Cubs Off-Season Rumors – Chapter Ten

More Cubs Rumors

The Cubs Rumor Mill and Hot Stove were back in full swing on Monday. What started off as a slow day turned out to be one of the biggest days of the off-season to this point. Although the announced trade of Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Red Sox for 3 minor leaguers did not include the Cubs, I think it may affect them down the road. The Marlins fire sale of most of their top talent will spill over to the rest of the league and could help land Juan Pierre in Cubbie Blue.

I have updates on Rafael Furcal, Billy Wagner, Angel Guzman, Matt Murton and Bobby Hill. Plus a HUGE addition to the CUBS RUMOR MILL….Bobby Abreu.

There were 2 reports on Sporting that mentioned Bobby Abreu and the Cubs in the same sentence. One report from Sunday by Ken Rosenthal mentioned, “New Phillies GM Pat Gillick is expected to do something big; right fielder Bobby Abreu would be perfect for the Cubs, giving them a left-handed slugger to hit between right-handers Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, or for the Mariners, who also want to add left-handed power….”. And there was another report from Friday by Chris De Luca, “Free agent Rafael Furcal tops Hendry’s winter wish list because he would fill two holes, shortstop and leadoff hitter. The Cubs’ dream scenario: sign Furcal and acquire center fielder Juan Pierre from the Marlins and right fielder Bobby Abreu from the Phillies.”

I have been hearing a lot out of Philadelphia about the Phillies wanting to move Jim Thome. Thome has a no trade clause and is owed a lot of money (signed a 6 year, $85 million dollar contract for 2003-2008 with a club option for 2009 for $13 million). The Phillies want to play Ryan Howard (the NL Rookie of the Year) at first base. But with the Thome roadblock, the Phillies have been shopping Bobby Abreu. Apparently Howard can play right field and they could leave Thome at first base, which leaves Abreu as the odd man out.

Abreu had a drop off in the second half of last season and fell out of grace with the Phillies fans and the rumor is he wants a change. Abreu will turn 31 when the season starts and he hit .286 with 24 homeruns and 102 RBI’s in 2005. He had 117 walks, a .405 OBP and a .474 SLG. Abreu has had 7 straight seasons with 100 or more walks and 3 straight seasons with at least 100 RBI’s. Abreu is a decent right fielder (.986 FPCT in 2005, .982 FPCT for his career, Burnitz FPCT in 2005 was .984) and would give the Cubs a HUGE left-handed offensive threat to go along with Lee and Ramirez. Bobby Abreu does come with a huge contract as well, he signed a 5 year, $64 million dollar contract for 2003-2007 with a club option for 2008 of $16 million dollars. Could this happen? If it could, when healthy the Cubs could have one of the best offensive teams in all of baseball.

Buck Martinez on XM’s morning show said the first thing the Braves should do with the money Chipper Jones just gave them (more like deferred) is to sign Rafael Furcal. Furcal is comfortable in Atlanta and has a support system setup. The Braves have helped Furcal with all his off the field problems. Martinez also said, ‘the Cubs need to recapture their fan base’.

Billy Wagner is in New York meeting with the Mets this week. He is expected to stay through Tuesday.

Former Cub, Bobby Hill (was involved in the trade that brought Aramis Ramirez to the Cubs from the Pirates in 2003) was picked up off of the waiver wire by the San Diego Padres.

Brett Dolan of the Arizona Fall League (AFL) was on Ronnie ‘Night Train’ Lane’s show on Monday night and mentioned Angel Guzman and Matt Murton. According to Dolan, Matt Murton is a hard worker and had a fine fall, but what makes him good is his mental makeup. Dolan also mentioned Murton can play right field and he will have every opportunity to make the big league club in the Spring. Dolan also mentioned Angel Guzman. Guzman is coming off arm problems and was only able to throw 1 to 2 innings per outing before he started having problems. According to Dolan, Guzman has not fully recovered from last year’s injuries yet.

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

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt