Cubs looking at Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols has a 9 year/210M offer on the table from the St. Louis Cardinals and a "hey fans look at us" offer from the Miami Marlins.  Other than that he just hasn't been getting a whole lot of attention.  Maybe it's the Cardinals offer that's scaring teams away.  As we read yesterday, one source has already said, "There's a 100% chance he signs with St. Louis."

Well, according to both Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FoxSports, the Cubs are "pursuing" Albert Pujols.  Of course, the extent of that pursuit is unknown.  Is it a Miami Marlins kind of pursuit or is it a legit one?  Are they doing this simply to make the Cardinals up the ante on their offer?

For what it's worth, Rosenthal gives the following reason..

...Sources say the Cubs are more willing to go long-term with Pujols, who is the better defender according to advanced metrics.

I'm sure Epstein's advanced metrics also tell him how his performance should start to decline over a 9 year contract too, so I'm not sure that answer is satisfactory to me.

There's no way the Cubs are going to go 9 years.  The only way they beat this deal is go with a higher annual average salary.  In his current offer from St. Louis, the yearly average comes out to $23.3.   Could the Cubs offer a 4 or 5 year deal at $30M  per season?

Even if they went to those tremendous heights, what's the appeal to Pujols?  That would mean after the 4 years were up he'd have to pull in a $90M offer at age 35 (or $60M deal at age 36) to match the overall value of the Cardinals.  That's not going to happen even for someone of Pujols' caliber.  I suppose the lure could be to be the highest paid player in the game and perhaps to set a new standard for first baseman, but that's giving up a lot of money down the road for the sake of pride.

Call me skeptical on this for now.  I believe these guys sources when they say the Cubs are pursuing Fielder.  What I'm not sold on is the seriousness and intention of their pursuit.

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  • No Way. Need to go our own way--LaHair @ First. Spend the money on PITCHING!!!

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    I'd rather the Cubs build up their pitching too -- spending big money on it is risky though, too. Anyway, I'm not sure how legit this is and how far the Cubs would be willing to go.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    For the life of me, I can't understand why people believe this is an either/or proposition. I refuse to believe that with the brain power that the Cubs have assembled in the FO that they are looking at this as narrowly as some Cubs fans are (this really isn't directed at you GoCubs).

    This is what we know: (1) The Cubs will most likely have a new 1B and 3B next year; (2) the Cubs began 2011 with a roughly $134MM payroll; (3) Cubs currently under contract for 2012 are owed roughly $68MM in payroll; (4) the Cubs have 6 arb eligible players who might add another $20MM to the payroll; and (5) given the players under contract, the team is probably going to be approximately $40MM under what they started last season at payroll-wise.

    This is assuming that Zambrano and Soriano are back, which I think are huge assumptions.

    So, we absolutely know that we'll need to add players to this team; a 1B and 3B are a given, but we'll probably need to add another OF or 2, a backup C, and starting pitching. The question is why couldn't you add a Fielder for $25MM and still add pitching? If the draft isn't your best option anymore, then suddenly you have to open a lot of boxes to figure out what the best option is. I'm not saying it is Fielder or Pujols, but it certainly need not be LaHair, and it certainly need not be sacrificing Fielder or Pujols because you are going to sign some pitchers.

  • In reply to JB88:

    Very true. We are lucky enough to be in market where we can do both.

    On a related subject, the same applies to the idea of being competitive now or rebuilding. This also need not be an either/or situation. The Cubs have the resources, and most importantly right now, the right people to juggle both of these tasks. There's no reason the Cubs can't work to field a competitive team next year while simultaneously looking to build an organization that can sustain long-term success.

  • In reply to JB88:

    JB88...

    Noted. I am against signing anyone to long term contract--that is all. I don't mind getting Pujols or Fielder for 4-5 years--but not more. I firmly believe that one builds a team that contends every year by having "topnotch" starting pitching and pitching in general. If you have that, then you can get other ingredients to take it where it needs to go. No position players is worth 7-8-9 years of guaranteed contract--especially when they in their late 20s or early 30s...

