Cubs Concerned About Making Another Mistake


Look at the position the Cubs are in; they are a bad team that is struggling to rebuild because of the bloated contracts that are currently on the team. Whether it be Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Dempster, or soon to be ex-cub Carlos Zambrano the Cubs have not had the best of luck when it comes to investing a lot of money into one player. But with Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols being the top prizes in this winter’s free agent market, the Cubs figure to be tempted to once again invest a lot of money into one player. But that does not mean that they are going to.

Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted during last night’s baseball game between the Rockies and Cardinals that “in some important corners of the Cubs’ front office, there is concern about investing huge money in one player this winter.” As with Bob Nightengale tweeting this past weekend that general manager Jim Hendry will be retained after the season, the same rumor caveat applies. Considering Olney–like Nightengale–is a national reporter, his sources within the Cubs’ front office may not be as connected as the sources that some of the local reporters have. Having said that, Olney is a credible reporter who provides accurate information. Especially for ESPN, where a reporter has to have three separate sources confirm before making the information public.

Many fans point to the contracts of Soriano, Ramirez, and Zambrano and blame Hendry for making those decisions. The Hendry apologists out there like to take some of the blame off of Hendry and put it on the Tribune company, suggesting the former ownership group forced Hendry to sign the high-priced free agents in order to add value to this team. But that does not make complete sense. In the case of Soriano, Hendry has always been interested in the outfielder dating back to this days with the Texas Rangers. Not to mention that Hendry outbided himself by at least one year and $36 million. The same can be said about the Milton Bradley contract, as it was believed that Hendry offered one more year and an additional $10 million than any other team was willing to commit. With that in mind, I can understand if there are people second-guessing whether or not Hendry should be allowed to once again invest heavily into one player.

But there is a good chance that Hendry will not be the one to make that decision. Despite Nightengale’s suggestion over the weekend, many of the local reporters have refuted Nightengale’s tweet that Hendry will be back next season. In fact, after listening to a few reporters and reading various tweets/reports, there seems be consensus that the chances are 60/40 that both Hendry and Mike Quade will not be back next season. In that case, the next general manager–Brian Cashman perhaps–will have to decide whether or not to spend big on one player this winter.

Of course, Fielder and Pujols are special type of players. So special that the Cubs’ front office should not worry about their past mis-handlings, and focus on landing either one of the two premier free agent first baseman. But, there are concerns about each player. With Pujols, who is seeking a 10 year contract, his next contract is going to take him into his late-30s or even early-40s. Meaning teams will be paying mostly for the decline of Pujols, instead of the Pujols we have grown accustom to seeing in recent seasons. As for Fielder, the concern is over whether or not he is durable enough to continue playing in the National League or if he eventually will be better off in the American League. However, Fielder is more athletic than people give him credit for and shouldn’t face any difficulty in terms of his durability. But the reason why the Cubs would be wise to throw the money at Fielder instead of Pujols is because Fielder is only 28 and still has his prime years in front of him.

Hendry or not, the Cubs should not let their past failures be the reason why they do not pursue Fielder or Pujols. Either player would bring an instant change to not only the team, but the organization as well.