The Domino effect: What Pujols, Wilson signings means for the Cubs

The Domino effect: What Pujols, Wilson signings means for the Cubs
West is that way

Well, perhaps Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer haven't been quite as idle as we think they've been.  By staying in the race for Albert Pujols -- or at least allowing people to think they were in the race, he was able to drive the best hitter off the best team in the NL Central.  The Cubs just picked up about 6-7 games on the Cardinals without signing a player.

It also remains to be seen how the Pujols signing affects the market for Prince Fielder, does Seattle up the ante to try and compete in what is suddenly a loaded AL West (well, at the top anyway)?  The Cardinals are expected not to make a run at Fielder and instead they will fill the gaping hole internally with Lance Berkman.  Rather than Fielder, I could see them making a run at Carlos Beltran to take Berkman's OF spot.

Also, if the Cubs sign Fielder themselves, does it mean they can suddenly contend in a vastly weakened NL Central?

Then there is the Angels signing of CJ Wilson and how it affects the Matt Garza trade talks. The Angels have seriously upped the ante in the AL West and may even be considered the favorite right now over Texas.  They stole their best pitcher and have picked up the best hitter in baseball.  The Rangers really need to upgrade their own pitching staff to keep up.  They may make a play for Yu Darvish, but wouldn't they rather have an established pitcher with a known track record of success in baseball's toughest division?

The Cubs have every right now to go for the throat and demand Jurickson Profar.  He is the closest thing to a sure thing as there is in that system.  Texas can either keep him and wait while the Angels steamroll them for the next 2-3 years or they can make a move now.  Of course, they can turn to Gio Gonzalez or Jair Jurrjens, but neither is the pitcher Garza is. Garza has the potential to head straight to the top of that rotation.  In fact, if you went by WAR or FIP, he'd be their #1 starter.

 

 

 

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  • I was just thinking, I feel bad for the Astros. Just when they thought they rid themselves of Pujols. They get nine more years of him.

  • If I'm TEX, I'd rather have Darvish and the prospects.
    So, they won't do anything until the winning bid is known.

  • In reply to Norm:

    They could go after Darvish, but considering how much better the Angels staff is than the Rangers, are they really willing to pay so much for a pitcher that isn't a sure thing?

    When Theo won the bid for DiceK, he was as sure a stud pitcher as any one who ever came out out of Japan. That hasn't worked out very well.

    So the Rangers can roll the "Dice" if they want to.

  • In reply to Norm:

    I'd say that's reasonable, Norm.

  • John,

    Any chance the Pojols signing changes the Cubs strategy as far as competing in 2012? With Pujols gone, if the Cubs sign Fielder away from the Brewers, we are right in the thick of it, no? I still don;t think you give Fielder more than 5-6 years, but if they could swing it, you think they pull the trigger? If some guys play better this year (dempster, Soto) and a few younger guys like Jackson andCashner prove to be productive, why couldn't we compete in this weak division.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    I think it has to, especially if the Cubs sign Fielder and pick up a couple of pitchers and improve the defense.

    If the Cubs make a serious play for Fielder and hold on to Garza, all bets are off.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hope they stick to the plan. The Cubs are still lousy, and the Cards, Brewers and Reds are all still better. The Ratbirds are getting Wainwright back, the Brewers won't lose much if Fielder leaves but they put mediocre players at 1B and SS (Betancourt is a replacement level player), and the Reds are still dangerous. Stay the course, Theo.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    The Cubs are a big market team. That means they can afford to compete while rebuilding, especially with the new dynamic in this division. The Cubs do have money, but lack prospects. So you can sign a free agent without hurting yourself. I think you still take a Garza deal if it is an overwhelming one, but even then with Fielder we can compete in this division. Besides, how much better is this team simply with a coaching and philosophy change alone? It is hard to see, but despite how lousy they were and were expected to be, they were actually underachievers. A good coach alone can probably add or subtract 5-10 games a year. Coaching your players to grind out at bats and get on base also dramitically increases your ability to score runs. Two things Theo/Jed/Svuem will almost certainly do.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    I'm not saying don't sign free agents. I'm saying don't overpay and hamstring yourself in the future. The Cubs don't have much of a foundation for success right now. I'd rather they play it conservative, solidify that foundation, and then crush the rest of the division when the system is rebuilt.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I think they will by and large stick to the plan. They could work in younger guys like Darvish and Fielder -- but they won't overbid or sign them to long term contracts.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Big "if"

    If we don't wind up with Fielder, then we all have to bite the bullet and accept that 2012 is a rebuilding year (not that that is necessarily a bad thing).

  • I wouldn't be totally surprised if this ignites the Rangers into really doing some things.

    What if they sign Fielder, go after Darvish, and trade for Garza!!

    Talk about Yankees and Red Sox west coast version!!

  • I am beginning to think that with Albert in L.A., the Cubs would now go heavily after Prince. What better way to weaken Mil. and gain a little on both of the top two teams in the Central than to sign a huge power bat away from the Brewers?

  • In reply to supercapo:

    FWIW, Peter Gammons just said he thinks the Cubs will be serious players, but they'll be stealthy about it.

    It seems a Cubs signing of Fielder and the Cards loss of Pujols could tip the balance of power quite a bit.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John,

    Any word on the compensation to Boston and San Diego now that the Rule 5 is over?

  • In reply to supercapo:

    Not yet. Will have something when I know.

  • I think Theo and Jed are going to change their game plan, but they
    could wait until Monday's non-tender period is over. Lets hope
    today somebody is ready to give them what they want for Garza.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    There could be some guys in NT that interest them. Kendry Morales would be one if he's healthy.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Kendrys has got to prove he's 100%, and I still don't buy it.

  • In reply to KillerK:

    I don't think he is 100% right now. If the Cubs acquire him, it'd have to be on the cheap because they'll probably have to DL him when he starts the season. Then when he gets back he'll have to rehab, he'll have been out of the game 2 years, needs to get his timing back. He's a talent but we can't just assume he'll be the guy he was 3 years ago.

  • fb_avatar

    The Cubs still need pitching. Remember there pitching staff was horrendous last year. Theo and company will address the pitching staff and it seems they will look to go young. They have passed up a few veteran pitchers already. I don't expect the Cubs to sign Fielder for 200+ mil, 8+ years.

  • In reply to Danny Guerra:

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cubs land Fielder, but I highly doubt it will be for more than 5 years. What younger pitchers do you see the Cubs going after? Their rumored interest in Kiroda, who is as old as Moses, doesn't inspire me. I would rather see them bring in a few younger arms and let them grow with the club.

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    In reply to supercapo:

    Scott Boras is Fielder's agent and he mentioned that Fielder won't accept anything less then 7 years. I'd like the Cubs to go after Darvish. Will they? Maybe. He's young and he looks like the best japanese pitcher ever. His stats are incredible in Japan also.

  • In reply to Danny Guerra:

    They will make a bid for Darvish but probably not considered the favorites. But with Theo you can never be sure about anything, I suppose.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Just my opiinion, I think they will be 1rst or 2nd in the bidding. I seen videos of this guy pitching and he's definitely the real deal. In 2011, Darvish had a 1.44 ERA in 232 innings, striking out 276. Again, as far as Japanese baseball goes, he’s as good as it gets.

  • In reply to Danny Guerra:

    He's a legit #2. Cubs will bid, that is the only thing I'm fairly certain about.

    Word is now that Texas will go all in on Darvish and Fielder. Like the Cubs, they also have plenty of money to do both.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Here's a nice article concerning the Texas Rangers and Darvish. http://rangersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/12/report-yu-darvish-to-be-posted.html
    Its looking better for the Cubs.

  • In reply to Danny Guerra:

    "Fielder won't accept anything less then 7 years"

    ...and if no one offers anything more than 6 years? Is he going to quit baseball for a year and teach yoga?

