Cubs Off-Season Rumors – Chapter Fifteen

More Cubs Rumors

The Cubs Rumor Mill and Major League Hot Stove were going full steam on Tuesday. The Cubs inked the deal with Bobby Howry and there were confirmations on John Mabry agreeing to a one-year guaranteed deal. Mabry is expected to sign later in the week, physical depending. The report came out about Jim Hendry’s visit last weekend with Rafael Furcal in Chicago.

I said yesterday, I really like the addition of John Mabry to the Cubs bench. Buck Martinez on XM’s morning show said the same on Tuesday. Does this mean the end to Jose Macias? I think the Cubs will add more to their bench soon. Mark Sweeney? Kenny Lofton? Either one of those would be nice. Anyway back to the Cubs Rumor Mill….

I have updates on Bobby Abreu, A.J. Burnett, Grady Little, Dusty Baker, Adam Dunn, Kyle Farnsworth, Barry Zito, Johnny Damon and Rafael Furcal.

With the Phillies losing Billy Wagner to the Mets, Mark Patrick and Buck Martinez said the Phillies are going to start shopping Bobby Abreu to get pitching. The Phillies have talked to Tom ‘Flash’ Gordon about becoming their closer. Could the Cubs package enough pitching to get Bobby Abreu?

The Dodgers were finally granted permission to talk to former Red Sox Manager and current Cubs Roving Catcher Instructor Grady Little. According to XM’s morning show the Cubs did not want to allow the Dodgers to talk to Little. Buck Martinez said he heard Grady Little was the backup plan for the Cubs if Dusty Baker had a rough start to the 2006 season.

Johnny Damon’s agent Scott Boras came out on Tuesday and said he is seeking a 7-year contract for his client. The Yankees said they are only interested in a 3-year deal. A 7-year deal is too much for a guy that just turned 32 years old and will not make the Hall of Fame. Damon will do good to find a 4-year deal anywhere.

A.J. Burnett was a big part of the conversations on Tuesday. Peter Pasquerelli said he has heard the Blue Jays are prepared to sign Burnett and he sees the deal going through soon. Pasquerelli said the Blue Jays just overpaid for B.J. Ryan and will overpay for A.J. Burnett. Pasquerelli said the Tigers have shown interest in Burnett as well, but that would be unlikely because ‘no one wants to play in Detroit’. Chuck Wilson reported the Cardinals are still in the running for Burnett as well. Derek Braunecker, the agent for A.J. Burnett, was on XM on Tuesday night. He did not say where his client was leaning, but he was VERY complimentary of the Blue Jays organization. He also said he believes Burnett has ‘elite talent and he will capitalize and maximize A.J.’s talents’. How do you spell team again? Braunecker also said there is more to a pitcher than his record and the Blue Jays are an organization that looks at all stats, just not the record. Buyer Beware!!!

Bob Nightengale from USA Today/Sports Weekly was on with Charley Steiner on Tuesday. He said look for the White Sox to make a push for Adam Dunn if they lose Paul Konerko to free agency.

The signing of Esteban Loaiza by the Oakland A’s have made Barry Zito the target of many trade rumors. According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Billy Beane made Barry Zito a lot more valuable with the signing of Loaiza. The A’s now have 7 starting pitchers and with the free agent class being so weak, Beane will be able to get very high prospects for Zito. Slusser mentioned Beane is looking for a great young hitter or several pitchers. If Beane cannot get what he wants for Zito, he will trade his back of the rotation guys.

The New York Yankees are interested in former Cub Kyle Farnsworth to become their set-up man. Can you imagine how the Farns will react in New York?

Rafael Furcal was also all over the airwaves on Tuesday. Beside the report on (in Cubs News from the Wire), there were multiple reports saying Furcal will decide before the Winter Meetings that start on Monday between the Braves, Cubs and Dodgers. I do not know what Furcal did to Rob Dibble. Dibble ripped Furcal again on Tuesday and said ‘Furcal is just as bad as Corey Patterson’. He went on to say he is over rated and no one should pay him what he is asking. He added he was a terrible lead off hitter and has major off the field issues. (remember do not kill the messenger) I think the recent signing of Billy Wagner by the Mets might have an impact on Rafael Furcal resigning with the Braves. I heard several reports today that the Cubs and Braves are very close in money, but in order for the Braves to compete in the Division they will have to sign a closer. Trevor Hoffman rejected the 2-year, $10 million dollar offer made by the Padres and will the Braves have enough money to get both Hoffman and Furcal? And if they do not get either, will Chipper get his money back?

It has been a wild 48 hours, what will the next 12 days bring? Remember to check back for updates in ‘Cubs News from the Wire’.

78 Days until the start of Spring Training (February 15th) and 124 days until Opening Day in Cincinnati. Who will we be rooting for?

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

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver