Weekend Update … Rumors, Rumors and More Cubs Rumors

Is the Cubs’ new regime looking to tie up loose ends and possibly complete a few deals before the holidays? After the Winter Meetings Jed Hoyer indicated the Cubs pushed several things forward while they were in Dallas. As Jon Paul Morosi reported the next week could be very busy throughout baseball … it always has been. But will the Cubs be in the middle of the action.

The Cubs are rumored to have a lot of interest in Prince Fielder, despite what they are saying publicly. While Fielder would be the big splash some are looking for and hoping the Cubs will make, there has also been quite a bit of noise about the Cubs’ interest in Paul Maholm and Coco Crisp.

Then came the little trade between the Reds and Padres on Saturday.

The Reds added a very good, young pitcher in Mat Latos for a package of Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger. Not only did the Reds increase Matt Garza’s value that is if the Cubs decide to trade him instead of build around him, Cincinnati also provided the Cubs with another possible option to fill their hole at first base … Anthony Rizzo. The Padres acquired Rizzo from the Red Sox in the deal for Adrian Gonzalez last winter.

Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod selected Anthony Rizzo in the sixth round of the 2007 draft … and McLeod once said Rizzo has the best makeup of any player he’s ever drafted.

Here is the update, including more on Prince Fielder and of course, the news, notes and rumors … plus is Carlos Marmol on the block?

The Daily Fielder
The reports and rumors about the Cubs interest in Prince Fielder continued on Saturday. Again, for every report that indicates the Cubs are interested in Fielder, there is one that says they are not.

Bruce Levine addressed the Prince Fielder rumors leading off Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) on Saturday morning. All of Levine sources, as well as the sources of a majority of the national writers, continue to indicate the Cubs are interested in signing Prince Fielder.

Levine discussed what Dale Sveum said on Friday about the fact he and no one with the Cubs has spoken to Fielder directly. Levine said that could be the case, that the Cubs and Sveum have not talked to Fielder … but they have talked to Scott Boras about the slugging first baseman. However, the extent of those conversations is unknown.

Levine broached the question, could Boras just be using the Cubs as a way to up the price on Fielder? Levine does not think so but said it could be a possibility. The player’s union and Boras are looking for a high AAV for Fielder that is the most important thing to the agent and the union. The player’s union wants the player to always sign the largest contract possible … especially players the caliber of Prince Fielder.

According to Levine, Boras could be looking for a CC Sabathia/Alex Rodriguez type contract that includes an opt-out clause. In other words, a three, four or five year guaranteed contract with an opt-out that would allow Fielder to hit the free market again around the same age as Albert Pujols just did … and in Alex Rodriguez’s case, it allowed him to re-negotiate a bigger contract.

The Cubs Way‘ right now appears to be getting younger, getting athletic and building for the future. Signing Prince Fielder would be a start in that direction according to Levine and Jonathan Hood … the Cubs could build around Fielder.

Levine brought up the fact the Cubs’ marketing department is in desperate need of something positive after two fifth place finishes.

Would signing Fielder be viewed as a way to appease the fan base and help sell tickets? Or, would signing Fielder be a good start for an organization that is looking to build a winner with sustained success?

While the terms of a contract are important and should not be ignored, the Cubs should take the money out of the equation and decide whether or not the player fits into their plans … both in the long and short-term.

Paul Maholm and Joe Saunders
The Cubs are looking to add a lefty to the rotation and are interested in Paul Maholm according to Bruce Levine and Dave Kaplan. According to Levine (Talkin’ Baseball, ESPN 1000), Joe Saunders is going to cost more than Maholm (total dollar amount and length of contract).

Paul Maholm might fit as the lefty the Cubs are looking for … an adequate Major League starter that if healthy could give the Cubs a lot of innings.

Anthony Rizzo
Not long after the Mat Latos deal was announced on Saturday afternoon, speculation immediately became that the Cubs would go after Anthony Rizzo. Jim Bowden thinks the Cubs could acquire Rizzo in a package for Matt Garza … but Garza’s escalating salary does not fit with the payroll-challenged Padres. Rizzo is a big-time prospect that would seem to be a fit a Wrigley. He hit in the minors but struggled in the majors in limited time last season.

Jon Heyman confirmed the Cubs interest in Anthony Rizzo late Saturday night.

Anthony Rizzo’s Page on Baseball-Reference

News, Notes and Rumors
According to Bruce Levine (Talkin’ Baseball, ESPN 1000), the Cubs continue to talk to the Marlins about Carlos Zambrano. One of the pieces that have been mentioned coming back to the Cubs is Chris Volstad.

During Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000), Bruce Levine mentioned the Cubs interest in Coco Crisp … and also Alfonso Soriano hitting fifth in one possible lineup scenario. The top of a possible lineup Levine tossed out for discussion … Crisp, DeJesus, Castro, Fielder and Soriano.

Jon Heyman confirmed the Cubs interest in Coco Crisp on Saturday afternoon.

The rumors of the Cubs trying to move Alfonso Soriano made quite a bit of noise last week, but could the Cubs actually move him if they are willing to eat $45 million of the $54 million left on Soriano’s contract? Levine addressed those rumors Saturday morning and he thinks Soriano will start the season with the Cubs … unless the Ricketts family is willing to write a $54 million check for him to go away.

Bruce Levine does not really see another option for the Cubs at first if they do not sign Prince Fielder or re-sign Carlos Pena. Levine does not see Bryan LaHair as a legitimate, long-term option at first base for several reasons … his defense is questionable and how is he going to hit at the big league level. Levine thinks LaHair could be a stopgap on a team that might win 70 games.

David DeJesus tweeted Friday night, “Number 9 it is!” and changed his twitter account. If DeJesus is referring to his jersey number, did he buy the number from Blake DeWitt or could something else be on the horizon?

According to Jim Bowden, the Red Sox continue to pursue bullpen help … and could be looking at Carlos Marmol. Bowden said the Bosox are looking at Andrew Bailey, Carlos Marmol and Joakim Soria as options on the trade market while keeping in touch with free agent Ryan Madson.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

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Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein