Back to the Mill….Time for the Rumors

The Cubs Rumor Mill is already turning….

With the trade deadline 39 days away and the Cubs’ plans for the post season put on hold for another year there are many changes that could take place over the next six weeks. While I do believe the Cubs should by buyers and not sellers the fact of the matter is that is not how baseball teams are usually run nowadays. Those of you that kept up with the CCO this past off-season knows this site is not a rumor monger and we do our best to pass on legitimate trade rumors from reliable sources….just not from some guy who knows a guy that works with….you get the point.

So while this type of article should have waited until after the season the reality is the rumors have begun to fly and the CCO will do our best to keep everyone informed. We will also include any roster moves we are hearing about in these reports….so let’s (unfortunately) get started. This article includes information on Matt Murton, Dusty Baker, Greg Maddux, Kerry Wood, Derrek Lee, Phil Nevin and Jacque Jones.

Kerry Wood – According to a report from the Associated Press on Wednesday night, Kerry Wood might be done for the season and could have pitched his last game for the Cubs. Wood is eligible to come off the DL on Thursday but told reporters on Wednesday that he might not be able to pitch again this season. With the $13.5 million dollar club option on Wood’s contract we might have seen him pitch his last game in a Cubs uniform. XM Radio reported several times in last couple of weeks that the Texas Rangers were interested in trading for Kerry Wood but with this latest injury Wood’s trade value is about zero.

CCO Notes on Wood – The Cubs have to change their philosophy concerning Wood and Mark Prior. Neither of those two remarkable talents can be depended upon to stay healthy for an entire season. The Cubs will likely not pickup Wood’s option and it would be great to see him resign with the Cubs for a lot less money and become a valuable part of the Cubs bullpen for next season.

Jacque Jones – According to a report in Wednesday morning’s New York Daily News and on ESPN.com, the New York Yankees have had internal discussions about approaching the Cubs about a possible trade for Jacque Jones. George Steinbrenner apparently brought Jones’ name to the table to help with the Yankees’ struggles in the outfield with the absence of Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui. According to the Daily News there have not been any talks between the Cubs and the Yankees concerning Jones but they speculate that Jones could be traded for prospects and it would not take much because the Yankees would be helping the Cubs with the salary dump of Jones’ 3-year contract. Also, according to report in Thursday morning’s L.A. Times the Angels could be interested in Jones as well as Aramis Ramirez.

CCO Notes on Jones to the Yankees – Remember last year at the trade deadline, Jim Hendry traded Matt Lawton, who he had acquired from the Pirates for Jody Gerut, for Justin Berg. Berg has pitched well as of late for the Daytona Cubs (A) and he is 5-5 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 games this season.

Derrek Lee – While the main focus on Lee is his possible return this Monday after playing the weekend with the I-Cubs according to several reports out of Chicago on Thursday morning, beware of those trade rumors made by columnists who know little if anything about baseball, the first key to a made-up rumor is when the columnist cannot spell the players name correctly. In Wednesday morning’s New York Post, Jay Greenberg mentioned the Yankees could go after an ‘A list’ hitter. Those listed included the name ‘Derek Lee’….does anyone know what team that guy plays for?

CCO Notes on Derrek Lee – A healthy D-Lee should be back and holding down first base for the Cubs for a very long time. He is one of a few players that will not be going anywhere.

Greg Maddux – Most of the talk surrounding Maddux has been his poor pitching and his performances of late have brought his trade value way down. While Maddux does not have a no-trade clause the word is Jim Hendry would not trade Maddux without his approval on the deal. Several reports on XM Radio have indicated the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are interested in trading for Maddux….only time and effectiveness will tell. John Donovan on SI.com thinks Maddux will stay with the Cubs according to his recent report.

Matt Murton – The Cubs concerns over the struggles of Matt Murton have not been kept behind closed doors. The Cubs announced last week the possible platoon of Matt Murton with Freddie Bynum. Murton had only 5 hits in his last 10 games (5-35) before Wednesday night. Murton was 2 for 3 with a RBI but his .147 average and his recent 0-16 slump has put Murton’s name on the possible demotion list according to a report by Bruce Miles in Wednesday’s Daily Herald. Miles said in his article that Murton could be sent down to Iowa to make room for Derrek Lee when he returns. Miles mentioned if the Cubs wanted to be bold they could cut a veteran….he mentioned John Mabry, Neifi Perez or Tony Womack. This was not the first time I have heard rumblings of the possible demotion of Murton to Iowa.

Phil Nevin – When the Cubs traded for Phil Nevin many thought it was a case of too little too late. Nevin struggled with the Texas Rangers (.216/.307/.415/9/31) in 46 games but has played very good in a Cubs uniform (.269/.321/.596/5/10) in 16 games. But when Nevin brought his bat from Texas he also brought a $10 million dollar price tag for this season with him and although the Rangers sent a reported $4.5 million to the Cubs it will be hard to have a $5.5 million dollar bench player. The Cubs have basically said they will “cross that bridge when they come to it” when Derrek Lee returns concerning playing time for Nevin. The Cubs have said they are not considering putting Nevin in left field because he would be a defensive liability, but isn’t that what they said about Todd Walker? With Nevin’s recent offensive surge since being back in the National League, he could be the first Cub dealt when it comes time.

Dusty Baker – Many are speculating at what will happen with Dusty Baker once the season is over. While the Cubs have not said much as of late, a report by Ken Rosenthal on FoxSports.com stated that if Dusty was going to be fired he already would have been but his return for next season and beyond “is no longer assured”. Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times had a good article on Wednesday morning concerning the possibility of Joe Girardi becoming the manager of the Cubs one day.

Well that’s the Rumors….and I am sticking to ‘em!!!!

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein
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