Cubs Off-Season Rumors – Chapter Fourteen

More Cubs Rumors

As predicted the Cubs Rumor Mill and the Major League Hot Stove was in full swing on Monday. With the formal announcement of B.J. Ryan with the Blue Jays, Carlos Delgado with the Mets and the late in the day announcement of Billy Wagner signing with the Mets as well, Monday was a sign of what the next 2 weeks could bring.

The Cubs apparently signed free agent John Mabry late Monday night and the details are unknown at this time. I really like this signing. Beside the fact he used to beat the Cubs on a regular basis, the Cubs now have an excellent left-handed bat off the bench and a quality backup for Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and the two corner spots in the outfield. Mabry will be a GREAT addition to the Cubs.

I do have updates on Jarrod Washburn, Rafael Furcal, Juan Pierre, Corey Patterson, A.J. Burnett, Brian Giles, Jacque Jones, Alfonso Soriano, Kevin Mench and Barry Zito. Plus two additions to the Cubs Rumor Mill: Preston Wilson and Bill Mueller.

Phil Rogers from the Chicago Tribune was on XM Radio on Monday morning. Phil said the Cubs gave up high draft picks when they signed Eyre and Howry and will give up more if they sign Rafael Furcal. The Cubs really value these picks and because of the pressure on the team for 2006, they let those picks go to improve the bullpen. Rogers said Corey Patterson will not be with the team when the season starts. Rogers likes Brian Giles in right for the Cubs, but has not heard about the team contacting him. Rogers also said if they do not sign Furcal, they could go after Alfonso Soriano. The Cubs have $20 million left on the 2006 payroll and they will go after another starting pitcher, possibly Jarrod Washburn. Rogers also said the Cubs are not comfortable with Jerome Williams and Glendon Rusch being the 4th and 5th starters in the rotation. He also said the Cubs seem committed to having Ronny Cedeno and Matt Murton in the lineup for 2006 (and they like that idea) and he closed the interview with if the Cubs do sign Furcal then Todd Walker will be traded.

The Oakland A’s signed free agent pitcher Esteban Loaiza on Monday to a 3 year, $21 million dollar contract. This is not like Billy Beane at all. Ken Rosenthal from Fox broke the story and said this should free up the A’s to trade Barry Zito. Zito will make $8.5 million in 2006. Rosenthal said Zito could fit in fine with a National League team with a big park and suggested the Dodgers being a good fit. The Dodgers also have the prospects that Beane would want in Oakland. Message to Jim Hendry: Please trade for Barry Zito.

The St. Louis Cardinals have offered a contract to Jacque Jones. A report said 3 years, $20 million.

Buck Martinez on the XM Radio morning show mentioned Bill Mueller and the Cubs in the same sentence. Martinez thinks Mueller would give Dusty Baker much needed depth on his bench. Please do not sign Bill Mueller to another contract. Doesn’t he owe the Cubs money on that contract he signed in 2001? Stay away!!!

With the Blue Jays signing B.J. Ryan on Monday the future of Miguel Batista in Toronto has become a big question. The Brewers and Rangers have already shown interest in Batista. Lyle Overbay (Brewers) and Kevin Mench (Rangers) are the names that have been discussed. The Rangers have also contacted the Marlins about a Kevin Mench for Juan Pierre trade.

Ken Rosenthal was on Baseball Beat with Charley Steiner on Monday and said he expects A.J. Burnett to demand a 5-year contract worth at least $60 million dollars. His reasoning is the contract B.J. Ryan just signed. The Cubs are not willing to go 5 years and are likely out of the Burnett sweepstakes. In the same interview he said Rafael Furcal will end up with the Cubs and Brian Giles could end up with the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Yankees or Dodgers.

Fox, The Sporting News and XM Radio all mentioned on Monday the possibility of Preston Wilson playing for the Cubs in 2006. Wilson played in 139 games for the Rockies and Nationals in 2005. He hit .260 with 25 home runs and 90 RBI’s. Wilson had a .468 SLG, a .326 OBP and a .990 fielding percentage. Wilson could help with the Cubs centerfield problems, but Wilson seems like a player that will be available in February. Wait and see.

I cannot believe this is only Monday’s Cubs Rumors. Don’t forget to check back for up to the minute updates in ‘Cubs News from the Wire’.

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