Cubs

Cubs not a good fit for Pujols, Fielder

598326.png

Cubs not a good fit for Pujols, Fielder

Everybody is clamoring for the Cubs to sign Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols this offseason. The logic makes sense: The Cubs need to improve, have a wide open first base position and these are two MVP-caliber players. Oh yeah, and the Cubs have a ton of money.

But the last part is a bit false. They don't have that much money, largely because of the albatross contracts of Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano and even Ryan Dempster's 14 million.

Plus, one guy won't suddenly make the Cubs a playoff team, even if that guy is Pujols.

ESPN's Buster Olney concurs, tweeting Sunday:

embedly_twitter_77869802background:url(http:a3.twimg.comprofile_background_images146607075busterback2.jpg) 131516; padding:20px; embedly_twitter_77869802 pbackground:fff;padding:10px 12px 0px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:000;font-size:18px;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px embedly_twitter_77869802 .embedly_tweet_contentbackground:fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px embedly_twitter_77869802 p span.metadatadisplay:block;width:100;clear:both;margin-top:0px;height:40px; padding-bottom: 12px; embedly_twitter_77869802 p span.metadata span.authorline-height:15px;color:999;font-size:14px embedly_twitter_77869802 p span.metadata span.author aline-height:15px;font-size:20px;vertical-align:middle embedly_twitter_77869802 p span.metadata span.author imgfloat:left;margin:0 10px 0 0px;width:48px;height:48px embedly_twitter_77869802 p a color: 009999; text-decoration:none; embedly_twitter_77869802 p a:hovertext-decoration:underline embedly_twitter_77869802 .embedly_timestampfont-size:13px;display:inline-block;margin-top: 5px; embedly_twitter_77869802 .components-above span.embedly_timestampfont-size:10px;margin-top: 1px;line-height:12px embedly_twitter_77869802 a color: 009999; text-decoration:none; embedly_twitter_77869802 a:hovertext-decoration:underline embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-screen-name font-size: 14px; font-weight: bold; embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-full-name padding-left: 4px; color: 999; font-size: 12px; embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-actionsmargin-left: 10px;font-size:13px;display:inline-block;width:250px embedly_twitter_77869802 .components-above span.tweet-actionsfont-size:10px embedly_twitter_77869802 .controlsline-height:12px!important embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-actions a margin-left:5px embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-actions a bfont-weight:normal embedly_twitter_77869802 .components-above span.tweet-actions a bvertical-align:baseline;line-height:12px embedly_twitter_77869802 .components-above .tweet-textfont-size:13px;vertical-align:baseline embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-image float: left; width: 40px; embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-user-block-image float: left; width: 48px; height: 48px embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-row margin-left: 40px; margin-top: 3px;line-height: 17px; embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-user-block margin-left: -40px; embedly_twitter_77869802 .stream-item padding-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 12px; embedly_twitter_77869802 .simple-tweet-image img margin-top: 4px; embedly_twitter_77869802 .simple-tweet-content margin: 0 0 13px 0px; font-size: 14px; min-height:48px; embedly_twitter_77869802 .in-reply-to-border border-color: EBEBEB; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px 0 0; embedly_twitter_77869802 .in-reply-to-text margin-left: 4px; padding-left: 8px; padding-right: 10px; color: 999; font-size: 12px; embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-actions i background: transparent url(http:a2.twimg.coma1306889658phoeniximgsprite-icons.png) no-repeat;width:15px;height:15px;margin:0 4px -3px 3px;outline: none; text-indent:-99999px;vertical-align:baseline;display:inline-block;position:relative; embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-actions a.retweet-action i background-position:-192px 0; embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-actions a.reply-action i background-position:0 0; embedly_twitter_77869802 .tweet-actions a.favorite-action i background-position:-32px 0; @Buster_ESPN
Buster OlneyAnd neither Pujols nor Fielder is a perfect 1B long-term target for the Cubs -- Pujols because of his age, Fielder because of defense.
Nov 27 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

That's exactly the point. Even if Pujols is only 31 and his age was never doctored (a rumor I won't even touch on besides this mention), he's looking for a megadeal and the Cubs' new front office doesn't want to tie themselves down with a contract that will be paying a 40-year-old 23 million.

At four years younger, Fielder seems to be a safer option for a long-term contract. He would still be in his prime (at age 33) roughly six years into the deal. But even in the midst of his prime right now, he's a below-average fielder (despite his name) and will only lose range and possibly gain weight (given his body type) as he ages.

Olney makes the point that Fielder would be a better fit on an AL team where he could sign a 10-year deal and spend the last three or four years serving primarily as the designated hitter:

embedly_twitter_33800860background:url(http:a3.twimg.comprofile_background_images146607075busterback2.jpg) 131516; padding:20px; embedly_twitter_33800860 pbackground:fff;padding:10px 12px 0px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:000;font-size:18px;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px embedly_twitter_33800860 .embedly_tweet_contentbackground:fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px embedly_twitter_33800860 p span.metadatadisplay:block;width:100;clear:both;margin-top:0px;height:40px; padding-bottom: 12px; embedly_twitter_33800860 p span.metadata span.authorline-height:15px;color:999;font-size:14px embedly_twitter_33800860 p span.metadata span.author aline-height:15px;font-size:20px;vertical-align:middle embedly_twitter_33800860 p span.metadata span.author imgfloat:left;margin:0 10px 0 0px;width:48px;height:48px embedly_twitter_33800860 p a color: 009999; text-decoration:none; embedly_twitter_33800860 p a:hovertext-decoration:underline embedly_twitter_33800860 .embedly_timestampfont-size:13px;display:inline-block;margin-top: 5px; embedly_twitter_33800860 .components-above span.embedly_timestampfont-size:10px;margin-top: 1px;line-height:12px embedly_twitter_33800860 a color: 009999; text-decoration:none; embedly_twitter_33800860 a:hovertext-decoration:underline embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-screen-name font-size: 14px; font-weight: bold; embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-full-name padding-left: 4px; color: 999; font-size: 12px; embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-actionsmargin-left: 10px;font-size:13px;display:inline-block;width:250px embedly_twitter_33800860 .components-above span.tweet-actionsfont-size:10px embedly_twitter_33800860 .controlsline-height:12px!important embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-actions a margin-left:5px embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-actions a bfont-weight:normal embedly_twitter_33800860 .components-above span.tweet-actions a bvertical-align:baseline;line-height:12px embedly_twitter_33800860 .components-above .tweet-textfont-size:13px;vertical-align:baseline embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-image float: left; width: 40px; embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-user-block-image float: left; width: 48px; height: 48px embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-row margin-left: 40px; margin-top: 3px;line-height: 17px; embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-user-block margin-left: -40px; embedly_twitter_33800860 .stream-item padding-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 12px; embedly_twitter_33800860 .simple-tweet-image img margin-top: 4px; embedly_twitter_33800860 .simple-tweet-content margin: 0 0 13px 0px; font-size: 14px; min-height:48px; embedly_twitter_33800860 .in-reply-to-border border-color: EBEBEB; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px 0 0; embedly_twitter_33800860 .in-reply-to-text margin-left: 4px; padding-left: 8px; padding-right: 10px; color: 999; font-size: 12px; embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-actions i background: transparent url(http:a2.twimg.coma1306889658phoeniximgsprite-icons.png) no-repeat;width:15px;height:15px;margin:0 4px -3px 3px;outline: none; text-indent:-99999px;vertical-align:baseline;display:inline-block;position:relative; embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-actions a.retweet-action i background-position:-192px 0; embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-actions a.reply-action i background-position:0 0; embedly_twitter_33800860 .tweet-actions a.favorite-action i background-position:-32px 0; @Buster_ESPN
Buster OlneyAn AL team would be best-suited to be really aggressive on Prince Fielder, because it could project him as a DH at end of contract
Nov 27 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

But what AL team would be the best fit?

Reliving the magic of Nacho Man

Reliving the magic of Nacho Man

There have been so many memorable baseball moments between the Cubs and Cardinals throughout the years. 

In 1958, Stan  Musial collected his 3,000th hit at Wrigley.  

There was the “Sandberg Game” — June of 1984, where Ryne Sandberg hit a pair of home runs off Cardinals closer Bruce Sutter.

Skip ahead to 2008, when Ted Lilly collided with Yadier Molina at home plate during a game at Busch Stadium. Few could forget that.

