Contrary to recent reports, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is hearing that the Cubs are “not major players” for free agent first baseman Prince Fielder because they are “not ready to spend big.”
Cafardo is a Boston-based writer and his information goes against what has been reported by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick and others, so there’s been some speculation that Cubs president Theo Epstein might have planted the thought in order to shroud his new club’s pursuit. But Cafardo isn’t just some guy. He’s regularly spot-on about trades and free agent signings from around the baseball world, and he has sources that stretch beyond Boston.
Fielder, 27, owns a fantastic .929 career OPS and slugged 38 home runs in 162 games this past year for Milwaukee. He’s also drawing interest from the Mariners, Rangers, Blue Jays, Nationals and Dodgers.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.