I Don't Believe You, Peter Gammons
Well, actually, I do.
I trust 100 percent that what Peter Gammons says is true.
Unless the Cubs magically turned into a mid-market team, the Cubs can certainly afford to sign the free agent first baseman.
According to Cot's Contracts and MLB Trade Rumors' arbitration projections, the Cubs' payroll stands at $87.1 million at the start of free agency. Throw the David DeJesus signing in, and that brings the number up to $92.1 million. Add in Ian Stewart's arbitration raise, the payroll could jump up to a possible $95.1 million. Add in a mixture of pre-arbitration players, and you could envision that number being pushed up to $96.6 million.
An addition of a premium player of Fielder's type would certainly cost the Cubs a small fortune, although not as much as one may think. Albert Pujols signed for $27.5 million per year, so Fielder could conceivably sign for much less since he lacks the defensive prowess Pujols holds. Is $24 million for seven or eight years feasible? Sure.
A $24 million addition to the payroll boosts the figure up to $120 million in 2012. That's certainly a hefty figure, but considering the Cubs have maintained payrolls of $134,004,000, $144,359,000, and $134,809,000 the past three seasons, and it's more than capable for the Cubs to sustain.
Also, when one considers that the albatross contract of Carlos Zambrano ends after the season, the Cubs would be able to afford $19 million per year on a worthwhile player. Ryan Dempster's $14 million contract also ends after next season. Two years after his contract expires, Alfonso Soriano's contract does the same.
If payroll is indeed tight, the Cubs would really have to swallow the bitter pill for just one season. And why not? The addition of Prince Fielder would certainly make the team much better, and would provide the Epstein Administration an impact addition to start their tenure with.
With the potential free agent class of 2013 and beyond lacking a power bat, the Cubs may be pressured to make a move not only to improve the club now, but also in the future.
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