A Different Direction?

As the Brian Roberts watch enters day four, could Jim Hendry be switching gears or are the Cubs still interested in acquiring the switch-hitting second baseman? The mainstream media in Chicago still feels the Cubs would like to add Roberts but a report from Ken Rosenthal on Thursday night mentioned two names that could signify a change of direction for ‘Trader Jim’.

According to Rosenthal, the Cubs could have interest in either Mike Cameron or Melky Cabrera. Rosenthal said “the Cubs are on the fringe of the Cameron pursuit” while the Brewers are very interested in signing Cameron and the Yankees “are showing serious interest in the centerfielder.” Rosenthal mentioned the Cubs are one of five teams that could trade for Melky Cabrera….”the Yankees would likely seek prospects” for the switch-hitting centerfielder.

The Cubs did complete a deal on Thursday, more details on the upcoming Cubs Convention, an announcement from Major League Baseball and the latest from around the league….

The Cubs

The Cubs completed the deal that sent Cesar Izturis to the Pirates last season. On Thursday, the Cubs received an undisclosed amount of cash for Izturis according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Steve Rosenbloom wondered why the Cubs (or the Sox) are not after Erik Bedard if Brian Roberts is going to cost so much.

The Sporting News ranked the starting rotations in the National League….the Diamondbacks topped their list with the Chicago Cubs coming in fourth. Gerry Fraley thinks Lou Piniella’s possible rotation of Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Rich Hill, Jason Marquis and Ryan Dempster ranks below the Diamondbacks, Padres and Dodgers.

The Cubs Convention

The 23rd annual gathering starts a week from today at the Chicago Hilton and the CCO will be in attendance and will have first hand reports (and photos) from the 3-day event all weekend long. While the full schedule has yet to be released, details are beginning to emerge (the full schedule should be released on Sunday). WGN Radio released their part of the convention on Thursday.

Friday night’s Sports Central Live with Dave Kaplan (from 7:00-9:00pm) will feature Derrek Lee, Mark DeRosa and Alfonso Soriano from 7:00-7:30pm. Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella will join Kaplan from 7:30-8:00pm. Ryan Theriot, Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster from 8:00-8:30pm while Pat Hughes, Ron Santo, Rick Sutcliffe and Glenn Beckert will close the show.

Spike O’Dell and Dave Eanet will host “Meet Cubs Management” and will feature Lou Piniella, Jim Hendry, Randy Bush and Crane Kenney from 9:00-10:00am on Saturday morning.

Ryan Theriot, Mark DeRosa, Scott Eyre, Matt Murton and Matt Sinatro are scheduled to be on WGN from 10:30-11:30am on Saturday morning with Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey on “Not for Women Only“.

A Day in the Life of a Major Leaguer” will be hosted by John Williams and Cory Provus from 12:00-1:00pm on Saturday and will feature Derrek Lee, Rich Hill, Ryan Theriot and Daryle Ward.

Saturday afternoon Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Lee Smith and Rick Sutcliffe will discuss baseball with Steve Cochran in “Storytelling with Cubs Legends“.

Major League Baseball

According to several reports, Major League Baseball and the NFL agreed on Thursday to join the anti-doping research collaborative spearheaded by the USOC (United States Olympic Committee). Both MLB and the NFL will each contribute $3 million dollars “to create the most extensive drug-fighting partnership to date between the United States’ biggest pro leagues and its Olympic federation.

“Part of the research money will go toward developing a better and cheaper test to detect human growth hormone.”

This is a good step in the attempt to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from the two biggest sports.

From Around the League

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Braves could be looking at Corey Patterson and should be looking at adding Mark Kotsay. Either Patterson or Kotsay could serve as stopgaps in centerfield for Bobby Cox.

The Cardinals signed Josh Phelps to a minor league contract on Thursday.

The Brewers avoided arbitration with Brian Shouse on Thursday and agreed to a 1-year, $2 million dollar deal with the reliever. Doug Melvin still has Chris Capuano, Dave Bush and Claudio Vargas on his arbitration eligible list.

The Yankees signed former Astro, Jason Lane to a minor league contract on Thursday.

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax