Saturday, December 17, 2011
Sources: Cubs pursuing Prince Fielder
By Bruce Levine
The Chicago Cubs will continue to be involved in the Prince Fielder free-agent bidding, according to two major league sources with knowledge of the negotiations.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said on Friday that the Cubs' interest in Fielder was mostly "media-talk" and that neither he nor Cubs officials have talked to Fielder. An MLB source confirmed Sveum's statement, but also said that Fielder is sitting back while his agent, Scott Boras, talks to ownership and top baseball officials when it comes to negotiating a deal for the Brewers All-Star first baseman.
The sides began preliminary negotiations on Nov. 15 at Major League Baseball's general managers meetings in Milwaukee and the sources confirmed that the two sides have continued to talk since that initial meeting.
The Fielder camp is seeking a 10-year contract. However, there may be some options that allow both Fielder and the signing team some flexibility with opt-out clauses. The Cubs' approach to negotiating with Fielder may incorporate offering fewer years, but with a higher annual contract average than other teams may be offering.
If the Cubs presented Boras an offer of four or five years, Fielder could become a free agent again at 31 or 32 and have the ability to sign another long-term mega-million dollar deal.
The Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly the main suitors for Fielder at this point, with the Cubs still in the running.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.