The Cubs were quiet over the long Holiday weekend while the Astros and Brewers attempted to play a little catch-up in the roster department. The National League Central, on paper, is shaping up to be very competitive next season….unlike 2006.
The Winter Meetings start one week from today and if the first two weeks of the free agent signing period are any indication it should be a very eventful couple of weeks for the Cubs. Here is a recap from the news and rumors from over the weekend, a confirmation on a DFA and an updated off-season MLB calendar…. Several names have been mentioned as a possibility of being added to the Cubs’ roster before the team reports to Fetch Park in February. Some are just rumors while some may actually end up in blue pinstripes….
Julio Lugo…. Lugo is still in the rumor mill but with the fact he has only played 17 games in the outfield (913 total games played since 2000) at the Major League level has to be a concern for Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella. The last time Lugo was mentioned by the mainstream media was by Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune back on November 21st. Other than him agreeing he would play center for his former manager, nothing new has come from the Cubs or Lugo. The Red Sox appear to still be interested in Lugo at filling their need at shortstop.
Cliff Floyd…. Floyd is an interesting name and one that could help the Cubs off the bench and spell Derrek Lee from time to time at 1st base. But like Lugo, other than an Internet rumor, there is little that has surfaced about Floyd since the Sullivan report in the Chicago Tribune.
Alfonso Soriano…. Soriano is reportedly going to be formally introduced as early as Monday as a member of the Cubs. Several reports surfaced over the weekend that he is going to ask for the Cubs’ permission to play winter ball for the Eastern Stars. According to several reports, Soriano will work in the outfield but is willing to play 2nd base if the Cubs need him to.
Gary Matthews, Jr. …. The former Cub signed a 5-year, $50 million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.
Ryan O’Malley…. The Cubs have not made an official announcement but both Ryan OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Malley and Miguel Negron were removed from the 40-man roster a couple of days ago and according to FoxSports.com transactions wire, O’Malley was designated for assignment on November 20th.
Jerry Colangelo…. The Chicago native is interested in buying the Cubs if they are put on the market. According to several reports the sale could take place before the first of the year.
Juan Pierre…. The former Cub signed a 5-year, $44 million dollar deal at the end of last week.
Greg Maddux…. Maddux could be making a return to the Cubs according to a report in the Chicago Tribune but late on Sunday night a report on FoxSports.com by Ken Rosenthal stated that Maddux is looking for a raise. Rosenthal stated Maddux is looking for a 2-year deal worth more annually than the $9 million he made last season with the Cubs and Dodgers. The Cubs are interested in the numbers he put up while with the Dodgers, the Dodgers are now talking with Randy Wolf as a backup plan incase they cannot resign Maddux.
Jacque Jones…. Jones is on the block and according to a report by Phil Rogers the Cubs are trying to build a market for him. Jones is owed $9 million dollars over the last 2 years of his contract but removing Jones from the Cubs lineup as it stands right now would result in all right handed lineup and Cesar Izturis.
J.D. Drew…. According to reports from SI.com and in the Boston Herald over the weekend the Red Sox are close to a deal with J.D. Drew but there has not been an official announcement yet. The Boston Herald speculated the Cubs might be running up the price tag on Drew and he is the last of the “big free agents” on the market.
Top 20 Remaining Free Agents…. Mike Chiappetta from NBCSports.com has an updated list of his top 20 free agents remaining on the market. 6 of the top 10 are pitchers, Carlos Lee is gone and the 2 of the remaining 3 position players once played for Piniella in Tampa….Julio Lugo and Aubrey Huff. Huff is an interesting name that has not been mentioned this off-season as a possibility to land on the Northside, just thought he was worth mentioning.
Updated Off-Season Calendar….
December 1 – Last Day to Offer Arbitration to Players who became Free Agents
December 4 – 7 – Baseball’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida
December 7 – Rule 5 Draft
December 7 – Last Day for Free Agents Offered Arbitration to Accept or Decline
December 12 – Last Day to Tender Contracts to Players
January 4 – Cubs Spring Training Single Game Tickets Go on Sale
January 5 – 15 – Salary Arbitration Filing Period
January 18 – Salary Arbitration Figures Exchanged
January 19 – 21 – 22nd Annual Cubs Convention
February 1 – 21 – Salary Arbitration Hearings
February 15 – Pitchers and Catchers Report to Spring Training
February 23 – Cubs Regular Season Single Game Tickets Go on Sale
February 27 – Hall of Fame Veterans Committee Results Announced
February 27 – Mandatory Spring Training reporting date for all players
March 1 – Spring Training Opening Day for Chicago Cubs in Mesa against the Giants
April 1 – MLB Opening Day
April 2 – Opening Day for Chicago Cubs in Cincinnati
Updated Free Agent Signings from ESPN.com – 25 have signed with new teams and the list was updated on November 25th.
Well, that’s the news and rumors from around the league….hang on and check back with the CCO it is looking like a wild ride ahead!!!