Dale Sveum says Cubs have not pursued Prince Fielder
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org December 16, 2011 12:27PM
Manager Dale Sveum says all the talk about the Cubs acquiring Prince Fielder is just that — talk.
Updated: December 16, 2011 12:57PM
While national reports claim various levels of interest and ``early favorite’’ status by the Cubs and free agent slugger Prince Fielder, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Friday the Cubs have not pursued the Milwaukee first baseman.
``At this point I think it’s a lot of media talk, more than us doing anything,’’ said Sveum, who became close to Fielder during six years as a Milwaukee Brewers coach. ``We haven’t had any talked with Prince, and I haven’t had any conversations with him. … We haven’t initiated any contact at all.’’
Sveum, speaking via conference call Friday as the Cubs announced their 2012 coaching staff, has raved about Fielder as a hitter, gamer and teammate since becoming Cubs manager last month.
But the Cubs have mapped out a long-term plan for turning the organization into what new president Theo Epstein calls a ``player development machine,’’ and the 10-year, Pujols-like contract Fielder is believed to be seeking does not fit the blueprint in the near-term.
Fielder could become an attractive option for the Cubs if the market for him slows enough to allow him to be signed to a shorter-term, lower-risk contract.
``Right now I think it’s more the media than anything we’re bringing to the table,’’ Sveum said.
Fielder isn’t the only former Milwaukee hitting star coached by Sveum in the news lately.
But the Brewers’ hitting coach the past three seasons didn’t have as much to say sbnout Ryan Braun’s recent positive test for performance enhancing drugs.
``I think it took everybody by surprise,’’ Sveum said. ``Until it’s all said and done I don’t really have much comment o that right now. It’s just an unfortunate thing that’s come about, and hopefully he gets exonerated and there’s some kind of mixup or whatever. I don’t really have much else to say about that.’’
Braun, who faces a possible 50-game suspension, is appealing.
Meanwhile, the Cubs made official the coaching staff additions that had been expected for weeks: specifically, Chris Bosio as the new pitching coach, Jamie Quirk as bench coach and Dave McKay as first base coach.
Three members of the 2011 staff return in ’12, including Pat Listach, the former bench coach who moves to third base, where he was considered one of the top third base coaches in the league while with the Washington Nationals.
Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and bullpen coach Lester Strode both return in their ’11 roles.
The Cubs also hired former New York Yankees bullpen catcher Mike Borzello to help coach the catchers and work with advance-scouting information and game planning. And Franklin Font, a former Cubs’ minor-league infielder and instructor who has a strong relationship with Starlin Castro, was promoted to assist Jaramillo.
The Cubs were expecting an announcement more than a week ago during the winter meetings, but it got pushed back as they finalized the hiring of McKay – Tony La Russa’s longtime coach in Oakland and St. Louis.
``Dave came into the picture a little bit late. I had no idea he got let go by the Cardinals [after La Russa retired this fall],’’ Sveum said. ``I was shocked by that. … I’m just glad that Dave got a hold of me and let me know he was out there. He’s a huge asset to any team.’’
Gone from ex-manager Mike Quade’s 2011 staff are pitching coach Mark Riggins, third base coach Ivan DeJesus and first base coach Bob Dernier.