This off-season is like no other in recent memory. With just over two weeks until pitchers and catchers report, several teams, including the Cubs, are still looking to improve their roster. There are several big names left on the trading block, including Johan Santana, Erik Bedard and Brian Roberts. One of those names looked to have a new home for the upcoming season, but several reports on Monday denied there was a deal in place that would send Bedard to the Seattle Mariners for a package of players….including one of the top prospects in the game, Adam Jones. While the Cubs were rumored to be interested in Bedard, many felt Jim Hendry did not have enough to send Baltimore for both Bedard and Roberts.
The key to this deal being approved appears to be Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos. According to a report by Ken Rosenthal on Monday night, the deal for Bedard is on hold and may be off “due to the involvement of O’s owner Peter Angelos.” This development does affect a possible deal that would send Brian Roberts to the North Side. Angelos has the reputation of being very difficult to deal with, and the latest developments have not done anything to change the public perception of the Orioles’ owner. From all indications, the Cubs are still very interested in trading for Roberts, but as everyday passes it appears Angelos might not be willing to approve any deals.
Here is the latest from the Cubs and around the league, including notes and quotes from Crane Kenney on Waddle and Silvy….
For the entire interview, click on this link and download the MP3 Podcast.
Crane Kenney was on Waddle & Silvy on Monday morning and discussed a variety of Cubs topics. Kenney talked about the impending sale of the team and stadium. He reiterated most of what he discussed during the Cubs Convention. They are looking to complete the stadium deal first and mentioned how important it was for the Cubs to play at Wrigley in the foreseeable future.
Kenney was asked about how much influence Sam Zell has on player decisions. Kenney explained that he and Jim Hendry agreed to a budget in the fall. Kenney said he is responsible for the team but he is not making baseball decisions. That is Hendry’s job. Kenney said he is responsible for the PNL’s.
Kenney was asked if the Cubs could go after Johan Santana and the next several minutes were very interesting. Kenney said the following:
“Jim’s hard at work. There are a couple of transactions he would like to get done. Both of them are pretty high profile. From a business sense, when I started with the team, my first year our payroll was just below $80 million dollars. Five years later, I think everyone is projecting our payroll to be north of $120 million. It is good for business for us to increase payroll. It’s good for business for us to win the division. It’s good business for us to win the World Series.
I’ve been pushing Andy and John and I think they both believed it as well. I can’t tell you whether Jim is trying to get Johan Santana. It would obviously deplete our system quite a bit if you were. The other two transactions I like a little better than making one big splash with one pitcher that pitches every fifth day.”
Kenney was asked if Hendry was close on the two deals.
“Let’s put it this way. We’ve put enough on the table that both of them, I believe, should get done. But you only control one half of the equation. The other guy has to say yes. Sometimes deals don’t get done, not because you didn’t try, just because they didn’t match up.”
A report in the Chicago Sun-Times indicated the White Sox could be looking to trade Brian Anderson to a National League team. Rotoworld speculated one of those teams could be the Cubs.
Dayn Perry has been very busy over the past few days penning several new reports. On Sunday, Perry talked about what players “carry heavy burdens in ’08“. Number six on his list Kosuke Fukudome. Perry also caught everyone up on what has gone on this off-season. Again, number six on his list, Kosuke Fukudome. Perry thinks the signing of Fukudome “may be the one that allows the Cubs to make back-to-back trips to the postseason for the first time since Teddy Roosevelt was president.”
According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, “the NL Central has nowhere to go but up.” Zachary Levine talked about all six of the clubs weaknesses last year and what they have done to improve this off-season. The Cubs biggest problem they must improve on….the National League worst .640 OPS from the shortstop position. Ryan Theriot’s OPS last season was .672.
A report by Mike Nadel indicated the Cubs’ task is much easier than the Sox’s.
From Around the League
The Phillies agreed to a 2-year deal on Monday with Pedro Feliz, pending a physical.
The Red Sox traded two minor league pitching prospects to the South Side on Monday for David Aardsma. The former Cub was DFA’d by the White Sox last week.
Staying with the former Cub news…. Todd Wellemeyer agreed to a 1-year deal with St. Louis on Monday worth $1 million dollars and avoided arbitration.
According to a report in the Seattle Times, the Mariners have a deal in place for Brad Wilkerson but they are holding off until the Erik Bedard deal is done.
Finally….the newest clip of Kosuke Fukudome ended up in my RSS feed reader, but a hat tip must go to the guys at Home Run Derby who ran the clip on Monday. Here is a another video of Fukudome’s cannon….