In comparison to previous off-seasons, the Cubs rumor mill has been particularly quiet. This could be a result of the regime change with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein now being the lead man in the Cubs’ baseball department. But as quickly as the fizz rises to the top after pouring a soft drink into the glass, the Cubs Hot Stove has switched from cold to sizzling. With the Winter Meetings set to begin next week in Dallas, many reporters are keeping an eye on the Cubs as they are projected to be one of the most active teams at those meetings. In perfect synchronization with the winter meetings, the Chicago Cubs rumors have picked up. Here is the latest from the Cubs’ rumor mill.
- In light of news breaking about the Cubs interest in free agent first baseman Albert Pujols, it would seem that there was an embargo on the story that was finally lifted. It could be a mere coincidence, but it seems awfully strange that ESPN Chicago, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, and the St Louis Dispatch all broke various degrees of news regarding the Cubs’ interest in Pujols. In addition to Pujols, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, are reporting that the Cubs are also pursuing Prince Fielder. However all the focus over the past 24 hours has been on Pujols. But it is my theory that the Cubs are using Pujols as way to disguise their interest in Fielder. Even though Pujols is considered by many to be the best player in the game, the multiple time MVP award winner is not a fit for what the Cubs are planning to do. At 31 years of age, Pujols likely is not going to be worth the next contract he is surely to receive. By the time the Cubs are ready to contend for a post-season spot, Pujols’ skill-set will likely be on the decline. With the Cubs perceived interest in Pujols, that will only drive up his price for the Cardinals. Meaning the Cardinals will likely be forced into making a bad deal in order to re-sign Pujols, the Cubs would then be able to sign Fielder. That would be a dream scenario for the Cubs. While Pujols turns into the next Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs would have a first baseman in Fielder that is only 27 and is one of the most prolific left handed power hitters in the game.
- In addition to the first base position, the Cubs will likely try to address their third base position next week at the Winter Meeting. A likely resolution to the Cubs’ third base vacancy is through a trade with a National League West team. As it stands, the Cubs are interested in two National League West third basemen. Troy Renck of the Denver Post is reporting that the Cubs have interest in Colorado Rockies Third Baseman Ian Stewart. Yes, the same Ian Stewart that hit .156/.243/.221/.464 with o home runs for the Rockies last season in 122 at bats. The Rockies will likely tender Stewart a contract, though the expectation is that they will try to trade the slumping third baseman. Believe it or not, Stewart is not as bas as an option as his 2011 production would suggest. Prior to the 2011 season, Steward hit 18 home runs in 2010 and 25 home runs in 2009. Though his flaws would be that he does not put up much of a batting average nor an on base percentage, and is no different than Aramis Ramirez when playing the third base position. In addition, multiple local reporters are linking the Cubs to San Diego Padres’ third baseman Chase Headley. Cubbies Crib already mentioned Headley as a possible trade target for Epstein and the Cubs, and the 27 year old Headley would appear to be a long-term fit for the Cubs at the third base position.
- With David DeJesus now embedded as the Cubs’ new starting right fielder, this could signal that a trade involving Alfonso Soriano may not be too far off. With Tyler Colvin no longer being in the right field picture, he could be an option to fill the vacant left field position once Soriano is traded. The Oakland Athletics are one team that is believed to have expressed interest in Soriano. As the case with most trade discussions, Soriano rumors will likely pick up as we head into the Winter Meetings next week.