Cubs

If Prince is smart, a deal with the Cubs is a no-brainer

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If Prince is smart, a deal with the Cubs is a no-brainer

With Albert Pujols off the free agent market, the top name left on the board is Prince Fielder, who at the age of 27, is entering what should be the prime of his career. Fielder is looking for an 8-10 year deal at roughly 25 million per season, which if he gets it puts his contract in Pujols territory.

However, while the Cubs have interest in Fielder, they are not prepared to go into 8-10 year territory when they do not believe that they are close to winning and need to put their resources into upgrading their defense and pitching staff. Fielder has interest in the Cubs but is also being courted by the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, and possibly the Washington Nationals.

What the Cubs offer and the others dont is the chance to be in a major market that would afford him the chance to make huge money in endorsements and raise his profile to a much larger level than it was during his time with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Imagine Fielder in a Cubs uniform playing all out and developing a love affair with the Wrigley Field faithful. His name would become a part of the total overhaul of the Cubs culture and being that he is only 27, he would be a big part of the Cubs success that Theo Epstein and Co. envision just a few years down the road.

Fielders agent, Scott Boras is known for driving up the price and the length of the contract no matter if the fit is a good one or not for his client. Yes, Alex Rodriguez signed a 252 million deal with the Rangers that was negotiated by Boras, but not too far removed from that signing, Rodriguez was on the move to the Yankees which was a much better fit for him as he was surrounded by other star players.

Fielder needs to take charge of his negotiations and while he has one of the shrewdest minds in baseball doing his bidding, he has to make sure that where he ends up is the best fit for him both in the short and long term. The best fit is on the North Side of Chicago, but unless he backs off of his demand for a ridiculously long deal it will probably never happen.

Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have been far too quiet so far in their attempts to retool the roster and that silence has me convinced that they are waiting to see what the market for Prince Fielder becomes after the Pujols signing.

Fielders camp seems content to let the market play out. The same goes for the Cubs and their new management team. Someone needs to get the two sides into a room and convince both that the marriage is the best thing for both parties.

The Cubs needs a power bat and a guy who plays the game the right way. Fielder needs a big stage with which to explode as he enters the prime of his career. Somebody needs to make a move.

I say five years at 25 million per with a sixth year option should get it done. Cubs Nation is waiting.

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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