Freeform Friday

Does Jim Hendry have anything in store for the Faithful today? Whether you agree with the moves he has made this week or not, the bottom line is things-are-a-changing on the Northside of Chicago. The next addition should be to the pitching staff and possibly Alfonso Soriano or J.D. Drew. Teams are starting to make additions and the next few weeks leading up to the Winter Meetings should be very interesting.

Here is the latest from around the league, the latest on the Neal Cotts trade, additions to the Cubs organization and the daily dose of rumors….

The Newbies…. The Cubs made five additions to their Minor League organization on Thursday….and all but one were familiar faces. Bob Dernier (1984-1987) was named the Cubs’ Minor League outfield and baserunning coordinator. Mike Harkey (1988-1993) was named the new pitching coach of the Iowa Cubs. Harkey was the bullpen coach last season for the Marlins and was a pitching coach for the Padres Minor League system from 2000-2005. Steve Wilson (1989-1991) was named the Pacific Rim Scout. Wilson had been a scout in Asia for the Phillies the last two seasons. Casey Kopitzke (1999-2006) was named the Minor League catching coordinator. Dennis Lewallyn was named the pitching coach for the Tennessee Smokies. Lewallyn spent the past 12 seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and for the better part of the past three seasons he was the bullpen coach for the Diamondbacks.

Changing Places…. The trade of David Aardsma to the White Sox for Neal Cotts came as a surprise to most. Jim Hendry stated on Thursday afternoon on an interview on the Score that Cotts will be used as a swingman out of the bullpen, a role that Glendon Rusch had filled for the past couple of years, and could compete for a spot in the rotation next season. The White Sox had apparently planned to use Cotts in that role but because of the Sox pitching being so good over the past couple of years Cotts was never given the opportunity.

Invites to Spring Training…. The Cubs invited 6 players to Spring Training on Thursday. Jason Anderson (RHP), Ben Howard (RHP), Les Walrond (LHP), John Webb (RHP), Koyie Hill (C) and Jason Smith (INF). Anderson, 27, was at the Triple-A level in the Padres organization last season and pitched in 60 games. Howard, 27, was at the Triple-A level in the Indians and Blue Jays organization last season. Howard pitched in 31 games out of the pen for the Marlins in 2004. Walrond, 30, was on the Cubs 40-man roster at the end of the 2006 season and was sent outright to the Iowa Cubs at the end of the season. Webb, 27, was at the Triple-A level in the Cardinals organization last season. The Cubs drafted Webb in the 19th round in 1999. Hill, 27, was in the Yankees and Diamondbacks organization last season before an elbow injury ended his season. Smith, 29, was drafted by the Cubs in the 23rd round of the 1996 draft and was traded to Tampa in 2001 in the deal for Fred McGriff. He played for the Cubs in 2001 and split time between the Rockies and Triple-A last season.

J.D. Drew…. Drew was one of the topics of conversation on Baseball This Morning on XM Radio. Mark Patrick and Buck Martinez discussed where Drew could end up and neither of them feels Drew fits in the Boston Red Sox organization but both think he would be a great fit with the Cubs. According to Buck, Drew would be a good compliment to Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez and would be able to play center for the Cubs. The concern for both was how Drew and Lou Piniella would get along and Martinez used the phrase “oil and water.”

The Red Sox have apparently offered Drew a 4-year, $56 million dollar deal according to a report in the Boston Herald.

Alfonso Soriano…. The Phillies are the front-runner to land Soriano according to many experts but if Pat Gillick cannot move Pat Burrell first, a team like the Angels, Astros or Cubs might be able to take advantage Gillick’s “hand’s being tied.” If the Phillies sign Soriano before trading Burrell, Gillick would have little if any bargaining chips with a team that is interested in Burrell.

The Boston Herald reported that Soriano could receive a contract with a $20 million dollar per year figure attached. XM Radio confirmed that figure from the GM Meetings in Naples and stated, “that number does not appear to have scared the Cubs.”

According to a report by Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are among 4 teams that are the leading contenders to land Soriano (Phillies, Dodgers and Angels) and none of those teams appear to be in contention for Carlos Lee. The Giants, Astros, Orioles and Rangers are the most interested in Carlos Lee.

Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Woody Williams…. According to a report on ESPN.com the Astros made multi-year offers to Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano on Thursday afternoon and are in “serious discussions” with Woody Williams. Lee’s agent, Adam Katz, said the “discussions have been productive.” XM Radio reported the same.

Jason Marquis…. According to Bruce Miles, Marquis worked out for Larry Rothschild. The Cubs are very interested in adding Marquis to their rotation.

Jason Jennings…. According to a report in the Denver Post, the Cubs are interested in trading for Jason Jennings who will become a free agent after the 2007 season. Jennings turned down a 3-year contract extension rumored to be worth $24 million dollars. The Rockies are looking to fill holes in centerfield and in the back end of their bullpen, Troy Renck mentioned Felix Pie and Michael Wuertz would fit their needs.

Scott Spiezio…. The Cardinals signed Spiezio to a 2-year contract on Thursday worth $4.5 million dollars with an option for 2009.

Juan Pierre…. According to a report in the Kansas City Star, the Giants have offered Pierre 3-year, $30 million dollar contract.

Gary Matthews, Jr. …. According to a report in the Kansa City Star, the Giants have offered Matthews a 3-year, $30 million dollar contract. (Note: the Giants offered both a contract….that is not a typo)

Dave Roberts…. According to a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Braves are very interested in signing Roberts.

Just a Reminder…. The CCO Forum is up and ready for all of the Cubs discussion you can come up with. It is very easy to register all it takes is a valid email address. CCO reader Mike has a very good topic about the 2007 rotation that all should participate in. Use this article or the forum to talk about whatever is happening in MLB and with the Cubs.

Daily Transactions from CBS SportsLine

Daily Transactions from ESPN

Well, that’s the latest and greatest and I’m sticking to it!!!!

Quote of the Day

"Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time." - Betsy Smith

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