Cubs Off-Season Rumors – Chapter Nineteen

More Cubs Rumors

To be perfectly honest with everyone, I had an entirely different post ready for Sunday. I went out to hear some music on Saturday night and to root for the Nashville Predators….when I came home that all changed!!! As you have noticed by now and if not scroll down….Rafael Furcal agreed to terms with the Dodgers late on Saturday according to the L.A. Times.

I have been wondering for the past week, why has he not agreed yet? The answer is money….the Los Angeles Dodgers is a team in turmoil and change, why would anyone want to play there other than money? I have felt for a while that Furcal could bring too much baggage to the Cubs for A LOT OF MONEY! This could end up being a blessing in disguise, but right now it seems like a slap in the face for ALL of the CUBS FAITHFUL.

This was some of the original post I had planned: The Cubs Rumor Mill and Major League Hot Stove apparently took a travel day on Saturday. All of the execs and agents are on their way to ‘Big D’ for the meetings starting on Monday. There was a little bit of news, but nothing major. (Boy was I wrong, my crystal ball was on the brink and I’ve got to get that thing fixed). When the report came out about John Mabry agreeing to a contract with the Cubs earlier in the week, everyone expected him to be signed by the weekend and there has been no official word yet. Tom ‘Flash’ Gordon did sign his deal on Saturday with the Phillies.

I do have updates on Juan Pierre, Rafael Furcal (now I have my opinion), Nomar Garciaparra, Matt Clement, plus additions to the Cubs Rumor Mill: Dave Roberts and Derek Lowe. I also have my take on what Jim Hendry’s Plan B should be. (I was beginning to think Furcal would resign with the Braves, I did not see him signing with the Dodgers)

Nomar Garciaparra is drawing interest from every team in the Majors according to the newspaper articles on the Internet. The Arizona Republic reported on Saturday the Diamondbacks have contacted Nomar about playing outfield in Arizona. The Boston Red Sox are looking to trade David Wells to the San Diego Padres for Mark Loretta and with Loretta gone the Padres are looking at Nomar to play second base.

Holden Kushner on XM Radio reported on Saturday the Braves offer to Furcal is believed to be 4 years, $36 million dollars and with the report of the Dodgers offer, the Cubs might need to increase their offer to 5 years, $55 million. (Kushner was onto something….MONEY)

XM Radio and Internet reports on Saturday said the Brewers and Red Sox are talking about a trade that would send Lyle Overbay to the Red Sox for Matt Clement. I really hope this is a nasty rumor; it would be hard to see Mattie in a Brewers uniform and facing the Cubs 4-5 times a year. Just another ghost of the contract of Sammy Sosa.

There were reports in the New York newspapers on Saturday that said Juan Pierre will probably not become a Yankee. According to the New York Post, the Yankees will have to add Robinson Cano to Sean Henn and Scott Proctor to obtain Juan Pierre. And the headline from the New York Daily News read, ‘Yanks Unlikely to Acquire Pierre’. Holden Kushner also said the Cubs and Yankees are the front-runners to acquire Juan Pierre on his Saturday afternoon radio show (XM).

Two different Internet reports on Saturday said the Cubs are interested in Derek Lowe from the Dodgers and Dave Roberts from the Padres. Both are under contract and would require a trade from the Cubs in order to make either of them a Chicago Cub. Dave Roberts could probably be acquired for a Minor League pitcher. With the addition of Mike Cameron and Brian Giles resigning to go along with Ryan Klesko, there is not enough room for the 34-year old Roberts in San Diego. Roberts would give the Cubs much needed speed off the bench and a veteran left-handed bat. Remember Roberts was the one that sparked the Red Sox to the Championship in 2004. Roberts had a .275 average, .356 OBP, .428 SLG and 23 stolen bases for the Padres in 2005.

Derek Lowe is an interesting name. Lowe is definitely an innings eater, but has had a very inconsistent career. Lowe signed a HUGE contract with the Dodgers coming off a terrific 2004 post season. Lowe signed a 4-year, $36 million dollar contract (2005-2008) according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Lowe posted a 12-15 record with a 3.61 ERA in 35 games for the Dodgers. He had 146 strikeouts, gave up 55 walks in 222 innings pitched. Lowe is 33 years old and his best season was 2002 with the Red Sox when he had a 21-8 record with a 2.58 ERA. The Cubs need another starter, but I do not know about Lowe. He pitched well for a bad team last year and how would he fair in Wrigley?

Here is my idea for Jim Hendry’s Plan B. (please note this was started before Furcal agreed to terms) All of the Internet, radio and newspaper reports have stated if the Braves lose Furcal they will pursue Julio Lugo from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. As everyday passes the likelihood of Furcal signing with the Cubs is becoming more and more doubtful. So why not look at other avenues. I have a question….if Julio Lugo (or Nomar) is good enough for the Braves, why not the Cubs? I looked up Lugo’s stats and they are just as good as Furcal’s and he would not cost $50 million dollars. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Julio Lugo is on the last year of his contract (club option) and will make $4.95 million dollars in 2006. Lugo hit .295 (Furcal .284) with 6 home runs and 57 RBI’s. He had a .362 OBP (Furcal .384), a .403 SLG (Furcal .429) and 39 stolen bases (Furcal 46) to go along with a .968 fielding percentage (Furcal .981). Lugo could actually be a good spark plug and a possible 2-hole hitter for the Cubs. (From this point on is what I changed after learning about Furcal signing) With what happened on Saturday night, the Cubs have to have a full court press on a leadoff hitter. I am not saying Pierre is the answer, but a very good start. If the Cubs can get Pierre without costing them a lot, then go for it. Kenny Lofton is still out there and in my opinion, even at his age, is a better option than Juan Pierre and the Cubs would not have to give anything up (but money). Dusty Baker loves Kenny Lofton and will play him. Lofton could be a VERY GOOD bridge to Felix Pie and allow Pie to learn at the Major League level without having the pressure to perform. Also….the Cubs should not forget about ole number 5 yet, he could be back in the fold now. If Nomar is willing to play second base for other teams, why not the Cubs?

Jim Hendry and the entire Cubs organization should be embarrassed about what happened with Furcal. Hopefully this will light a fire and the Cubs Faithful will forget once the season starts. I was never sure if Furcal was the answer, but it seems to me, the only option the Cubs were pursuing.

And that’s all I have to say about that!!!

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