On Again or Off Again?

Is Jim Hendry still interested in trading for Brian Roberts? Has he stepped up his pursuit and has also targeted Erik Bedard? Is Matt Murton heading to Texas or San Diego? Could Jason Marquis be involved in a deal with the Orioles? What about Marlon Byrd? So many questions and so many rumors.

A day after the conclusion of the Convention the rumor mill kicked into high gear, fueled mostly by a report from Phil Rogers, but Ken Rosenthal had a hand in it as well. Jim Hendry shot down rumors on Saturday morning of a proposed trade with the Orioles that could have included both Roberts and Bedard in a 9-player deal. There were indications on Sunday, all talks were dead….once again, but the way it looks, these rumors will keep surfacing until Opening Day or a deal for one or both of the players is completed.

The Cubs agreed to a 1-year, $860,000 contract with Michael Wuertz on Monday to avoid arbitration. Wuertz was the last arbitration eligible player for the Cubs this off-season.

Here is the latest round of rumors, plus news and notes from around the league….

The Cubs

Erik Bedard and Brian Roberts

Rumors surrounding Jim Hendry possibly trading for Bedard and Roberts surfaced once again on Monday. Ken Rosenthal talked about the likelihood of the Cubs being able to trade for both players on Baseball This Morning.

According to Rosenthal, the Orioles have put a self-imposed timetable to deal Roberts and Bedard by the end of the month or keep them and attempt to trade them during the season. He thinks the Cubs are still pursuing Roberts but he does not feel they have enough to acquire Bedard in the same deal. Rosenthal said the Cubs would have to come up with a similar deal that the Tigers traded to the Marlins for Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera….and Rosenthal said the Cubs do not have prospects near the caliber of both Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin.

Phil Rogers stated Peter Angelos shot down the rumored “7-2” deal over the weekend. Rogers reported the talks are back on. He cited a “very highly placed source, which means it is making the rounds of baseball’s decision makers.” Rogers speculated a three-team deal that involved the Rangers and Orioles could net the Cubs Roberts, Bedard and Marlon Byrd.

Bruce Miles released a report late on Monday afternoon and basically shot down Phil Rogers. Miles said Hendry is still working “on possible trades but informed insiders say no renewed talks are under way for a blockbuster with the Baltimore Orioles that would bring pitcher Erik Bedard and second baseman Brian Roberts to Chicago.

Dave Kaplan reported on Monday night that teams have seen medical records on Bedard….one of those teams being the Cubs. Kaplan said he was told, “They are not as solid as you would think.Phil Rogers briefly mentioned the Cubs are “worried about Bedard’s medicals”….most think Bedard is fine. Two medical concerns on the same day, interesting.

The Baltimore Sun reported the Cubs “would be willing to part” with Rich Hill in a deal for Roberts and Bedard. According to the Sun, the Cubs do not have the prospects in order to land both in the same trade. The Sun stated the Mariners would be able to offer a better package.

According to a report in the Sun-Timesforget about” the Cubs landing both Roberts and Bedard….there is not enough in the farm system.

Matt Murton

According to multiple reports on Monday last weekend’s Cubs Convention could be the last public appearance for Matt Murton as a Chicago Cub. Bruce Miles reported, “Hendry is actively shopping outfielder Matt Murton.

Ken Rosenthal reported late Monday night, the San Diego Padres have targeted Matt Murton as a possible fit to fill their need for a left fielder. Murton could be involved in a deal with the Orioles for Brian Roberts, according to Rosenthal, or the Cubs might want to keep Murton in case another outfielder is dealt to Baltimore.

Marlon Byrd

The Cubs appear very interested in acquiring Marlon Byrd from the Rangers, but at what price? The Cubs and Byrd have been linked together for the last three weeks, those rumors gained a little momentum over the weekend and then hit the absurd level on Monday.

According to Bruce Miles, “the Cubs like Texas outfielder Marlon Byrd.Jim Hendry mentioned numerous times during the convention he is looking to add a right-handed outfielder before Spring Training. Byrd would fit those needs and would be a good fit with the Cubs in a platoon role….but not at the ridiculous price reported by Phil Rogers.

According to Rogers, “The rumor in Texas involved Byrd for Matt Murton, but others say the deal would be Byrd for two or three players, including Murton. The Rangers, like the Orioles, apparently want pitching prospect Sean Gallagher to be in the deal.

If these rumors turn out to be true, the Cubs have more than overpaid for Byrd, but at the same time, by Rogers reporting the possible cost of Byrd being Murton, Gallagher and maybe another player….he has hurt the value of both Matt Murton and Sean Gallagher. The Cubs should receive a prospect, along with Byrd from the Rangers for Matt Murton….not the other way around.

Gordon Wittenmyer stated in the Sun-Times, the “Byrd moves looks possible, if not probable.

Jason Marquis

According to Ken Rosenthal, Jason Marquis could be involved in a deal with the Orioles for Brian Roberts. The Orioles view Marquis as an innings eater….other clubs have expressed interest in Marquis since the signing of Jon Lieber.

How about them Odds?

According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, the Cubs are 10/1 favorites to win the World Series….tops among all National League teams.

From Around the League

Former Cub, Jody Gerut, signed a minor league deal with the Padres on Monday.

According to multiple reports, the White Sox agreed to terms on a 2-year deal worth $11 million dollars with Octavio Dotel.

The Cardinals rewarded Yadier Molina on Monday with a 4-year, $15.5 million dollar deal.

Dayn Perry thinks the Reds “could make noise” in the upcoming season….and he is not alone.

Finally….the CCO participated in a Bloggers Roundtable at Baseball Digest Daily. If you have a chance, take a look and leave your comments. They have a very informative site.

Quote of the Day

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