The Chicago Cubs today got their future first baseman. In a deal with the San Diego Padres, the GM tree of Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Josh Byrnes got together and made a deal that included 1B prospect Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo became expendable to the Padres when they acquired Yonder Alonso in the Mat Latos trade in December. More on the Rizzo trade in a second….
Prince Fielder, along with Edwin Jackson, are still the clear prizes left available on the free agent market. While agent Scott Boras is out there making the case for Jackson for getting five years on his deal, Fielder appears to be getting the most interest from the Washington Nationals. The Cubs were at one time were thought to have interest in the portly Fielder, but today’s acquisition of Rizzo has taken them out of the consideration it would seem.
Another name that is popping up in the Fielder sweepstakes(?) is the Seattle Mariners. Personally, I would think that the Mariners should be going all out to sign the guy. If any offense needs a jolt, it is theirs. But I am plenty satisfied if Fielder signs with the Nationals, keeping him out of the American League. It does seem strange that the market for Fielder is what looks like 2 interested teams. I guess Toronto or Baltimore could still get involved, but I doubt this is what Fielder imagined his first foray into free agency would produce.
But enough about that. Let’s get back to Rizzo.
I wasn’t surprised that Rizzo landed on the Cubs. I was surprised at the deal overall. I don’t get what the Padres are doing here. Not only did they send the Cubs Rizzo, they sent them Zach Cates, who has a pretty good arm himself for essentially Andrew Cashner, and an A ball outfielder who has no power, and struggles to get on base. Cashner of course has a strong arm, but it has been said already that the Padres plan on using him out of the bullpen. Is that all the value they could get out of Rizzo? They would have been better holding on to him and hoping he pummeled the baseball once again at AAA and let him continue building his resume.
I do have to bring up the fact that Rizzo did struggle immensely in his major league debut last year. However, he was just 21 years old, and it was PetCo. Obviously, Josh Byrnes saw something he didn’t like, and Theo Epstein still does. Still, Rizzo was the 2nd best prospect in the San Diego system, next to the newly acquired Alonso, and some would say he was better than Alonso.
Regardless of what most consider a poor deal for the Padres, the results mean there is less of a market for Prince Fielder. Unless Miguel Cabrera went back to 3rd base, there is no room for him in a Tigers uniform, but the pipe dream of having that bat with Cabrera in the lineup is a nice one.
Keep waiting Tigers, the market is getting worse for Prince by the day.