  • i think this is a case of theo being theo and trying to drive up the price on the cardinals. i appreciate him for doing this because im pretty sure the cardinals dont wanna give pujols one more cent than what theyve already offered him, and i really hope im right because i really dont think pujols fits with the direction the club is going in.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    That's the story I'm going with right now too. It just doesn't make a lot of sense. I can see Theo throwing out a lot of disinformation too in order to keep his true intentions close to the vest.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think this all really, really depends on who is leaking this information. If this is coming from the Cubs, the Cubs are probably not interested in Pujols and are instead using the media to drive up Pujols' price tag for the Cards, but and I think this is the more likely scenario, trying to drive down the price on someone else. That could either be a trade target or Prince Fielder.

    If this is being leaked by the agent, he could be trying to up the price on Pujols or trying to create a larger market.

    As buttoned up as this front office is, I'd be extremely curious to know from whom this information is coming.

    As for actually trying to sign Pujols, you can't do 9 years, not for an NL team, no way. The most I could see would be 7 years, and only if the 7th year was an option year or if the contract had a limited No Trade clause (like a no trade for the first 5 years and then a fully tradeable contract in the 6th and 7th years). The point is, with that many contingencies, I just can't see the Cubs even making a real offer. Pujols just doesn't really make sense for what the Cubs are trying to do. I see this as a negotiating ploy and nothing more.

  • In reply to JB88:

    I like that idea and it does make a lot of sense -- especially if the Cubs really do have interest in another player.

    There's a lot of disinformation going on right now. Motives for any leaked rumors should always be questioned.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm hoping Theo is pulling a Scott Boras and making the Cardinals bid against themselves. Boras famously made the Tigers bid against themselves for Magglio Ordonez and overpay him, when no one was even close to what the Tigers paid.

  • If Theo looks at the Cubs recent history he will see that long term
    contracts are not the way to go. Its nice to have a superstar on the
    team, but at what affect on the teams long term future. Lock up
    own young players to long term contracts only if they are worth it.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    This goes against what they were saying they would do so I have to believe there's some other motivation for pursuing Pujols -- if it's true at all.

  • I think this is Theo and Jed doing Pujols and Fielder's agents a solid. Agents want to get a big market team "into the mix" so when a team like say the Nationals come calling the Agent can establish a high market negotiating starting point. "Well the Cubs want to make a Splash so I couldn't even begin to entertain anything less than 6 years and (blank) dollars..."

    Fielder I'll take seriously. because there doesn't seem to be impact hitters on the FA market in two-three years. Elsbury and Cano will most ikely be resigned y their teams for example. So if it was possible to sign a 30 year old Fielder in 3 years might be enticing enough to sign two-three years earlier. Pujols, that just seems like a smokescreen.

    With today's news I'd just like to say that the last time I saw a game at Dodger stadium I sat right next to the Dodger bullpen. Every time I looked into it, Jonathan Broxton was scratching himself..... Broxton in a city famous for it's BBQ, this could get ugly.

  • In reply to felzz:

    Haha..so if Broxton refuses to come out of the bullpen one day, we'll know why.

    Excellent point, felzz. There is a lot of this sort of gamesmanship going on this time of year. Helping out agents and possibly driving the price up on your rivals is something that could pay dividends later.

  • I really could see Theo offering him 30 million for 5 years. The Cardinals owners would not be willing to match. And that would be appealing to Albert. And he is worth it, people are underestimating this offseason just what a rare type of player he is.
    I also believe that it has come down to being the highest paid player in the game for Pujols. Did you know that in the 8 years of the contract he just played out, only one of those years was he in the highest 25 players in baseball, and that year he was only 18th. 4 out of the 8 years, he was not even the highest paid player on the Cardinals. Pride is a big thing with this man, and I believe he feels like he has not gotten his due respect in terms of money vs. other players in the game.

  • This would be the only way I could see Pujols leaving the Cards, giving him the highest annual average salary deal even if it's for about 1/2 the years St.Louis is offering.

