Cubs Off-Season Rumors – Chapter Sixteen

More Cubs Rumors

The Cubs Rumor Mill and Major League Hot Stove were in full swing again on Wednesday. It is hard to believe there is this much excitement surrounding baseball on the last day of November. All of the ‘Wrongsiders’ must be happy with Paul Konerko signing his new 5-year, $60 million dollar deal on Wednesday. Also, late on Wednesday night the Padres reached agreement with Brian Giles on a new 3-year, $30 million dollar contract according to ESPN and XM Radio. Well two of the bigger names down, where will the rest go?

I have updates on Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra, Kyle Farnsworth, Alfonso Soriano, Joey Gathright, Johnny Damon, Jacque Jones, Barry Zito, Bobby Abreu and a new addition to the Cubs Rumor Mill: Javier Vazquez.

Let’s start with Joey Gathright. I really do not understand this. All reports I have read have stated the reason the Devil Rays are looking to move Gathright is he could be the odd man out in Tampa Bay. The odd man out in Tampa? Are you kidding me? The Tampa Tribune reported Joey Gathright has drawn the interest of at least nine other major league teams. Gathright figures to be limited to a fourth or fifth outfielder and pinch-running role with the Devil Rays in 2006 due to the return of center fielder Rocco Baldelli. According to Ronnie Lane on XM Radio, the Cubs and White Sox are very interested in trading for Gathright and I also read a report from the L.A. Times that the Dodgers are interested as well. Why would teams trying to contend in 2006 want a guy that has not played a full season at the Major League level/ Give me Kenny Lofton!!

There were several reports on Nomar Garciaparra on Wednesday. The A’s and the Indians were the main teams mentioned with the A’s being the front-runner. Rafael Furcal has a lot to do with Nomar’s future. Apparently the Dodgers and Braves are interested in Nomar if they lose out on Furcal. Buster Olney from ESPN thinks Nomar should look at the Yankees.

Barry Zito was a hot topic on the morning show on XM Radio. Larry Bowa thinks Billy Beane feels he will not be able to resign Barry Zito to a long-term contract and is looking to trade him. The Texas Rangers seem to be the most interested. If anyone out there has Hendry’s email address, please send him Barry Zito’s Bio!!

Vic Taurino was also on XM’s morning show on Wednesday and he said the Phillies have the option of trading either Pat Burrell or Bobby Abreu. I am hearing the Cardinals and Yankees are very interested in Abreu and have already contacted the Phillies. Taurino also went on to say the free-agent market is very thin and teams will continue to overpay for free agents this year. Do you think he was talking about the Mets or the Blue Jays?

For those of you out there that think the Cubs just overpaid for either Scott Eyre (3-years/ $11 million) or Bobby Howry (3-years/$12 million), the Yankees have made Kyle Farnsworth a 3-year, $15 million dollar offer according to Ken Rosenthal from Fox The Farns cannot pitch under pressure let’s see how long he lasts with George.

According to Buster Olney the Tigers have made an offer to Johnny Damon. Apparently the 7-year contract Damon is asking for is scaring off a lot of teams. According to Olney, Bernie Williams’ performance over the past few years will hurt Damon’s chance of getting the contract he wants. Olney also said the contract Magglio Ordonez signed last year with the Tigers was one of the top five worst contracts in Major League history, so anything’s possible.

Chuck Wilson reported on Wednesday, the Kansas City Royals have offered Jacque Jones a 3-year, $24 million dollar contract.

Buster Olney said Alfonso Soriano could be the biggest story of the Winter Meetings. Soriano is in the last year of his contract and would give financial flexibility to anyone that signs him.

I have been hearing Javier Vazquez’s name for the past several days and the possibility of the Cubs trading for him. I have refused to believe it and tried to ignore it….but Vazquez keeps popping up….so here we go. Javier Vazquez has requested a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks to play with a team closer to his home. The Cubs are apparently interested. Vazquez was 11-15 with a 4.42 ERA in 33 games for the Diamondbacks in 2005. The right-hander has a career record 4 games under .500 and a 4.42 career ERA. Here is the kicker, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts; Vazquez will make $11.5 million in 2006 (the Yankees are responsible for $3 million). I know the Cubs are in need of another starter, but I do not feel Javier Vazquez is the answer.

Here is the latest on Rafael Furcal. Before I pass on what everyone else is saying, I think Furcal will sign in the next 48 hours. I do not think Jim Hendry will head to Dallas without the deal being done. Two big name free agents have signed and Furcal should be the next one. I have no idea where he will end up, but I think if it is with the Cubs, look for it on Thursday. The Cubs have got to be tired of the ‘Wrongsiders’ up staging them.

1) Larry Bowa said he is among the top defensive shortstops and will only get better. The Dodgers are a serious player because of the injury to Cesar Izturis and if the Dodgers get Furcal, look for them to move Izturis to second base.

2) According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Cubs offer to Furcal is significantly more than the Braves and Furcal should sign with the Cubs in the next 48 hours.

3) Charley Steiner also reported the Dodgers are looking to sign Furcal. Izturis will not be back until after the All-Star Break because of Tommy John Surgery. Steiner thinks a middle infield of Izturis and Furcal would be great for the Dodgers for many years.

4) Buster Olney thinks Furcal will sign with the Cubs and should be embarrassed if they do not get it done. He said Furcal would be a perfect fit in Chicago and mentioned that he and Juan Pierre would be great in front of Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez.

It has been a wild three days, what will the rest of the week bring? Could there be a new #1 in the Cubs Media Guide? We will have to wait and see.

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