Weekend Update – 02/09/08

Finally the long-rumored 6-player deal between the Orioles and Mariners was made official on Friday. Erik Bedard was shipped West for 5 players including one of the best prospects in the game, Adam Jones. Countless reports have indicated this winter that once Andy MacPhail dealt Bedard, Brian Roberts would be next on the trading block.

Since the Winter Meetings rumors have suggested the Cubs are very interested in obtaining Brian Roberts. Many trade packages have been bantered about that included such names as Jason Marquis, Matt Murton, Felix Pie, Sean Gallagher, Sean Marshall, Ronny Cedeno, Donnie Veal and Tyler Colvin. After reading for the majority of the off-season that Roberts would be traded and the Cubs were the front-runner to land his services, it has been assumed Roberts would be in blue pinstripes before Spring Training….but not so fast according to a report by Bruce Miles.

Here is the latest on Brian Roberts and from the rumor mill, a well-respected prospect list, plus notes from around the league on the last weekend, until November, without baseball….

Brian Roberts

Bruce Miles reported on Friday night the Cubs are still interested in Brian Roberts and Jim Hendryhopes to talk with Andy MacPhail before pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training next Wednesday. According to Miles, a deal with the Orioles “won’t be easy” and “knowledgeable Cubs sources” told Miles “the two teams have not gotten serious about discussing specific players the Orioles would want for Roberts.

Miles said it is “highly unlikely” the Cubs would trade either Felix Pie or Tyler Colvin but could build a package for Roberts around Sean Gallagher or Sean Marshall. Miles concluded with the following, “At this point, Hendry also seems resigned to moving on without Roberts if he and MacPhail can’t agree on a deal.

Len Kasper joined Jim Memolo on Sports Central Friday night and talked all things Cubs….including Brian Roberts. Kasper mentioned a deal could take place before Spring Training to add another player to the Cubs roster. Kasper did not say Roberts will be added but did indicate there is still a possibility. Kasper likes the team the Cubs have on paper right now and feels they are better than they were at the end of last season.

Kasper thinks adding Roberts would free up Mark DeRosa to be used all over the field. He brought up DeRosa would be able to fill in at second base, third base, first base, right field and even shortstop thus making Ryan Theriot more effective in 115-120 games compared to 145-150 games.

Kasper also brought up a conversation with Chris DeLuca about the possibility of the Cubs looking at Roberts in centerfield if a trade does take place.

Sean Deveney talked about the remaining players that could still be on the trading block. Deveney said the Cubs are still interested in Roberts and including Felix Pie in a deal for Roberts “make sense.

Cubs’ Prospects

Deric McKamey released his Cubs’ Top 15 Prospect list on Friday. McKamey recently published his Organizational Ratings for all 30 Major League Teams….

Top 15 Prospectswith Player Potential and Probability Ratings

  1. Kosuke Fukudome (8A)
  2. Josh Vitters (9D)
  3. Tyler Colvin (8C)
  4. Geovany Soto (7A)
  5. Jeff Samardzija (9D)
  6. Sean Gallagher (7B)
  7. Jose Ceda (8C)
  8. Eric Patterson (8C)
  9. Donald Veal (8D)
  10. Josh Donaldson (8D)
  11. Jose Ascanio (8C)
  12. Darwin Barney (7C)
  13. Chris Huseby (8D)
  14. Tony Thomas (7C)
  15. Kevin Hart (6A)

Player potential is on a scale of 1-10 representing the upside of a player. 10 is a Hall of Fame-type player, 9 an elite player, 8 a solid regular, 7 an average player, 6 a platoon player, 5 a Major League reserve player, 4 a top minor league players, 3 an average minor league player, 2 a minor league reserve player and 1 a minor league roster filler.

Probability rating is on a scale of A-E and indicates a player’s realistic chances of achieving their potential. A is 90%, B is 70%, C is 50%, D is 30% and E is 10%.

The Cubs

The other topics Len Kasper talked with Jim Memolo about included the Cubs possible outfield, Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano. Both Kasper and Memolo like what the Cubs outfield looks like on paper with Soriano, Fukudome and Felix Pie….both offensively and defensively. Kasper brought up the fact most players perform better in their second year at Wrigley and if Soriano’s legs are healthy, he could have a better year.

Kasper said the Cubs are willing to move Matt Murton and depending on what trades are made, likes the depth of the pitching staff.

Kasper closed with a little tidbit…. Ron Santo will join Kasper in the booth for a telecast in late March.

Tom Verducci from SI.com is the latest member of the mainstream media to mention the Cubs’ anniversary….his title, “The 100-year Wait.”

Three players from the ’84 Cubs recently attended the Rockford RiverHawks FanFest. Gary Matthews, Sr., Leon Durham and Bobby Dernier joined Randy Bush at the fund raiser for Rockford Boys and Girls Clubs.

From Around the League

A day after it was revealed Curt Schilling has shoulder problems and could be out until the All-Star break, reports surfaced that Schilling’s doctor has indicated he needs shoulder surgery to repair a torn shoulder tendon. The Red Sox do not agree and would like the right-hander to rehab the shoulder instead. Reports on XM Radio indicated Schilling has decided to rehab his shoulder after getting a third opinion.

The Cincinnati Reds are interested in trading for Joe Blanton according to a report in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Reds will not deal Jay Bruce but could send a package of players that includes Joey Votto and either Homer Bailey or Johnny Cueto to Oakland for Blanton. A very high price to pay, but if the Reds add Blanton they will become instant contenders in the National League.

The Brewers exercised the 2009 option for manager Ned Yost.

The Padres are very interested in Tony Clark according to a report in the San Diego Union Tribune.

The Oakland A’s signed Keith Foulke to a 1-year Major League deal on Friday. Foulke last pitched for the A’s in 2003.

According to a report in ESPN (sorry insider only) the Royals have turned down Sammy Sosa after the former Cub indicated he would like to play for Kansas City.

Finally…. It has been 10 years since Harry Caray passed away and in honor of the baseball icon, Comcast SportsNet will air a full day of programming on February 18th. “Holy Cow: Remembering Harry” will start at 11:00am and the channel will air three classic Cubs games, as well as the clincher of the 1984 National League Eastern Division Championship and his final broadcast in 1997. The day will conclude with a half an hour special at 7:00pm with highlights and interviews from his Hall of Fame career.

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein