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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs didn't hire new manager Dale Sveum for his recruiting skills, but Sveum believes he can give his new team a leg up on signing prized free agent Prince Fielder if it decides to pursue him.
"Yeah, if it ever came to [president of baseball operations] Theo [Epstein] and the Ricketts family thinking that that was the right fit and the right time for this organization, I think me being here would definitely help the process," said Sveum, who was introduced as manager Friday during a news conference at Wrigley Field.
Fielder and Sveum built a strong personal and working relationship during Sveum's six seasons as a coach with the Milwaukee Brewers, including the past three as hitting coach.
Fielder's agent, Scott Boras, likely will be looking at upward of eight years and $200 million. Boras probably will wait until Albert Pujols signs his deal before having Fielder sign.The Cubs have been noncommittal about their approach to free agency and big-ticket players such as Fielder and pitcher C.J. Wilson.
Fielder batted .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBIs in helping the Brewers win the NL Central this season. The 27-year-old first baseman has five 30-homer seasons in his six-year career and has driven in 100 runs in each of the past three seasons.
"Prince and I have a great relationship," Sveum said. "I love Prince to death. It would be nice to have him at first base because of what he brings to the table every single day."
Sveum points to Fielder's work ethic as the type of synergistic impact he's hoping to instill with Cubs players.
"If you can have three or four guys like him on the team, then other guys start to follow," Sveum said. "You don't always have the so-called team leader anymore, but when you can get three, four, five guys running out balls hard, playing the game, then the other five or six guys say, 'Hey, I want to be like them. I don't want to be the one guy that's dogging it.'"That's why it was nice to have Prince. The other guys knew what would happen if they didn't run a ball out."
Sveum said he has not had any conversations about Fielder with his new bosses in his first 24 hours on the job.
"We haven't yet, honest to God," Sveum said. "We haven't mentioned it one time. [The media has], but they haven't."
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.