Will Fielder End Up with the Cubs? … and Other News and Notes

The baseball world is still buzzing about Albert Pujols’ decision to spend the next decade on the West Coast. In between talking all things Pujols, the speculation of which team could land Prince Fielder continues to pick up steam. And, despite Theo Epstein’s recent statement about the Cubs not having enough money to sign him, many think Prince Fielder will end up signing with the Chicago Cubs.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post talked to executives during the recently completed Winter Meetings and the feeling among those executives is that “Chicago is where Fielder will most likely end up.”

Those same executives believe “Theo Epstein will make a statement sign in his first season as Cubs’ president” and Epstein will also take into consideration “the lack of power available on the market over the next few years.”

If Sherman and others are right, could Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer ink Fielder to a short-term (five-year) guaranteed contract with a high AAV that includes opt outs that would allow Fielder to cash in more down the line? Rumors have suggested that’s the type of contract the Cubs would like Fielder to sign in order to play first base for the team on the North Side of Chicago.

Less than 24 hours after acquiring Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers from the Rockies for Tyler Colvin and D.J. LeMahieu, the Cubs’ front office made another roster move. The Cubs claimed minor league infielder Jeff Bianchi off waivers from the Kansas City Royals.

The Cubs could, and should, be very active over the next few weeks as they look to get their roster in order leading up to the convention in mid-January.

Here’s the update …

News, Notes and Rumors

Tony Campana was voted the winner of the 22nd annual Tony Conigliaro Award on Friday. The award is presented to a Major League player who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage. Campana overcame Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a kid. Campana will be honored January 19 at the 73rd annual Boston Baseball Writers Association of America dinner.

Ian Stewart is happy to be a Cub and was welcomed by his former Rockie teammate, Jeff Baker via text Thursday night. Stewart does not think he needs a change of scenery but that regular, consistent playing time will help him perform better. Fangraphs broke down why Ian Stewart needed a new home.

According to the Tribune, even if Prince Fielder does not sign with the Cubs, he could impact the team’s future. Depending on where Fielder lands, Gaby Sanchez (Marlins), Mark Trumbo (Angels), Kendry Morales (Angles) or Mitch Moreland (Rangers) could become available. With the recent signing by the Angels, Morales is a non-tender candidate.

Teams have until Wednesday, December 14 at 5:00pm ET to submit bids for Yu Darvish. The Cubs are rumored to be interested in Darvish and if so, Epstein and Hoyer have until Wednesday to submit their bid for the right to negotiate a contract with Darvish. Once the silent bids are submitted, Darvish’s Japanese team has until Tuesday, December 20 to decide whether to accept the bid or not. The team with the winning bid has 30 days to work out a contract with Darvish. Between the posting fee and contract, some think Yu Darvish could end up costing around $100 million.

Jim Hendry is ready to return to work. Hendry has talked to numerous teams about joining their front office according to a report from Bruce Levine.

Jim Bowden (MLB Radio Network/XM Radio) thinks Prince Fielder ends up with the Rangers on an eight-year, $192 million contract and Yu Darvish ends up in Texas as well on a four-year, $75 million deal. The former GM also sees Aramis Ramirez inking a three-year, $36 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers could re-engage their talks with Aramis Ramirez next week according to Tom Haudricourt. With the Angels spending $325 million this past week, the Brewers are seen as the favorite to sign Ramirez.

According to Jon Heyman, Carlos Pena could be an option at first base for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Former Cub, Sean Gallagher signed a minor league deal with the Reds. The Cubs selected Gallagher in the 12th round of the 2004 draft. Gallagher was one of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects before he was sent to the A’s, along with Matt Murton, Eric Patterson and Josh Donaldson for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin in July of 2008.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today put together an excellent report on how the Albert Pujols deal got done … and the extra revenue from the Angels’ new TV contract did not hurt either.

And last but not least, a big tip of the cap to all of the readers and commenters here at the CCO. During the Winter Meetings, the site broke records on consecutive days for the number of page loads before setting an all-time high on Thursday … from everyone at ChicagoCubsOnline, thank you very much.

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

For the latest news and rumors, follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax