy that Epstein was famous for while the general manager of the Boston Red Sox.