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    In reply to untitledreality:

    Pujols just received 250 million for 10 years at the age of 32. Pujols numbers are better then Fielders but not by much. Fielder is 27 years old. Scott Boras is the best of the best at getting max dollars and max years. I think Fielder gets at least 8 years+.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    Ha! True enough..He'll have to settle for 5 if that's all he gets, but given the way the market has gone so far, can you blame Boras for thinking he'll eventually get what he wants?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Boras can think whatever he wants... and all it ever takes is one idiot for that to happen... but who out there is willing to commit $200mm and 8 years for Fielder?

    The usual big spenders are on the bench (Red Sox and Yankees), the Angels just dropped $330mm, the Rangers don't need offense, the Phillies have Howard, the Mets are rebuilding, no way the Marlins have another $20mm/year to throw around, the Cardinals are set with Berkman at first, the Dodgers are being sold, the Cubs seem firmly entrenched in seeking out the most beneficial deals possible.

    The market seems too small for him to push teams from 6 years up to 8+. Heck, the only reason Pujols got 10 years is because the Cardinals and Marlins were offering 9 years to start... but no one is starting bids on Fielder at 7 or 8 years.

  • With Pujols to the Angels i'm starting to worry about the Cards making a big play for Fielder. They've demonstrated that they have the funds, i'm just concerned they are now going to use them. Someone please tell me i'm way wrong on this one...

  • In reply to socalcub:

    I'd be surprised if they go after Fielder. If anything I think they go for someone like Beltran and just stick Berkman at first.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John,

    How could I forget about the Big Puma. Now I can sleep at night...

  • So how much do have to thank the new CBA for this glorious day? Does this contract happen under the old agreement? I think maybe not.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Ha! I tweeted something similar yesterday.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think there's definitely cause and effect ... though the money involved (esp on Buehrle and Wilson) is just ridiculous.

  • the signing of pujols to the angels has to make them think about non tendering kendry morales. IMO he puts the cubs in the perfect situation. we would have to give up nothing to get him because he would be a free agent. he wont make any more than 5 mil next year. and he probably wont be ready for opening day so we can give lahair a shot for the first few weeks of the season. he should be able to hold his own for the first month at the very least. when morales is ready to return we can ease him back into the game by having him and lahair split time.

    hes a switch hitter, 28 years old, hits for average and has hit 45 hr's in his last 750 plate appearances. for less than 5 mil you have to take the gamble that hes gonna regain his health and come back strong.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Morales would be a nice pickup if he's healthy. That's a big IF. He's only owed $3M, it concerns me that the Angels would give him up so easily if he were healthy and capable of putting up good numbers.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    They are almost in a position where they have to though. It concerns me too though.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't see the Angels non-tendering Kendry Morales. They'll look to trade him for some value.

  • I think a trade is probably more likely but they don't have a lot of leverage unless they DH him. Looks like he still may not be ready for opening day so it wouldn't cost much. I certainly wouldn't trade or pay a lot for him at this point. But maybe that's what works for the Cubs, hold on to your assets and make a few upside plays.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    It's worth the gamble in my eyes to swoop Morales for something cheap, say... Tyler Colvin? I'm just throwing a name out there. It's much better then Ian Stewart...

  • In reply to Danny Guerra:

    I don't know if it should even cost that much unless they truly believe he can be healthy and contribute for most of the year.

  • Hey, the White Sox are having a fire sale. Time to take advantage, yes?

  • In reply to KillerK:

    Sure, if the asking price is reasonable, as it was for Sergio Santos? But not if it's the kind of price they're asking for on Jon Danks.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Maybe if we have Alex Anthopolous (sp?) call up Kenny and give him the scouting reports on our guys, he'll take 2 low A ballers for Danks? :)

  • Do you think Theo and Jed are going to wait and see whos not tendered on Monday and then make some moves.

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