The Cubs recent trade for first base prospect Anthony Rizzo could affect the NL East in a big way. A very big way.
Throughout the winter, the Cubs had been connected to free agent 1B Prince Fielder. Now that they have their first baseman of the future, all speculation as to their interest in the big slugger has been extinguished and the options for Fielder have diminished slightly.
In a report for MASNSports, Pete Kerzel lists the Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Nationals as possible landing spots for Fielder. Also, in an article for the Washington Post, Jason Reid explains why Fielder would be a great fit for the Nationals right now; among the reasons is the fact that Fielder would be their first black superstar and that would resonate the Nationals brand throughout the area’s diverse communities.
Things just keep getting better for the division that the New York Mets find themselves in. The Phillies and Braves are what they are: perennial playoff contenders.
The Marlins just finished almost doubling their payroll by signing three all-stars, including the Mets’ own Jose Reyes. And the Nationals are now in better position to sign Prince Fielder. I’m not saying they will, but after trading for Gio Gonzalez the possibility of another team in the division becoming even stronger frightens me.
In a well written post for Metsmerized Online, Joe D outlines a 5 year payroll cutting plan that would decrease payroll to $60 million dollars by 2015 as well as a few other measures that would be recommended by CRG, the turnaround consultants that the Mets recently hired. This would be a complete 180 from what I am used to seeing from the Mets. Not only does this turn the Mets into a small budget team (if they had that payroll in 2011, it would be smaller than the Astros’, A’s, Nationals’, and Blue Jays’ payrolls), but it seems to signal more mediocrity for the next half decade. It seems to signal more cheap signings of below average bench players like Ronny Cedeño and Omar Quintanilla (is he even a bench player?).
If Fielder goes to Washington, then the NL East will be one of the toughest divisions in baseball. And the Mets may very del be at the bottom of it.
So it seems the Mets’ financial woes just keep getting magnified opposite the investment and improvement of their rivals. Here’s hope that the front office can do a lot with a little over the next few years.