As the Winter Meetings approach most of baseball, with the exception of Will Carroll, is following the latest from the rumor mill. Some of the experts think next week in Las Vegas will be full of trades and signings while others feel the meetings could be an extension of what the off-season has already been to this point….a lot of talk with very little action.
The Cubs figure to be front and center with the ongoing discussions with the Padres and Orioles that could net them Jake Peavy. But after Monday’s arbitration deadline, a familiar name from the mill was made a little more prominent on Tuesday….Bobby Abreu. The former Yankee has reportedly been on the Cubs radar for quite some time; after all Abreu fits the description of the left-handed bat Lou Piniella would like to add to the Cubs lineup….but are there other options that the Cubs are exploring? Here’s the latest….
The Cubs’ beat writer for the Sun-Times joined Charley Steiner on Tuesday. Gordon Wittenmyer told Steiner that the Cubs priority now is to add a left-handed bat that could hit in the fifth spot in the lineup and break up all of the right-handed bats. If the Cubs cannot add that type of hitter they will turn their attention to adding a bat to the top of the lineup. The Cubs would like to add speed to the top and Wittenmyer mentioned Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson as possibilities.
Charley Steiner asked him about Raul Ibanez. Wittenmyer said they like Ibanez and mentioned the fact they tried to trade for him at the deadline last year. Bobby Abreu was briefly discussed and Wittenmyer said he might cost too much…while Ibanez might be a little more affordable.
There are not too many trade possibilities that the Cubs can explore for a middle-of-the-order-left-handed-bat and Steiner joked about the fact that all of the good ones are not available. Wittenmyer said that the rumors of the Cubs being interested in Mark Teahen was nothing but hollow speculation because he is not the middle of the order bat they are looking to add. Jeremy Hermida is a little closer than Teahen….but not really the answer.
Brian Roberts is on the Cubs’ radar according to Wittenmyer. But if the Cubs engage those talks again they would not let them drag out for more than a day or two. Wittenmyer added that after the Diamondbacks offered Orlando Hudson arbitration that could eventually rule him out.
With Sunday’s deadline for players that were offered arbitration last Monday to accept, Wittenmyer expects the ‘log jam‘ to burst on Monday with the start of the Winter Meetings.
Ken Rosenthal checked in with XM Radio on Tuesday night after the announcement of the Javier Vazquez trade to the Braves. Rosenthal was asked about the Cubs’ pursuit of Jake Peavy and he said the talks are ongoing. The Cubs and Padres are trying to work on the third team to get the Padres more in return for Peavy. Rosenthal said the Cubs will have to talk to the prospective buyers in order to get the go ahead to add the second big contract of the off-season….Ryan Dempster being the first.
Rosenthal explained Peavy’s remaining contract and said he could end up costing the Cubs a little more than the guaranteed $63 million for the next four years. Peavy could ask for something extra in order to waive his no-trade clause.
Rosenthal said the Cubs and Padres are “seemingly making progress but there is still a ways to go.”
Phil Rogers joined Jim Memolo during Sports Central on Tuesday night. He said the talks between the Cubs and Padres remain fluid, despite Lou’s comments. Piniella wants a left-handed bat added and that is his priority. Rogers feels the Peavy ‘thing‘ plays out to the Cubs.
The Orioles are the third team according to Rogers. Andy MacPhail really likes Felix Pie and there are a lot of teams that would like to give Pie a chance. Jim Memolo said Pie has the makings of another Lou Brock. Rogers added the Cubs have not helped the trade value of their younger players, especially Sean Marshall.
Cubs.com reported, “the Cubs have said they can’t afford Peavy, too” after the signing of Ryan Dempster a few weeks back.
According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Cubs “have reached out to Bobby Abreu’s agents” and “things could move rather quickly” with either the Cubs or the Mets.
Phil Rogers mentioned on Sports Central that Bobby Abreu is probably closer to becoming the Cubs’ right fielder than Raul Ibanez. He brought up the fact the Yankees did not offer him arbitration and called Abreu a much better fit than Ibanez. Ibanez was a shaky left fielder last season and questioned how he would be in right field. Rogers said at least Abreu is a right fielder….
“As far as we’re concerned, we’re coming off a season when our club won a lot of games, and it’s not an old club, which is good. The general nucleus is solid. We’ll shuffle the deck in two or three areas and try to get better before we get to camp, but it’s not like we need an overhaul.”
Well, that’s the latest….and I’m sticking to it!