The Cubs Off-Season Report – 12/21/05

More Cubs Rumors

The Cubs Rumor Mill and Hot Stove were back in action on Tuesday. The major news out of Chicago was the signing of free-agent outfielder Jacque Jones to a 3-year, $16 million dollar contract (scroll down for the full report and a XM Radio interview with Jm Hendry). This signing had major effects on the Cubs Faithful and many doubt if this was the right signing for the Cubs. Jones said during a phone interview on Tuesday night that he knows he must improve on his batting average and is working on improving his game everyday. Larry Bowa mentioned on Tuesday morning he thought Jacque Jones would make a good fit in right field for the Cubs and the Cubs would outbid the Cardinals for his services. Jeff Erickson from RotoWire (who is not a Cubs fan, VERY obvious) mentioned on Tuesday he thought Jones would be a good fit with the Cubs.

According to a report from Newsday late Tuesday night, the Yankees agreed to terms with Johnny Damon on a 4-year, $52 million dollar deal. I can hear it now….the Curse of Johnny Damon….have fun at the barber!!!! I have updated news on Kevin Millwood, Matt Clement, Kenny Lofton, Kerry Wood, Jose Vidro, Corey Patterson, Joe Borowski, plus additions to the Cubs Rumor Mill: Ryan Church, Eduardo Perez and Gil Meche and a name I would like to throw out, Wade Miller. Also, the Cubs new Scouting Director, Tim Wilken.

According to several reports on XM Radio, Kevin Millwood was in Texas on Tuesday visiting the Rangers. Jeff Erickson mentioned the Rangers are probably the favorite to land Millwood now the Mariners have signed Jarrod Washburn to a 4-year, $37.5 million dollar contract (Rob Dibble said he did not like the Mariners signing of Washburn)

There was a lot of speculation on Tuesday concerning the signing of Washburn with the Mariners. Most of the experts think the Mariners overpaid and still do not have enough starting pitching. Ronnie Lane and Rob Dibble mentioned on Tuesday they thought the Mariners waited too long to get into the free agent pool and the Mariners may be banking on trading Jeremy Reed to the Red Sox for either Matt Clement or Bronson Arroyo to get more starting pitching (ESPN mentioned the same).

Kenny Lofton signed a 1-year, $3.5 million dollar contract (plus incentives) with the Dodgers on Tuesday.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays designated Joe Borowski for assignment on Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press the Chicago Cubs hired Tim Wilken as the director of amateur and professional scouting on Tuesday. Wilken has been with the Devil Rays since the 2003 season and was the assistant to the GM and assisted the scouting department. Before the 2003 season, Wilken spent 24 years with the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

The Washington Examiner mentioned on Tuesday the possibility of Kerry Wood being traded to the Nationals for Jose Vidro and Ryan Church. Church played in 102 games for the Nationals in his first full season in the Majors. The lefty hit .287 with 9 home runs and 42 RBI’s with a .353 OBP and a .466 SLG. Church also struck out 70 times in 268 at bats. With Kerry Wood’s no trade clause and the signing of Jacque Jones on Tuesday. I doubt this will actually transpire.

On Monday, the Newark Star-Ledger mentioned the Cubs interest in former Devil Ray, Eduardo Perez. Perez played in 77 games for the Devil Rays in 2005. Perez hit .255 with 11 home runs, 28 RBI’s, a .368 OBP and a .497 SLG. Perez had most of his success with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1999-2003. Perez could be a good addition to the Cubs bench and provide depth from the right side of the plate at first base and in the outfield.

A report on and the Tacoma News Tribune mentioned the Mariners are talking to the Cubs about a trade that would send Corey Patterson to the Mariners for right-handed pitcher Gil Meche. Meche was 10-8 with a 5.09 ERA in 29 games (26 starts) for the Mariners in 2005. Meche is 27 years old and has a 44-36 career record in 3 seasons with the Mariners posting a 4.70 career ERA. ESPN suggested that the Mariners might not offer arbitration to Meche, but a report on late on Tuesday confirmed the Mariners have offered arbitration to him.

While I was going through’s rumor mill on Tuesday, I noticed Wade Miller’s name on the list for the first time. ESPN mentioned the Red Sox were not going to offer Miller arbitration and a report on Red late on Tuesday, confirmed that report. Could the Cubs sign Miller to a minor league contract? Miller is coming off a 4-4 record with a 4.95 ERA in 16 games with the Red Sox in 2005. The Sox signed him last off-season after coming off of rotator cuff surgery. Miller’s 2005 season was cut short by surgery on his right labrum. I just remember the days of him in an Astros’ uniform….could the Cubs sign him and take a risk. He has a 62-43 career record with a 3.98 ERA. Miller was VERY good once….could he be good again?

57 days until pitchers and catcher report for Spring Training and 103 days until Opening Day in Cincinnati.

Remember to check back for your Cubs Off-Season reports. If anything happens it will be in ‘Cubs News from the Wire’ and you will be able to read about the Cubbies here.

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