Weekend Update – 01/05/08

The first weekend update of the New Year…. The Hot Stove picked up a little steam toward the end of the week, there was not much movement, just more rumors and speculation. But at least the talk is heating back up again.

The Cubs did announce another change to their front office and the official permission to make changes inside of Wrigley Field. The Cubs will add 70 bullpen box seats along the third base line according to several reports. The additional seats “would clip off part of the photographers’ bay down the third base line.” There was not an announcement of when the seats would be added. The Cubs also announced they would be extending the digital signage on the sides of the grandstands.

Here is more from the North Side and the latest from around the league….with several former Cubs in the news.

The Cubs

Jay Blunk stepped down from his post with the Cubs on Thursday and joined John McDonough in the Blackhawks front office. Blunk was the Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Cubs.

Bruce Miles listed three New Year resolutions for the Cubs:

1) Honor John McDonough during the upcoming Cubs Convention. Miles suggestion is right on and he gives credit to a reader for the idea. McDonough should receive a proper send off from the Faithful.

2) That Sam Zell sells the Cubs as soon as possible. Miles mentioned the owner of the Chicago Wolves, Don Levin, as a potential buyer.

3) The Cubs make one more deal this winter before heading to Arizona for Spring Training. Miles mentioned the Cubs looked like they “might get something done” with Baltimore for Brian Roberts before the holidays. Miles referred to Andy MacPhail as deliberate and he thinks the Cubs should ask about Erik Bedard as well.

Everything pointed to a deal being done with the Orioles before the holidays, Bruce Miles is correct. It appeared the Cubs were going to send a package of three young players that included Sean Gallagher, but talks appeared to have cooled over the last two weeks. Could this have something to do with Angelos’ affection for Roberts?

Speaking of Erik Bedard, the Mariners have targeted the southpaw and have him on top of their “wish listaccording to a report in the Seattle Post Intelligencer. The Orioles are looking for Brandon Morrow and Adam Jones in return. The Mariners are not willing to part with Morrow according to the report.

In Dayn Perry’s latest column he has the Cubs edging out the Brewers for the Central Division crown in 2008. Perry stated the Cubs pitching and defense outweighs the Brewers high-powered offense. Perry said the Reds are a “playable longshot” to win the division but that the Astros “have done nothing but waste money and fritter away prospects this winter.” He thinks the Cardinals do not have enough in their starting rotation and the Pirates just do not have enough.

Perry mentioned Kosuke Fukudome once again and he brought up several good points in his report. Perry receives a lot of criticism from Cubs’ fans….but whether you agree or disagree with him, Perry knows his stuff. His breakdown of both teams is well worth a read.

Mound Talk listed their Cubs Top 10 Prospects List:

  1. Josh Vitters
  2. Geovany Soto
  3. Sean Gallagher
  4. Tyler Colvin
  5. Eric Patterson
  6. Josh Donaldson
  7. Kevin Hart
  8. Jose Ceda
  9. Tony Thomas
  10. Jeff Samardzija

From Around the League

Former Cub, Luis Gonzalez wants to play for the Brewers according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

On Thursday, the Cardinals agreed to a 1-year deal with former Cub, Matt Clement. The deal is worth $1.5 million with a club option for 2009 worth $8.75 million with a $250,000 buyout. Clement can earn an additional $5.25 million in 2008 in performance bonuses and will receive the full amount if he pitches 200 innings.

Clement was on XM Radio on Thursday night and says he feels good and is on target to be ready to pitch by April 1st. He talked about his surgery and mentioned the problems with his shoulder began while he was in Chicago.

With Clement in the mix in St. Louis, the Cardinals could trade Anthony Reyes this spring according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Kenny Williams pulled off a trade on Thursday. Williams sent three of the White Sox top prospects to Oakland for Nick Swisher. The White Sox improved with the trade but had to part with their top prospect, Gio Gonzalez (Williams dealt him to the Phillies for Jim Thome and then traded for him when he sent Freddy Garcia to Philadelphia last year), Fautino De Los Santos and Ryan Sweeney. Nick is the son of former Cub, Steve Swisher.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates rotation is set for 2008: Tom Gorzelanny, Ian Snell, Paul Maholm, Matt Morris and Zach Duke. If Duke can return to his form from 2005, the Bucs will have a very strong rotation in the upcoming season. The Pirates are still interested in Johnny Estrada according to the same report.

Another former Cub signed with a new team on Thursday….Hideo Nomo. The former NL Rookie of the Year signed a minor league contract with the Royals on Thursday. Nomo signed with the Cubs in April of 1999 but did not pitch at the big league level….he was 1-1 in 3 games while at Iowa with a 3.71 ERA.

And finally from the former Cub update department….Jamie Navarro was named the pitching coach of the Wisconsin Timber-Rattlers (low-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners) on Friday.

The Reds signed Andy Phillips (1B), Jim Brower (RHP), Andy Pettyjohn (LHP), Andy Green (INF) and Jolbert Cabrera (INF) to minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training.

The Padres signed Robert Fick, Jeff DeVanon and Mike Megrew to minor league contracts on Thursday with invitations to Spring Training.

The Brewers invited Lance Nix and Stephen Bray to Spring Training on Friday as non-roster invitees. Bray was 5-2 with a 1.62 ERA and a save at Triple-A Nashville last year.

Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe