Cubs

Cubs re-thinking stance on FielderPujols sweepstakes?

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Cubs re-thinking stance on FielderPujols sweepstakes?

OK, now the Cubs may be in on the Prince FielderAlbert Pujols sweepstakes. But not for the reasons you would think.

Yes, the two first basemen are elite sluggers and impact players. However, because of the new collective bargaining agreement just reached last week, the Cubs are acknowledging that the road to building the team from within will be a lot tougher, according to FoxSports' Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal.

The new CBA is placing new restrictions on spending in the amateur draft and since teams lock up their big-time bats earlier in the player's career, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are apparently acknowledging the road to building the team back to sustained success is harder.

Which is why the two have suddenly changed their mind on pursuing Fielder and Pujols. Allegedly.

Rosenthal and Morosi are citing their major-league sources on all this. It's possible Theo is just leaking word of this to those "sources" to let the rest of the league know the new Cubs' front office is for real and they're ready to turn things around immediately.

Or maybe it's completely true and the new brass on the North Side really has changed their stance on pursuing one of the sluggers.

So which one will it be?

RosenthalMorosi state "sources" (there's that word again) think the Cubs are more interested in Pujols who, despite his age (3 years older than Fielder), is a better defender and in better physical condition than Fielder, whose body type is one of the major concerns for bidders.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I am still of the opinion neither guy signs with the Cubs. The idea Theo and Hoyer have is sustained success. They want to be like the Cardinals (three World Series appearances in the past decade). Not like the Cubs under Jim Hendry who threw a boatload of money at guys like Alfonso Soriano in an effort to just get over the hump and appear in even one World Series. Now how's that Soriano contract looking?

Stay tuned, as if Rosenthal and Morosi are right, this could become a big saga, especially with the Winter Meetings next week in Dallas.

Potential Kris Bryant trade market becomes clearer after Anthony Rendon lands with Angels

Potential Kris Bryant trade market becomes clearer after Anthony Rendon lands with Angels

The first domino of this offseason’s third base market has fallen.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, free agent Anthony Rendon is set to sign a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

The Texas Rangers were also linked to Rendon in recent days, but they’ll now have to shift their focus elsewhere. Texas’ attention is now on the other superstar free agent third baseman — Josh Donaldson — as MLB.com’s TR Sullivan reported. The same can be said about Rendon’s former team, the Washington Nationals.

This leads us to the Cubs and Kris Bryant. With Rendon off the board and Donaldson soon to follow, a potential trade market for the Cubs third baseman is growing clearer.

Only one of the Rangers and Nationals can sign Donaldson, not to mention his most recent team — the Atlanta Braves. When Donaldson’s domino falls, two of these teams will be left empty-handed in their pursuit of a third baseman.

The Los Angeles Dodgers also were linked to Rendon, though they don’t necessarily need a third baseman with Justin Turner manning the hot corner. Their pursuit of Rendon points to how they’re willing to shift Turner off third base, however. Add them to the list of teams seeking third base help.

Add that all up, and you have four teams in the market for Donaldson. The Cubs aren’t guaranteed to trade Bryant, but they’ll soon find themselves with some leverage. For the three teams that don’t land Donaldson, the most logical move will be to inquire with the Cubs about trading for Bryant. The Nationals have already inquired about Bryant, according to MLB.com's Jon Morosi.

Bryant’s unresolved grievance case will be an issue in any potential negotiations. The difference between two years of control (if he loses) and one (if he wins) is big when it comes to his value. Even though they’ll have leverage over interested teams, the Cubs will yield stronger trade proposals for Bryant if he loses his case.

But, again, a trade is no certainty. What is certain is teams will be inquiring about Bryant in the not-so-distant future, once Donaldson chooses his free agent destination.

Brewers reportedly sign pitcher Josh Lindblom to address rotation need

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USA TODAY

Brewers reportedly sign pitcher Josh Lindblom to address rotation need

The Brewers are looking overseas to address a rotation that has been one of their biggest weaknesses in recent seasons.

According to multiple reports, Milwaukee is signing 32-year-old Josh Lindblom to a three-year deal. It’s worth $9.125 million but can max out at more than $18 million, should Lindblom hit certain bonuses, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

The Cubs also had discussions with Lindblom, according to MLB.com's Jon Morosi, before he reached a deal with the Brewers.

Lindblom has pitched in parts of five big league seasons since 2011, most recently with the Pirates in 2017. The right-hander holds a career 4.10 ERA in 114 games (six starts) but he remade himself during a successful stint pitching in South Korea in recent seasons.

From 2018-19 with the Doosan Bears, Lindblom went 35-7 with a 2.68 ERA, striking out 346 batters in 363 1/3 innings. He was named MVP of the KBO in 2019. Some of Lindblom's success can be attributed to the splitter he featured in his repertoire.

Lindblom’s name doesn’t jump off the page, but he’s a low-cost addition for the Brewers and is returning stateside an improved pitcher. Milwaukee finished 14th in starting pitcher ERA in 2019, but that figure was a not-so-great 4.40. They traded mainstay Zach Davies — who had been a rotation mainstay since 2016 — to the Padres two weeks ago.

Lindblom joins a rotation featuring Brandon Woodruff, Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer (acquired in the Davies trade). The Brewers also have 25-year-old Corbin Burnes and 23-year-old Freddy Peralta as starting options. The duo struggled in 2019 (Burnes: 8.82 ERA, 32 games/four starts; Peralta: 5.29 ERA, 39 games/eight starts), so the guess here is the Brewers aren’t done shopping for pitching.