Cubs Off-Season Rumors – Chapter Four

More Cubs Rumors

The Cubs Rumor Mill and the Hot Stove got back into full swing on Tuesday. There were a couple of new names thrown into the mix; Scott Eyre and Alex Gonzalez (not that one, the other one from the Marlins). I also have updates on Brian Giles, Manny Ramirez, B.J. Ryan, Hideki Matsui, Billy Wagner, A.J. Burnett, Kevin Millwood and Rafael Furcal.

Before I pass on the Cubs rumors, I want to mention a couple of things. One, MLB announced its new testing policy on Tuesday. The first positive test will result in a 50 game suspension, the second positive test will result in a 100 game suspension and the third positive test will result in a lifetime ban from the game, with an appeal for reinstatement after serving two years. In 2007, MLB will also start testing for amphetamines (or greenies). I guess the guys will just have to drink more coffee. Greenies have been around as long as baseball and Mr. Selig says he going to ‘clean up the game’. Two, if the Cubs would have been better in 2005, Derrek Lee would be holding the trophy today….not a (blankin’) Cardinal….maybe next year.

Now to the Cubs Rumor Mill….

Rafael Furcal and his agent thought they were close to a contract on Monday with the Cubs according to an article in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. The article states; “The Braves are still very much in it; that’s all I can tell you,” said agent Paul Kinzer, who spoke Monday with officials of the Braves and Cubs, the two leaders in the Furcal sweepstakes with the New York Mets waiting in the wings. Kinzer seeks at least a five-year deal worth $50 million for Furcal, 28, and it was thought the Cubs might offer that Monday and knock the Braves out of the race. But the bidding hasn’t reached that level yet, and Kinzer slowed the process so he could talk with Furcal this week in the Dominican Republic.” The Braves are still hopeful Furcal will return to Atlanta. Furcal made $5.6 million last year in Atlanta.

Scott Eyre has entered the Cubs Rumor Mill. The former Giants left-hander was mentioned in an article in the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday. The free agent reliever was 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA with the Giants last year and apparently talked to Dusty Baker not to long after the season was over. Eyre played for Baker in San Francisco during the 2002 season. I was listening to the morning show on XM Radio this morning and Buck Martinez mentioned Eyre and the fact the Giants must make him a priority to sign this off-season. Scott Eyre could be the right veteran to add in the bullpen. He has the same agent (Tommy Tanzer) as Glendon Rusch. Eyre has good stuff and is only 33. The White Sox, Yankees, Red Sox, Indians and Tigers have also shown interest in Eyre. Stay tuned to this one.

From an article (way down at the bottom) in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, the Cubs have spoken with the Marlins about Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a decent shortstop, but the Cubs already have Neifi Perez and Ronny Cedeno. I hope this is just a VERY bad rumor….let’s move on.

Brian Giles is getting a lot of interest from the Red Sox, Dodgers, Yankees and Indians. The hold up with Giles is the length of the contract he is asking for (5 years) and his age (35 when the season starts).

Hideki Matsui signed a four-year contract extension (rumors are $50 million) with the Yankees on Tuesday night that will keep him in pinstripes through 2009 season.

The New York Mets General Manager, Omar Minaya, said on Tuesday he will not be outbid for free-agent reliever Billy Wagner, Wagner is supposed to meet with the Phillies new General Manager, Pat Gillick this week.

Jerry Crasnick from ESPN was on MLB Live on XM Radio on Tuesday. On the Chuck Wilson show he indicated Manny Ramirez will end up being traded to the New York Mets. Crasnick did not mention who would be involved in the trade.

Apparently B.J. Ryan is meeting with the Toronto Blue Jays this week. The Yankees and Mets have also contacted the free agent reliever.

I did not hear any news on Juan Pierre on Tuesday. There was a slight rumbling about the Yankees being interested in Pierre, but what free agent is George not interested in?

A report out of Cleveland said the Indians were not going to be able to keep all of their free agent pitchers, including Kevin Millwood. Again, the New York Yankees seem to be a front-runner in the Millwood sweepstakes.

And last, but not least the Texas Rangers have contacted the agent for A.J. Burnett about a possible visit to Arlington.

The owner’s meetings in Milwaukee start on Wednesday, so the Cubs Rumor Mill should stay in full swing through the weekend.

I really think the agents are trying to set the market for a very weak free agent class. What happened to the days when no one knew how much money these guys were making? XM ran a segment on Tuesday about an article Peter Gammons ran on about the Free Agent Class of 2000. If you have ‘IN’, I would suggest checking it out, it was very interesting. There were a lot of guys that were overpaid and never worked out for their new team. That was the year the Cubs signed Todd Hundley….enough said.

Well, that’s the news (Cubs rumors) and I’m sticking to it!!

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein