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Monday, December 3, 2012
Cubs unlikely to add big-name outfielder

By Bruce Levine

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Don’t expect the Chicago Cubs to make a big plunge into the outfield pool to grab a high-profile player.

Although a source said last week that the Cubs brass had a conversation with agent Scott Boras about free agent Michael Bourn, the chances of singing the former Brave to a long-term deal are remote.

The team will look to add a center fielder or right fielder as a short-term answer while their farm-system players mature in the minor leagues.

“It is starting to come into focus,” said president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who is attending the winter meetings. “The outfield market is tiered a little bit, so there is a domino effect with each move. With each day it becomes a little more clear.”


The Cubs are considering right fielders in their search because Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer believe that David DeJesus can play center field to the club’s expectations.

“It can be a right fielder with David’s ability to play center,” Epstein said. “We don’t have to tie ourselves to looking just for a center fielder.”

On one hand, the Cubs say they may have a platoon in center or right; however, a young player who they can project in the future might get the Cubs to move on a multiyear contract.

“That’s a possibility,” Epstein said. “We won’t rule out a multiyear deal. You can’t be so dogmatic about a plan that you can’t look at all options.”

Besides Bourn, Shane Victorino may be the top outfield free agent left on the board after Angel Pagan, a former Cub, signed a new deal with the Giants on Monday. In house, the Cubs have Dave Sappelt and Tony Campana to compete for outfield jobs.

Epstein stopped short of saying he’d move left fielder Alfonso Soriano. He did say that he would work with the veteran player in a respectful way to help determine if a move elsewhere would benefit the team and the 37-year-old. Soriano has a complete no-trade option (10-and-5 rights) and can dictate where he plays over the next two seasons. Soriano is still due $38 million of the original $136 million contract he signed in 2006.