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Tom Ricketts: signing Pujols or Fielder is Theo’s call

Nov 30, 2011, 9:09 AM EDT

Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein speaks at a news conference at Wrigley Field in Chicago Reuters

Are the Cubs really looking at Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols? Are they just trying to drive up the price for St. Louis?  Are they looking to go big or are they going to cast out every player who isn’t nailed down and start from scratch?

We’ve heard all of these things in the past few weeks. Their offseason strategy is still unclear.

But one thing is clear: it will be Theo Epstein making these decisions, not ownership.  That’s what the owner himself said yesterday when talking to the Chicago press:

“Like I’ve always said, there is one person responsible for making those decisions, and one person accountable for those results,” he said. “So if (Epstein) believes strongly that’s what’s in the best interests of the team, then he’s got my support.”

Theo Epstein’s last couple of big ticket free agent signings we less than stellar.  True, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are a different class of talent than John Lackey and Carl Crawford, but does he go to the well again?

  1. Alex K - Nov 30, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    I think the new CBA might have changed the plan. With the new rules on signing draftees and international players it seems like it would be possible to rebuild the farm system and still have money to get competitve on the big league level. Since they probably won’t freely spend on amature players it could push more money into the big league payroll. I don’t know if this is possible, but it seems like it would be easier to do.

    All that said, I hope they don’t sign either.

    • paperlions - Nov 30, 2011 at 9:50 AM

      I think it’ll be harder to build the farm system because you can’t load up on high-upside signability guys like you could before….you could spend $12M on the draft and get a crap load of high upside guys….now, will that be possible? I guess it will depend on what the caps are for each team (which I assume we just be the slot figures for each of their draft spots for the first 10 rounds added together). In any case, capping draft and international FA spending will make it harder to quickly build up the farm system, not easier. It won’t affect the prices of high end talent, just how many each team can sign in a give year.

      • Alex K - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:16 PM

        To clarify my point….it might be easier to rebuild both the farm system and compete with the big league roster at the same time. Not that it will be easier to build the farm system alone.

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 30, 2011 at 9:50 AM

      Alex: Yesterday you stated you thought A.P. would look good in blue pinstripes.
      Yet…you now state you hope they don’t sign him or Fielder.
      What gives? You had a day to sleep on it?

      • Alex K - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:20 PM

        He would look good in blue pinstripes, that doesn’t mean that I want him signed for 9 years $220 million (which is about what it would take). I would actually perfer Fielder if they feel like they have to get a slugging 1B. He younger and will probably be a bit cheaper.

  2. dcfan4life - Nov 30, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    Fielder seems like a likely possibility. Pujols is going back to the Cardinals. He is getting his $200 Million from them and staying put. If Pujols went elsewhere id be shocked. Fielder has had only a few suiters with the Cubs and Nationals but not much else.

    • Francisco (FC) - Nov 30, 2011 at 10:30 AM

      If Pujols went elsewhere id be shocked

      No, no, no. The trendy thing to say is that you’d eat your hat! Or Craig’s hat…

  3. normb11 - Nov 30, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    I’d be OK with Fielder for 5 or 6 years at a higher annual average. Do not give him more than 6 years though.
    Pujols for 9 years?? oy…no thanks.

  4. hgrubsttipkcuf - Nov 30, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    theo, congrats on signing carl crawford and j.d. drew. congrats on getting the cubs job. that city of self righteous(why? idk maybe it’s because they made a cameo in ferris bueller’s day off) assholes will run you out of town within 4 years after you pay $200 million to prince fielder and have the cubs damn near bankrupt trying to sign more players once that doesn’t work. congrats chicago on getting theo epstein.

    • blueintown - Nov 30, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      Go away.

    • kopy - Nov 30, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      Chicago? Self righteous? Have you even been there before, or know anything about that city?

    • hgrubsttipkcuf - Nov 30, 2011 at 10:42 AM

      i wish cubs fans would go away. and what does being a self righteous fan have anything to do with the city itself or me having been there before?

      • kopy - Nov 30, 2011 at 10:52 AM

        Chicago is a city built on shady deals and immoral activities, and the Cubs never win. Calling the city, the people that live there, or specifically baseball fans self righteous is comical. And I like Chicago.

      • paperlions - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:19 AM

        Well, that doesn’t make Chicago any different than any other city/nation….FWIW, the JD Drew deal was a pretty good one. Condemning the Crawford deal now is premature, even Lackey may turn it around once his personal life is in order.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:34 AM

        It seems we have someone about 10 times worse than Cepts now. Nice to meet you, troll.

      • blueintown - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:44 AM

        You think proclaiming an entire city/fanbase to be self righteous assholes might make you a bit of a self righteous asshole?

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:44 PM

        Grub: Self righteous would NOT be accurate.
        Rude? Maybe. Overbearing? Maybe. Obnoxious? Maybe?
        But self righteous? NO.

      • hgrubsttipkcuf - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:54 PM

        let’s make this short and sweet. cubs fans are self righteous. they think that because their team is old and they play in an old stadium and they all sing together in the 7th stretch that they are the best franchise in baseball. now that is comical. they are not even the best franchise in chicago. the j.d. drew deal was a good one? $15 mil a year for 15 homers and a .270 ba. wow. thanks for reminding me about john lackey. wowww. how the hell is commenting on the article being a troll? you fucking clown. get the fuck out of my house.
        and blueintown. ummmm? just go play with the mattstairs guy.

      • blueintown - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        Yeah..go away.

      • Alex K - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:29 PM

        I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Cubs fan say they are the best franchise in baseball. In fact, a lot of times fans say they exact opposite.

      • comeonnowguys - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:04 PM

        I hope you’re from Boston. That would make it funny AND the definition of hypocritical.

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      Correct me if I’m wrong hgrubstwhatever…but didn’t Epstein win…like two World Series with the Red Sox? The Drew signing wasn’t actually that bad and Crawford is still just in the first year.

      That being said…I didn’t understand the Crawford deal at all. He’s good defensiveness with great speed, but at his best, he’s a .300/.350/.450 hitting corner outfielder. That great and all…but for $20 million a year? Until he’s 35?

  5. foreverchipper10 - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    Is is really Theo’s call? Why is Jed Hoyer even there? If it is Theo’s call on personnel decisions I want Hoyer’s posh job.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:35 PM

      I’m sure the Theo/Jed team is going to work itself out. I figure they’re a two-headed executive machine.

  6. bigleagues - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    After Jim Hendry’s firing, Ricketts had statistical analysis manager Ari Kaplan and a consultant analyze all 30 teams on cost per victory, number of players developed, average value of their systems and other factors. He said he made about 20 calls to owners, GMs, former GMs and agents “to ask them what they would do in my situation.”

    The most frequent response? Hire Theo.

  7. pisano - Dec 1, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    If they (the Cubs) turn boy blunder loose on the signing of free agents, it’ll be like turning the wolves loose in the hen house. Ask Boston how happy they were with his last two big ticket free agents, Lacking, and Crawford, those two brilliant signings got him run out of Boston.

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