The Chicago Cubs are aware that the time to pounce is right now. Could that mean that they are preparing to sign prize free agent first baseman Prince Fielder?
The Cubs are not currently a playoff team. In fact, they really aren’t even all that close to competing within their own division, let alone the rest of the National League. Having finished the 2011 season in fifth place in the N.L. Central, the Cubs went 71-91 in another abysmal season. They lost Aramis Ramirez to the Milwaukee Brewers, who also happen to reside in their division.
But you know what they say about payback, so could Chicago be looking to be taking someone away from Milwaukee who would more than make up for the loss of Ramirez?
While Ramirez departed from the Cubs, he is not the biggest free agent to leave their former team in the N.L. Central. As you may have heard, Albert Pujols left the St. Louis Cardinals for the Los Angeles Angels. Perhaps you heard about that one, so that will undoubtedly make the Cards a little weaker.
Now, if the Cubs could sign Fielder away from the Brew Crew, coupled with the team facing a possible 50 game suspension for their superstar outfielder, Ryan Braun, and Milwaukee could struggle, for at least the first third or so of the 2012 season.
Could the Cubs crown Prince as their next franchise superstar?
So, knowing that Pujols is gone, and the Brewers could struggle, and who knows what will happen with the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates, this could be an opportune time for Theo Epstein to make the Cubs potential contenders in his first season running the everyday baseball operations.
Signing Fielder would not make the Cubs a World Series player. Not this year at least. But think about the message it would send out to the rest of the league, as well as the impending free agents over the next few seasons. It would demonstrate that Epstein is going to assemble a loaded team in the Windy City, much like he helped put together with the Boston Red Sox.
You remember some of his Beantown teams, right? The ones who helped end an 86-year-old drought when they won the World Series in 2004, and then added to it by winning it in 2007 as well.
The Cubs have quite a long streak going, don’t they still.
Sure, we remember 1908.
Well, not many of us actually remember it, considering it would make us 103-years-old. But we know that is the last time the Cubs won the World Series.
Fielder would provide the type of offensive explosveness that the team thought that they were getting when they acquired Alfonso Soriano. That didn’t work out as expected.
But if they can sign him now, he could be the best power hitter since the days of Sammy Sosa.
The only difference is, Fielder’s numbers would be clean.
At least, we think.
After all, I would have thought that Braun’s numbers were clean as well.
Who knows anymore.