  • "Albert Pujols has a 9 year/210M offer on the table from the St. Louis Cardinals"

    Whaaaaa?? Is that for real? That sounds like some old school Cubs management stuff.
    At that level the silly boys are bidding against themselves. Maybe the percieved threat of Cub competancy scared them into doing something dumb?

  • In reply to eaton53:

    That's the's word out there. Cards seem to do a lot of dumb things and get away with it. The baseball gods always seem to smile on them. I don't think this is so bad, though. Pujols is worth a lot to the franchise even beyond his production on the field. Much like Derek Jeter w/the Yanks, it's hard to overpay him if you're the Cards. They'll get that money back.

  • isn't going after high price free agents go against everything epstein says? Also the team has to still get from under those back loaded deals.

  • In reply to Evan Moore:

    That's a good point and exactly why I'm not completely sold on this yet, Evan. Right now I think it's just gamesmanship to get the price up on Pujols.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You know I've advocated from the beginning that the Cubs need to make sure Pujols price gets run way up. WAY up.

    Every dollar that goes to him takes away elsewhere. That's a lot of bucks tied up for them in two guys...

  • They need to push hard and make the Cards pay out the nose. I am down here in the St. Louis area, you should see how people are going crazy with just a rumor about the Cubs obtaining Pujols this morning. It would be a public relations disaster for St. Louis. And Pujols and his agent Lozano know that for sure. Theo should use that leverage to at the very least make a division rival pay over market value.

  • Now this makes a lot of sense. Nice call.

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    I really hope that this is some ploy to drive up the price for the Cardinals. Pujols' numbers have gone down in succession for the past 4 years in everything from slugging percentage to batting average. If Theo really emphasizes on paying players for "future production", signing Pujols would be hypocritical of the new brain trust of our Cubs. While I would not offer a major contract offer to Pujols, I would do so for Fielder. He is still young and in his prime. I just hope that if the Cubs do offer a contract to Fielder, it does not exceed over 7 years. We learned with Soriano and Zambrano how ugly those contracts can get. Get Fielder, if not then develop internally and get prospects. Theo has a 5 year window, I expect us to be competitive at least by the third year.

  • In reply to Marc Butiong:

    I'd say Fielder is more likely between the two but I have my doubts on either. I don't see the Cubs going more than 5 years on Fielder and some team, like the Nats, will probably top that.

    I'm hoping we can be competitive a little sooner, possibly this year but definitely by next year. And by competitive, I mean, playing good baseball and making teams work to beat us. That has not been the case the last two years. I'm hoping we can improve by 8-10 games with better pitching and defense alone.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree with that statement about Fielder. I feel that even with last year's team however, we were one big bat away from contending. We were just missing that and another starting pitcher I feel. Or maybe I'm just relishing the past. But if Matt Garza is in fact available as I've been reading the past few hours and the Cubs do send him away for prospects, I feel that we are at least two years away from contending with that move. Unless if the prospects we receive are major league ready. I actually would not mind that move if it gives us top-notch prospects in return. The Cubs sent away 5 prospects for Garza so something similar in return would not be bad. Then at that point, trade anyone and all except for Castro. I feel that if Garza moves it would ignite a domino effect for the rest of the offseason.

  • In reply to Marc Butiong:

    I'd definitely say those two things would have helped immensely. One thing I would add as well is that we need much better defense.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I definitely agree with that sentiment. Defense has never been a staple for the Cubs for as long as I can remember. Hopefully the change in philosophy that comes with Epstein and Co. will place more emphasis on that because it is grossly overlooked today. I just wanted your opinion on something. How would you feel if the Cubs went out and signed Jose Reyes? The guy had a great year and can be great at the top of the lineup. Then move Castro to third? I know that Cub fans may be up in arms over that but it would add speed to our offense and more production. Guess it depends on how much Reyes wants.

  • In reply to Marc Butiong:

    Reyes fits a lot of what the Cubs are looking for, but I don't see them being involved right now. He's asking for too much money and there's a lot of risk. It's not just Reyes, but that goes for all the really high priced FAs

    I also think the Cubs people, not just the fans, want to see Castro stay at SS if possible. And Reyes defense has been slipping since his injury. It seems that his range has been more affected than his speed.

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