Making the List

Jim Hendry and company are preparing for the Winter Meetings next week in Nashville. Hendry reiterated he is “looking to add a left-handed power-hitting outfielder that can play right field and a left-handed bench player with versatility.” Hendry said the Cubs could acquire either via free agency or trade.

A report on Cubs.com confirmed the Cubs interest in Kosuke Fukudome. The Japanese outfielder is scheduled to meet with his U.S. agents at Octagon today. Another report confirmed Jim Hendry met with Kaz Matsui early last week and confirmed the Cubs interest in the switch-hitting middle infielder.

Before Wednesday there had not been an official announcement that Scott Eyre had exercised his option for the 2008 season. According to a report on Cubs.com, Eyre has officially decided to return to the Cubs next year.

Here is the rest from the mill, with a couple of additions, and news from around the league, plus….are the Cubs listening to trade offers for Jason Marquis?

The Cubs….

Jerry Crasnick released his list of the top free agent pitchers. Crasnick mentioned Bartolo Colon, Glendon Rusch and Matt Clement as pitchers that teams should take a look at despite the fact they are recovering from injury. Crasnick also talked about Mark Prior and what he could bring the Cubs via the trade route. This quote says it all concerning the possible upside of Mark Prior:

If the Cubs decide to cut Prior loose, the line will stretch around the block. When asked how many clubs would have an interest in Prior if he’s suddenly free in December, one NL executive replied, Twenty-nine.

Jerry Crasnick also mentioned, “there have been some rumblings that they’re listening on Jason Marquis.” Crasnick cited Marquis’ performance down the stretch as the main reason for the Cubs listening to offers for Marquis.

According to a report on Cubs.com, Jim Hendry has enough “depth in the organization” to make trades this off-season, possibly during the Winter Meetings….Mike Fontenot and Ronny Cedeno were named in the report. Are the two middle infielders on the trading block?

Jim Hendry from a report on Cubs.com:

We have some inventory on the 40-man roster and we’ll be prepared to make a significant trade if it comes our way with the inventory.

According to a report on CBS SportsLine, Kerry Woodconsidered a 2-year offer from Milwaukee and listened to serious interest from San Diego.”

According to the Denver Post, the Cubs have signed Josh Kroeger to another minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

The Twins could trade closer Joe Nathan, who becomes a free agent after next season, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The Brewers and Giants could be interested. Ken Rosenthal had a very interesting lead in to a paragraph about where Nathan could end up next season. “Imagine Nathan at the back end of the Cubs’ bullpen.”

Rosenthal said if the Twins trade Johan Santana then it would make sense for the Twins to trade Nathan as well and receive prospects in return. Rosenthal said without Santana and Torii Hunter the Twins aren’t going to contend” and would be better off receiving something for Nathan instead of just letting him walk away.

The NY Post listed several teams that could end up trading for Johan Santana….one of them, surprisingly, is the Cubs. The report said the Twins are looking for a young centerfielder in any trade that involves Santana. “….an NL executive said to watch out for the Cubs (Felix Pie).” The trade between the Rays and Twins late Wednesday night could have solved the Twins need for a centerfielder. The Rays sent Delmon Young, former Cub Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie to the Twins for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Morlan. This trade probably will affect the availability of Carl Crawford as well.

Around the League….

Tony LaRussa pleaded guilty on Wednesday to driving under the influence last year during Spring Training in Florida. LaRussa will “serve at least 6 months probation, pay a $678.50 fine, complete DUI school and any recommended treatment and complete 50 hours of community service.” LaRussa said he accepts full responsibility for his actions.

Speaking of the Cardinals, they are not planning on offering David Eckstein arbitration and have begun exploring other options at shortstop according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Their options….signing free agent Cesar Izturis, or trading for either Jack Wilson or Miguel Tejada. The Post-Dispatch speculates Tejada will be traded during next weeks Winter Meetings in Nashville.

The Phillies claimed Shane Youman off of waivers from the Pirates. Youman was designated for assignment almost two weeks ago.

The Astros invited Stephen Randolph, Jose Cruz, Jr., Kevin Hooper and former Cub, Tomas Perez to Spring Training.

Buster Olney reported late on Monday night, the Rays were close to signing Troy Percival to a multi-year deal….but Ken Rosenthal said the Yankees and the Brewers could land Percival….stay tuned.

The Dodgers are the latest team to show interest in Hiroki Kuroda according to a report on Japan Ball.com. The offer the Diamondbacks reportedly made Kuroda was 3 years and $27 million dollars according to the Arizona Republic.

The Pirates are “discussing” sending Nate McLouth and Xavier Nady to the Padres for Chase Headley….an impressive 3rd base prospect according to CBS SportsLine.

After trading for Buck Coats at the end of last season, the Reds designated the former Cub prospect for assignment on Wednesday.

The Brewers officially signed Jason Kendall on Wednesday….hello sandwich pick.

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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