The organizational meetings in Mesa begin in less than a week, October 19th, but the rumors continued to flow over the weekend in relation to possible moves the Cubs could make this off-season. The one reoccurring theme over the last week has been the Cubs’ desire to add a left-handed bat or bats to a lineup dominated by right-handed hitters.
Until the meetings get underway in Mesa next Sunday and the Cubs’ brass determines not only the futures of Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood with the team, but the budget the Cubs will have to work with for next season, a lot of the whispers heard out of the offices at 1060 West Addison could end up being nothing more than educated guesses or wishful thinking.
The first line of business for Crane Kenney next week should be to determine the future of Jim Hendry. Hendry has an option he can exercise for 2009 by December 30th, but the entire organization is in limbo while the sale of the team has been delayed further, and whether Jim Hendry has done a good job or not is a debate for another day, but the bottom line is the Cubs cannot go into the off-season without the front office in place for at least next season.
Here is the latest rumblings on Orlando Hudson, Derrek Lee, Adam Dunn, Raul Ibanez, Rafael Furcal and, of course, Brian Roberts….. Raul Ibanez
The Seattle Mariners’ outfielder has been receiving a lot of talk over the past week and Bruce Levine discussed him a little further on Saturday morning. According to Levine, Ibanez would give the Cubs a solid left-handed bat in the lineup but does not fit defensively. Ibanez is slow footed and the Cubs are looking to add speed to the lineup. Levine mentioned if the Cubs added Ibanez, who they looked at trading for at the deadline, they could move Kosuke Fukudome into competing for a spot in centerfield.
The Cubs are one of the teams that could be interested in Orlando Hudson according to several reports this past week. Bruce Levine thinks the Cubs will be interested especially after trying to make a deal with the Diamondbacks for the second baseman last winter.
The concern with Hudson is his wrist. The pins were recently removed and he should begin baseball activities in another month. Hudson wants to stay with the Diamondbacks but understands baseball is a business according to Buster Olney.
When the rumor first surfaced the Cubs could ask Derrek Lee to remove his no trade clause last week, it seemed a little farfetched the Cubs would try to move one of the team’s leaders and a gold glove first baseman. Phil Rogers reported on Saturday that the “Giants also may kick the tires on first baseman Paul Konerko of the White Sox and Derrek Lee of the Cubs, both of whom have full no-trade clauses.” Rogers mentioned the Giants would likely have to deal either Matt Cain or Jonathan Sanchez in order to obtain either one of Chicago’s first baggers. According to Rogers, either Cain or Sanchez would be available due to the rise of Madison Bumgarner.
Bruce Levine discussed the same scenario and that Lee might waive his no-trade clause to play ball in California. Levine said moving Derrek Lee would be the only way the Cubs could entertain signing Adam Dunn….trading Lee would open up a spot at first base for Adam Dunn. Dunn in right field for the Cubs would “not be good” according to Levine.
Miscellaneous from Bruce Levine
Levine added on Saturday morning that the Cubs and the White Sox will be in the mix for both Brian Roberts and Chone Figgins this off-season….if both end up on the trading block.
Levine also feels the Cubs could make another run at Rafael Furcal. The Dodgers’ shortstop took less money from the Dodgers before the 2006 season (3 years, $39 million) than the Cubs offered (5 years, $50 million). Levine questioned his health but not his ability and what he could add to the Cubs lineup.
Finally…. Former Cub, Michael Barrett cleared waivers and was released by the Padres on Saturday. Barrett did not match the offensive numbers in San Diego he put up with the Cubs before being sent west during the 2007 season.
Well, that’s the latest from the mill (with a little news) ….and I’m stickin’ to it!