Per Robothal, the Cubs are pursuing both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. Not surprisingly, his sources say that the Cubs would rather go long-term with Pujols than Fielder. That’s a no-brainer given the current peak that Pujols would be coming down from without even considering Fielder’s probable age curve. Still, I don’t think the Cubs will be interested in beating the Cardinals roughly 9/200-210 offer on years. This is going to be the last contract Pujols signs so it might be tough to push for a higher AAV deal unless there’s more overall money involved. Would the Cubs or any team be willing to go over a $30m/yr AAV? Pujols would probably still stick with 9/210 over, say, 7/210, and I’d be shocked if he signs for less than 7 years or so with a 9 year offer on the table. I also think that if the offers are close he’d rather stick in St. Louis.
Another thing Rosenthal mentions is that the Cubs pursuit could be tied to the new CBA deal’s restrictions on amateur spending making it harder to build from your farm system. I don’t necessarily buy that conneection. The Cubs are a large market team that have the luxury to be able to go after elite free agents like this, and as Rosenthal points out a lot of teams have been locking up their own guys lately. Hamilton (no thanks) and Votto are the only elite hitters that are likely to come on the market before the rest of the Cubs rebuilding process is likely to catch up. I might rather have Votto than Fielder or Pujols, but that’s not something you can count on down the road.