Cubs

Does Fielder signing affect Cubs-Tigers trade rumors?

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Does Fielder signing affect Cubs-Tigers trade rumors?

Now that Prince Fielder has inked a megadeal with the Tigers, what does that mean for the Cubs?

For one, it just assures the NL Central will be without the slugger until at least the end of his prime (barring a trade or opt-out clause in the contract). It's great for the Cubs that they won't have to face Albert Pujols or Fielder in 60 or so at-bats each season. Maybe that will be enough to bring Cubs pitchers back down a more respectable level in 2012 after a less-than-stellar '11 season.

The Fielder deal also affects the trade market for certain Cubs.

For one, the Tigers were one of the teams allegedly in big on Matt Garza. It hasn't worked out that way so far and with all the money thrown at Fielder, Detroit needs cheap pitching. The Tigers currently don't have a surefire No. 5 starter without turning to a rookie -- like Jacob Turner, whom the Cubs wanted as the centerpiece of a deal for Garza.

Garza will earn at least 7.95 million in arbitration for 2012, which is awfully expensive to a team that will pay three separate guys at least 20 million in 2012 as well as Victor Martinez 13 million to sit on the disabled list all year. If Garza wins arbitration and his '12 contract is 12.5 million, that may count out the Tigers completely.

Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski vehemently denied any interest in trading for Garza before, but he also denied any interest in Fielder and look what happened there. It's possible Garza is still on the table, but maybe not for Turner, according to Dan Dickerson, the radio voice of the Tigers. Check out the video on the right for more from Dickerson.

The Fielder signing also probably puts the Tigers out on possible Alfonso Soriano or Marlon Byrd trades. There really haven't been any rumors here -- only speculation -- but there's no way the Tigers would want to take on either of these guys' contracts, even if the Cubs eat some money.

If Detroit moves Miguel Cabrera to third base and plays Prince Fielder at first, they would still have an opening at DH, but Byrd or Soriano probably aren't good fits, if only for their price.

Cubs agree to deal with free agent outfielder Steven Souza, per report

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USA TODAY

Cubs agree to deal with free agent outfielder Steven Souza, per report

The Cubs have made a roster move.

According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, the Cubs and outfielder Steven Souza have agreed to a one-year, big-league deal. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal first reported Friday the two sides were nearing an agreement.

Souza, 30, missed the 2019 season after suffering a torn left ACL and LCL at the end of spring training. He also missed a chunk of 2018, playing 72 games while hitting the injured list on multiple occasions. The Diamondbacks non-tendered him last month.

Souza is a career .233/.323/.417 hitter with 70 home runs in five seasons. His best campaign came with the Rays in 2017: .239/.351/.459, 30 home runs, 78 RBIs and a 121 wRC+ — all career-bests, excluding his average. He sported a walk rate (13.6 percent) above league average (8.5) that season, though his strikeout rate (29 percent) was worse than average (23).

Signing Souza likely rules out a return of fan favorite outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. The Cubs have been linked to Castellanos throughout the offseason, but since they're looking to stay under MLB’s luxury tax threshold, re-signing Castellanos would require some financial maneuvering.

Souza has spent most of his career in right field (3,608 career innings) but has minimal experience playing center (33 1/3) and left (20). He’s above average in right (career 6 Defensive Runs Saved) and posted a career best 7 DRS in 2017.

The Cubs have a five-time Gold Glove right fielder in Jason Heyward, so Souza will see time at all three outfield spots. Heyward moved to center full-time last season after the Cubs acquired Castellanos and has played center at times throughout his career.

He's coming off a serious knee injury, but Souza is a low-risk, high-reward move for the Cubs. If he's healthy, he’ll add power to the middle of the order and add another bat to an outfield group with some question marks. Albert Almora Jr. and Ian Happ have each struggled offensively at times since 2018. Souza offers another option in case those two slump again, with room for a larger role.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Is Kris Bryant the new Curt Flood?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Is Kris Bryant the new Curt Flood?

This has been the offseason of Kris Bryant rumors and with his grievance still unresolved Cubs fans can only speculate what will happen to the MVP. Is Kris Bryant trying to change the system like Curt Flood did? Host David Kaplan is joined by ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers to discuss Bryant's future as a Cub, and the lackluster offseason the Cubs have had.

(1:50) - Why the Cubs have not made any moves so far

(3:32) - Is Kris Bryant the new Curt Flood?

(6:26) - Cubs need upgrades, specifically in the bullpen

(9:10) - Will the Cubs make a big move before the season starts?

(11:30) - Does Javy Baez get the big extension?

(14:45) - Will the Cubs get to 86 wins this year?

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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