Cubs play it coy on Fielder, Pujols

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
7:43
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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DALLAS – The Chicago Cubs were not going to confirm or deny reports that they made an offer to free-agent slugger Albert Pujols on Tuesday. They also wouldn’t comment on whether or not they will make an offer to Prince Fielder in the coming days.

[+] EnlargePrince Fielder
Brett Davis/US PresswireIt remains unclear how serious a player the Cubs are for Prince Fielder's services.

By the same token, the Cubs wouldn’t deny interest in getting the best players in the game as a part of their future.

“Well they have to be great players,” general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. “You only do deals for great players. And you want to make sure you’re paying for the future not for the past. But if you’re going to talk about a long deal, it better be for a great player and an elite talent. Otherwise, those are recipes for disaster.”

The Marlins and Cardinals seem to be at the front of the pack of teams bidding on Pujols. Miami reportedly wants an answer to its offer, which is being reported as a 10-year deal, in the next two days.

Despite all that, Hoyer doesn’t believe that his team or any other is being held up by the Pujols and Fielder conversations.

“I think it’s been pretty active actually here,” Hoyer said. “Already there have been some big signings and big trades. I don’t think the industry is held up by a couple of guys. I don’t think that one of those two names has to come off the board before people get going. There already has been a lot of activity.”

Hoyer doesn’t feel that rumors of the Cubs being involved in the bidding for both superstars are disruptive to the team’s offseason plans.

“I don’t think it’s good or bad. It’s just the nature of a big market,” Hoyer said. “When you’re in a big market, you’re involved with a lot of players. And your name is going to get attached. As a rule we don’t confirm or deny those reports. If you start doing that, you have to confirm or deny all the time. As a rule, it’s best to keep those negotiations with teams and players in house.”

The Cubs feel that some news that comes out through agent sources and other teams’ confidants isn’t necessarily the end of the world.

“I think it makes the fan base know we are working hard when we are attached to a lot of teams and players,” Hoyer said. “At least they know we are trying to make the team better.”


Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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