Call Prince Fielder a very attractive consolation prize.
There is no indication from the Cubs that they will pursue either free-agent slugger in the offseason, but the Milwaukee Brewers first baseman hasn't crossed the division rival Cubs off his list.
"I don't have any problems with any team," Fielder said, according to the Sun-Times. "But just right now I'm a Brewer still."
First base was a position of stability in Chicago for almost seven seasons with Derrek Lee winning Gold Gloves and competing for a couple of MVPs. But he was traded to Atlanta in August, leaving a gaping hole in the lineup until general manager Jim Hendry signed former Tampa Bay Ray Carlos Pena to a one-year deal.
The nature of the contract created whispers that the Cubs would try to lure Pujols from the Cardinals or make a run at Fielder, who probably will be too expensive for the Brewers. That thinking is bolstered by the fact that the Cubs have almost $40 million coming off the books this offseason.
But the Ricketts family might not have deep enough pockets for a premier free agent, at least right now. Multiple reports said that Pujols turned down a contract in the range of eight years and $200 million from St. Louis.
A source told the Sun-Times that the debt structure of the 2009 Ricketts deal to buy the Cubs precludes that kind of outlay for two or three years.
Fielder, 27, is a two-time All-Star who is batting .300 with 19 homers and a league-leading 59 RBIs this season. Pena, on the other hand, is hitting .216 with nine homers and 30 RBIs.
But Fielder isn't ready to talk about other teams, especially with the Brewers tied for first place in the NL Central with St. Louis through Tuesday's games.
"Not right now,'' he said, according to the Sun-Times, "because I play for the Brewers, and that would be selfish of me to think about next year, because I'm signed here, and I have a job to do here.''