Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the Chicago Cubs are pursuing free agent first basemen Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Although the team is strapped for cash and entering a rebuilding phase, Rosenthal says recent restrictions placed on spending in the amateur draft in the new collective bargaining agreement, coupled with the shrinking pool of true power hitters on the market, have forced the Cubs' new front office to take a harder look at spending big money on a slugger.
Albert Pujols is three and a half years older than fellow free agent Prince Fielder, but apparently the Cubs are expressing more interest in Pujols because he rates as a better defender at first base. Neither player would come cheap, considering The Los Angeles Dodgers had to pony up $160 million over eight years to re-sign Matt Kemp, but with the amateur route becoming normalized under the new rules wise free agent spending may be the best place to allocate that extra money.
The other reason the Cubs might be surfacing in rumors about both Fielder and Pujols is that it can impact the market for each player even if they sign with another team, say the division-rival St. Louis Cardinals. ESPN's Buster Olney points the logic of this angle out via Twitter:
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