Just a few years ago, Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch in what the Cubs viewed as retaliation, so Joe Maddon dropped the Soprano reference: “We don’t start stuff, but we will stop stuff.”

And last season, there was Addison Russell’s run-in with Nacho Man, which is likely to go down as the only collision to bring the two rival fanbases together.

It was something I witnessed firsthand. Sitting next to the Cubs dugout on the third base side in Busch Stadium that night, the play transpired so quickly it was tough to see from my vantage point.  As he often did, Russell broke backward for the foul ball and started sprinting towards the wall in left. I could tell from the crowd reaction that the Cubs shortstop didn’t make the play, but I could see that he was slow to get back to his position. It was about this time that the video board in center field showed the replay of Russell diving into the stands and crashing into a Cardinals fan who had lost his full plate of nachos.

Russell had nacho cheese all over his arm and I heard the dugout yelling, “Get him a towel! Grab a towel!”  As Russell wiped the cheese off his arm, a few of the coaches next to me were collaborating on a way to get some new nachos for the man. Within minutes, a tray of nachos were delivered to Dave Martinez — the Cubs' bench coach at the time — and later passed along to Russell. In between innings, the often-reserved infielder made amends by bringing out another order of nachos and taking a selfie with Nacho Man.

"Normally I don't do that, but being the case of me being nacho'd all over — my cleats even — I was like, 'you know what, why not?'" Russell said after the game. "A once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Within minutes, the video of this exchange went viral. Both myself and Jim Hayes of Fox Sports Midwest set out to get our in-game interview with Andrew Gudermuth, the Nacho Man. Not exactly hard-hitting journalism, but it was entertaining nonetheless and boy did Gudermuth enjoy his 15 minutes of fame.  

“I came to catch a foul ball, but instead I caught a Russell,” he joked.  

Which to be more accurate, Gudermuth’s poor girlfriend actually “caught a Russell.” If you watch the replay, she took the brunt of the hit, but what a good sport!

No doubt, an unforgettable night for all involved, and one that proved that one thing can bring Cubs & Cardinals fans together — nachos!

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

chris_gimenez_yu_darvish_signing_slide_photo.jpg
AP

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

Chris Gimenez, come on down.

The 35-year-old catcher isn't exactly a household name, but he's been signed by the Cubs to add backstop depth, according to Chris Cotillo and Ken Rosenthal:

The Cubs didn't have much depth in the catching department beyond Willson Contreras and inexperienced rookie Victor Caratini and while Gimenez doesn't light up the stat column, he's a link to Yu Darvish that could give the Cubs a unique advantage in that domain:

Darvish and Gimenez played together with the Texas Rangers in 2014-15 (though Darvish was hurt in 2015) and Gimenez has been shedding some light on what the free-agent pitcher may be thinking this winter. Is this Part II of a David Ross-Jon Lester personal catcher situation?

That may be reading a bit too much into things, as the Cubs were always going to sign a veteran catcher to provide depth beyond the unproven Caratini. They saw how important that was in 2017 when Alex Avila spent roughly a month as the starter when Contreras was hurt.

The link between Gimenez and Darvish is real, but the frontline starter has also made 48 starts over the last two seasons while throwing to a catcher not named Gimenez. And the free agent catching market is pretty thin beyond Avila and Jonathan Lucroy, both of whom should earn starter's money or close to it.

Gimenez has played 361 games in the big leagues over the last nine seasons as a journeyman, with stops in Cleveland, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Texas, Cleveland (again), Texas (again), Cleveland (again) and then Minnesota last year. He played for Cubs manager Joe Maddon and new pitching coach Jim Hickey while in Tampa Bay.

Gimenez turned in a career season in 2017 with the Twins, notching new highs in games played (74), at-bats (186), runs (28), hits (41), homers (7), RBI (16) and walks (33).

He has a career .218 batting average with a .309 on-base percentage, .345 slugging and .654 OPS. 

But Gimenez isn't just a catcher. He's made nine appearances as a pitcher over the last few years, including six in 2017, where he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.

Gimenez will probably compete with Caratini for the backup catcher role in Chicago and can lend a veteran presence. He's also the best bet to take for first position player to pitch in a game in 2018.