5:02 PM ET: Looks like we may have been on the dot with this one, as Chris DeLuca of the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting of the Cubs and Pujols that, "He is simply not on their radar, no matter what his agent says." This may just be an instance of an agent trying to stir up some interest in his client, as the Cubs are one of the few teams with money and the need for a first baseman.
2:05 PM ET: Following on the heels of a rumor late last night that the Cubs were looking at both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder is a report by Jerry Crasnick: his sources are confirming that the team has contacted the representatives for Pujols and expressed interest.
Phil Rogers from the Tribune points out that pursuing either might be counter to Epstein's espoused strategy, but it's just as likely that either the agents (I use that term collectively here) have an incentive to gin this one up a bit or the team could be simply driving up the cost. Neither of those theories holds particular weight with me, though, since they'd be driving up costs on their own players in the longer term. I could be wrong.
Links to initial reports, as well as other Cubs news, below the jump.
- Source -- Chicago Cubs call St. Louis Cardinals free agent Albert Pujols' reps, express interest - Jerry Crasnick
"The Chicago Cubs have reached out to the agent for Albert Pujols to express their interest in the three-time Most Valuable Player, a baseball source told ESPN.com on Tuesday."
Pujols, Fielder don't fit in Cubs' plans - chicagotribune.com
"In case you’ve forgotten, their priorities are to build for the future by acquiring young players and to add players who can help contend in the short term, but always with the understanding that Priority No. 1 trumps Priority No. 2." << This is fine analysis, but it doesn't exactly square with Crasnick's report above, does it?
The Case For The Cubs Signing Prince Fielder - Bleed Cubbie Blue
Should the Cubs roll a very expensive pair of dice and sign the former Brewers 1B?
- Quirk leaving for the Cubs - Brian McTaggart
"Jamie Quirk, who has spent the last two seasons as Astros bullpen coach, is leaving the team to become bench coach for the Chicago Cubs under new manager Dale Sveum. The loss of Quirk punches a hole in the Astros’ coaching staff, which was to return in tact next season."
- Top 15 Prospects: Chicago Cubs - FanGraphs Baseball
"The system is loaded with intriguing B- and C-level prospects that could either explode in 2012 or completely fall off the radar."