Many of the rumors swirling around about the Chicago Cubs, are about their expected pursuit of Nationals slugger Adam Dunn, who is expected to hit free agency shortly after the World Series concludes. Reports have gone so far as to say Dunn is the Cubs top priority this winter. However, their is expected to be a lot of interest in Dunn this off-season which is expected to drive up his price. Currently, Adam Dunn is looking for a 4 year deal at about $60MM, which is about $15MM per season.
The Chicago Cubs payroll is expected to go down this winter, meaning Jim Hendry might not have the resources available to pursue Dunn. Hendry is probably hoping that with his good relationship with Dunn, and Dunn’s admiration for Chicago, Dunn may take a pay cut just to come to the north side.
Even if the Cubs had the resources available to go out and sign Dunn, I don’t think giving him a 4 year deal at $15MM per year is the right move to do. Hendry has been criticized over recent year for his poor contract handling when it comes to signing free agents. Considering that Adam Dunn is a very poor fielder, and the number of errant throws this season from Aramis Ramirez and Starlin Castro, Dunn is probably not a great fit for the Chicago Cubs. Although no one can argue with the potential of his offensive input, if he were to come to the Cubs.
On the chance that Dunn is not coming to the Chicago Cubs, let’s look at some of the other options the Chicago Cubs are looking at to fill their need for power hitting first baseman. All of whom, would presumably be cheaper than signing Adam Dunn.
Carlos Pena- Bruce Levine first reported the Cub’s interestin Pena, as they have had their top scouts follow Pena as the season was coming to a close. The biggest concern with Pena, is that his average has been dropping for the past four years now, while his power number are still pretty strong. Pena finished the season hitting .198/.325/.407 with 28 home runs and 84 RBI’s. Even though Pena is a good defender, and would come on a reduced rate, I don’t see the Cubs willing to sign to him.
Aubrey Huff-Chicago Tribune Cubs reporter Paul Sullivan has consistently thrown out Huff’s name over the past few weeks. The Cubs showed a lot of interested in Huff when he was an outfielder, and they probably will take a look at him if he hits the open market. Huff,34, hit .290/.385/.506 with the San Francisco Giants this year, while hitting 26 home runs ans driving in 86. It is not known yet, if the Giants are going to re-sign Huff.
Adam Laroche- The Chicago Cubs have also been scouting Laroche over the past month, according to Bruce Levine. Laroche is not a bad option, considering he is one of the youngest of all the Cubs targets. The biggest concern with Laroche, though is he may come with attitude issues, but nothing that is considered as major. With the Arizona Diamondbacks this year, Laroche hit .261/.320/.468 with 25 home runs and 100 runs driven in. For the most part Laroche is a good defender, although he uncharacteristically made 11 errors this year at first base.
Lyle Overbay- MLB.Com Cubs insider Carrie Muskat threw Overbay’s name into the mix todaywith her weekly mailbag. Overbay, who will be 34 when the season starts, probably is not the power hitter the Cubs are looking for. While he did have 20 home runs this season, his career averages are usually around 15 0r 16. Which is why, the Chicago Cubs probably will take Overbay into serious consideration.
Xavier Nady-The option of re-signing Xavier Nady is still on the table. As Nady has said in the past, that he is open to coming back to the Chicago Cubs in 2011. But considering that Nady has already gone through two Tommy John Surgeries, and the lack of power he has showed this season, I doubt the Cubs would bring him back as a starter next season.
Of all the options, Adam Laroche appears to be the best candidate out of all of them. He is relatively young, and would come at a cheap price. However, if the Cubs are able to save money by trading Carlos Silva and Kosuke Fukudome, then they may be able to afford Adam Dunn.