are pursuing both Albert Pujols
and Prince Fielder
, and not simply because the free-agent first basemen are difference-makers. http://o.static.foxsports.com/conten...201_202_97.JPG HOT STOVE
Who are the top free agents
, where are they most likely to land, and who has already signed?
No, the Cubs also are acknowledging two emerging realities – a dwindling number of sluggers available in future free-agent markets, and the restrictions on spending in the amateur draft under baseball’s new collective-bargaining agreement.
New Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have made it clear that they intend to rebuild the team. However, the Cubs are indeed showing interest in both Pujols and Fielder, major league sources say.
Pujols, 31, is nearly 3½ years older than Fielder, but sources say the Cubs are more willing to go long-term with Pujols, who is the better defender according to advanced metrics. Some teams, concerned by Fielder’s body would prefer him on a shorter, high-dollar deal.
By signing one of the two, the Cubs would ensure that they are set with a premier slugger as they try to return to prominence in the NL Central.
’ recent signing of center fielder Matt Kemp
to an eight-year, $160 million contract leaves Rangers
outfielder Josh Hamilton
as the top free-agent hitter in next year’s class – and it’s possible that Hamilton, too, might never hit the open market. http://o.static.foxsports.com/conten...559_202_97.JPG HAVE YOU HEARD?
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first baseman Joey Votto
second baseman Robinson Cano
and Red Sox
center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury
are the top hitters eligible for free agency after the 2013 season. The Yankees are likely to retain Cano, and the Red Sox possess the resources to retain Ellsbury.
Meanwhile, the Cubs’ goal of rebuilding through the draft took a hit in the new CBA, which will penalize teams that spend over set limits on amateurs. Clubs that exceed the limits will be subject to taxes and the loss of top picks.