Thursday should have been a great day for baseball. Bud Selig announced baseball’s revenue reached $6.075 billion dollars this year and the commissioner “sees a bright financial future” for America’s Pastime. The BBWAA announced Jake Peavy was the unanimous winner for the NL Cy Young Award, only the 12th time in the history of the game a NL pitcher was the unanimous choice for the award….Carlos Zambrano finished 5th in the voting. Then came the news about the indictment of Barry Bonds on perjury and obstruction charges. If convicted, baseball’s all-time home run leader could face up to 30 years in prison.
So much for the A-Rod in blue pinstripes talk….Alex Rodriguez agreed on an outline of a 10-year, $275 million dollar contract with the Yankees and appears on the verge of signing another record breaking contract.
The Cubs hired a new minor league pitching coordinator on Thursday. Mark Riggins replaced Alan Dunn, who left to be the bullpen coach for the Baltimore Orioles. Riggins has been in the St. Louis Cardinals organization for the past 29 years. Sam Fuld won this year’s Stenson Award in the Arizona Fall League.
As mentioned on Thursday, Kosuke Fukudome has received an offer from the Tokyo Giants and could decide to remain in Japan next season. Ken Rosenthal said Fukudome’s decision is expected after Thanksgiving.
Gordon Wittenmyer was on the Baseball Beat with Chuck Wilson on Thursday afternoon. Wilson and Wittenmyer talked about the current status of the Cubs and what the team’s off-season plans appear to be.
According to Wittenmyer, Lou Piniella is looking for a diverse lineup and that is their main goal for the winter. Piniella wants a lot of flexibility in his roster where the team does not rely on the long ball, like they did down the stretch of last season.
Wittenmyer mentioned he thinks the Cubs could end up trading Ryan Dempster and mentioned Carlos Marmol will compete for the closer’s spot and could earn the job. He said Jim Hendry is working hard to resign Kerry Wood. Wood will be allowed to compete for the closer’s role if he resigns with the club. Wittenmyer said the Cubs have a few concerns about the possibility of Wood being the team’s closer. One, Wood must throw strikes from, as Wittenmyer put it, “the get go.”….two, throwing 3-4 days in a row.
Wittenmyer thinks Rich Hill is key to the Cubs’ starting rotation next season. Wittenmyer reminded Wilson last year was Hill’s first complete season in the big leagues and could be in position to make a big leap forward in 2008. Wittenmyer said Hill has ‘number two stuff’.
Wittenmyer said the Cubs will make moves and their biggest goal is acquiring an outfielder. Wilson and Wittenmyer talked about Kosuke Fukudome. Wittenmyer said the Cubs are targeting both Fukudome and Carl Crawford. He went on to mention Crawford would be a perfect fit at Wrigley and there is already a relationship between Crawford and Lou Piniella.
The topic of Felix Pie was discussed as well. Wittenmyer said Gerald Perry is down at winter ball working with Pie. Wittenmyer said Pie looks over matched at the plate. He went on to say Pie is very talented but the fear is Pie could end up being one of “those over-hyped Cubs’ prospects“.
Mark Patrick and Buck Martinez have been previewing teams for the Hot Stove before the Winter Meetings take place in a couple of weeks. The two discussed the NL Central on Thursday….and of course the Cubs. Martinez and Patrick think Kosuke Fukudome would be a very good fit with the Cubs with the only concern coming from Martinez. He questioned the power numbers Fukudome could put up. Patrick mentioned Hiroki Kuroda would be a good fit with the Cubs as well and said that Lou Piniella would love to have a pitcher with the nickname, “Mr. Complete Game.”
From Around the League….
The Brewers are interested in Jason Kendall and according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it could take a 4-year, $43 million dollar contract to sign Francisco Cordero.