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 map out next steps for closer Craig Kimbrel

Cubs map out next steps for closer Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel is one step closer to joining the Cubs bullpen.

According to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic, Kimbrel will join Triple-A Iowa and make his first appearance on Tuesday, against the Sacramento River Cats.

While the Cubs officially signed him on June 7, Kimbrel has yet to pitch in actual games. The 31-year-old has been in a condensed spring training program at the Cubs' Arizona complex, throwing live batting practice on both Thursday and Saturday.

The Cubs haven't revealed an official timeline for Kimbrel to join the 25-man roster, as they are basing things off of how he feels. The expectation is he will pitch in about five games with Iowa before joining the Cubs. However, both Theo Epstein and Kimbrel acknowledged how the goal isn't to rush the closer back into MLB action.

"We're not gonna rush it," Epstein said. "It's gonna be tempting to get him here as soon as possible, but we're trying to plan this thing the right way so that he could be in a position to succeed not just immediately but in October. That's gonna be our guiding principle as we go."

"We sat down and put a gameplan together — something to work off of," Kimbrel said. "But at the end of the day, it's based off how I recover, how I get ready. This isn't about getting back on the field as fast as I can. This is about being the best that I can be in October and down the stretch and doing what I came here to do for this team."

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Yu Darvish and Cubs pull off dramatic comeback win over Dodgers

Yu Darvish and Cubs pull off dramatic comeback win over Dodgers

There were some added stakes to Saturday night’s Cubs-Dodgers matchup. Darvish made his first start at Dodger Stadium since his infamous Game 7 loss in the 2017 World Series, looking for a great effort in front of a fan base that had their up-and-downs in terms of their relationship with him. He (maybe) took a small jab at the Dodgers before the game had even started, telling the Los Angeles Times that he wasn't worried about being booed because “the Dodgers don't have many fans here in the first three innings, so maybe it will be on the quieter side.”

Well Dodgers faithful certainly got the message and made sure to let Darvish hear it.

However, Darvish got the last laugh on Saturday night. He pitched a stellar seven innings. Over those seven innings, Darvish gave up 1 ER on 2 hits and also notched 10 strikeouts.

Darvish has been hitting his stride as of late, maintaining a 2.96 ERA over his last four starts.

All of that being said, it would be remiss of me not to mention the contributions of Darvish’s teammates. His great outing helped keep the Cubs in the game, but the gutsy performances of Anthony Rizzo and Pedro Strop are what won the contest.

Dodgers All-Star relief pitcher Kenley Jansen had a 10-game scoreless streak coming into Saturday night, but one swing of Rizzo’s bat was all that was needed to restore balance to the everlasting battle of pitcher versus hitter. After Jansen hit Kris Bryant with a pitch to put him on base, Rizzo activated “clutch mode”, mashing a 400-foot bomb out to right field.

Though small, Saturday night’s homer gives Rizzo a three-game hitting streak, perhaps forecasting that things are trending  upwards for the first baseman as the Cubs look to close out the series against the Dodgers with a win on Sunday night. And not to be left out of the fun, Pedro Strop came in to face the Justin Turner, MVP hopeful Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Matt Beaty to nail down the save.

Never afraid of high-pressure moments, Stop came through big time.

Strop got a ground out from Turner, struck out Bellinger and Beaty in his 15-pitch save effort. This was a much-needed win for the Cubs, who have well-documented struggles on the road. As they look to split the four-game set with the Dodgers on Sunday night, the Cubs can be pleased with their fight this week.

Saturday’s win over the Dodgers was the Cubs first win of the season after trailing through six innings, as they were 0-23 in such situations prior to the victory. Amid a season that has been fraught with injury and general roster construction concerns, it was wonderful to see the Cubs pull out a tough win lead by the much-maligned Darvish and the never-quit attitude of his teammates.