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Ward to Return….Floyd and Trachsel Declined, A 40-Man Addition plus News and Rumors from Around the League

Updated – 9:21am C.T. with Additions to the Rumor Mill

The Cubs and Daryle Ward exercised their mutual option for $1.2 million dollars for the 2008 season. Ward proved to be a valuable weapon off of Lou Piniella’s bench last season. The Cubs also declined the $5 million dollar option on Cliff Floyd and the $4.75 million dollar option on Steve Trachsel making both players free agents.

The Cubs added Adam Harben to the 40-man roster on Saturday. Harbin spent most of the 2007 season on the DL with a right elbow injury. Harbin came to the Cubs in the Phil Nevin trade during the 2006 season….

Paul Sullivan mentioned Hiroki Kuroda again on Saturday and stated there is a “50-50 chance” of Kuroda deciding to opt out of his current contract with Hiroshima and play next season in the Major Leagues. Sullivan said if Kuroda makes the jump, the Cubs and the Mariners will be the two teams most interested.

Sullivan went on to say the Cubs payroll is around $105 million for 2008 and that should leave enough money for the Cubs to resign Kerry Wood, another starting pitcher and “a regular right fielder.”

From Around the League….

The Pirates appear to have a new manager. XM Radio and ESPN.com are reporting the Pirates will name John Russell their new manager on Monday. Russell managed the Phillies Triple-A team last season and was the Pirates third base coach for three seasons before moving to the Phillies organization.

The Astros are going to make “a strong run at Luis Castilloaccording to Ken Rosenthal.

Finally….according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals have targeted Curt Schilling as a “potential short-term solution for their tattered rotation.” Schilling is rumored to be seeking a 1-year deal.

Updated – Fukudome, Kuroda, Silva and Drew?

Bruce Miles stated on Sunday morning the Cubs do have interest in Kosuke Fukudome and Hiroki Kuroda. According to Miles the Cubs “discussed the possible signings” of both Japanese players but neither one of the players have declared free agency. Miles suggests it might be “easier” to sign Fukudome because “the fierce competition for pitching“….stay tuned and where is The Vapors old 45 when you need it?

The Boston Globe suggested the Cubs could be interested in trading for J.D. Drew.

Carlos Silva has the same agent as Carlos Zambrano, Barry Praver, and could be on the Cubs radar? Phil Rogers had a blurb about Silva on Saturday and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune mentioned the fact the Cubs expressed interest in Silva at the trading deadline last season. There is a connection between the two Carlos (Zambrano and Silva), but would there be a fit for Silva with the Cubs? Silva likely will be looking for a big pay day, $8-$10 million a year according to the Star-Tribune, but will not cost his new team a draft choice in compensation because of his poor performance last season, 13-14 with a 4.19 ERA.

Quote of the Day

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else." - Charles Dickens
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