Questions and Rumors Surrounding the Cubs

As the Winter Meetings approach, the Cubs appear focused on acquiring a left-handed bat for right field before trading for Jake Peavy. All indications are that the Cubs and Padres continue to discuss Peavy but until the new ownership is in place there is simply not enough remaining in the budget to add the former Cy Young Award winner to the rotation.

For the second day in a row Milton Bradley was linked to the Cubs by the mainstream media. Ken Rosenthal reported the possibility early on Friday morning and stated other options like Raul Ibanez, Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn, Jeremy Hermida, Mark Teahen, David DeJesus, Brian Giles and Randy Winn might not be available or the right fit.

Here are the updates from the mill. Plus…. Are the Orioles no longer the third team in the Peavy talks? Is Ronny Cedeno back in the talks for Jake Peavy? Could the Cubs non-tender Chad Gaudin? Have the Cubs asked around about Alfonso Soriano? And possible trading chips Jim Hendry could be heading to Vegas with….

Chad Gaudin

According to a report in the Tribune, “it wouldn’t be surprising at all if the Cubs non-tenderedChad Gaudin. The Tribune brought up Gaudin’s mysterious late-night injury toward the end of the season and his 6.26 ERA as reasons the Cubs could part ways with Gaudin.

The former A’s starter/reliever seems to be a perfect fit to be Lou Piniella’s long man next season, especially if they deal Sean Marshall this winter.

Ronny Cedeno

In the wake of the Padres trading Khalil Greene to the Cardinals on Thursday, a report from the San Diego Union-Tribune focused on the Padres’ shortstop woes. Kevin Towers said on Thursday night, “Our best option is probably via trade” to replace Greene. The other option would be a “cheap free agent.

The San Diego Union-Tribune mentioned David Eckstein as an option but stated “the Cubs offered reserve shortstop Ronny Cedeno as part of a package for Padres ace Jake Peavy, and Towers said he will revisit talks with Chicago GM Jim Hendry next week at the winter meetings in Las Vegas.

With Greene out of the picture in San Diego, Jim Hendry might have gained a trading chip for Jake Peavy….and at the same time help out Ronny Cedeno. Cedeno has the tools to be a good shortstop at the big league level, he simply cannot put it together mentally under the pressure of playing on the North Side.

Alfonso Soriano

Dave Kaplan reported a few weeks back that the Cubs called around to gauge interest in Alfonso Soriano….a very surprising comment at the time. But a report on Cubs.com Thursday indicated that one of the “big contracts” the Cubs might unload at the Winter Meetings….Alfonso Soriano. From Cubs.com:

“If anyone is interested, the final six years of Alfonso Soriano’s $136 million deal.”

Are the Cubs really shopping Soriano? Stay tuned….

Jake Peavy

Of course, what would updates from the rumor mill be without mentioning Jake Peavy? Dave Kaplan talked in between segments and guests on Thursday night about the Cubs quest to trade for Jake Peavy. Kaplan said he made calls about Peavy and called the possible trade “nonsense“. Kaplan questioned why the Cubs would trade their best prospect, Josh Vitters, from a farm system that Tim Wilken is trying to rebuild….as well as taking on another huge contract for a pitcher that missed seven starts last year. Kaplan said the addition of Peavy would cost the Cubs $83 million dollars.

Peavy is owed $11 million for 2009, $15 million in 2010, $16 million in 2011 and $17 million in 2012 with a club option for 2013 worth $22 million with a $4 million dollar buyout. That is a guaranteed contract worth $63 million if his option for 2013 was not exercised. But rumors have suggested Peavy would want his option for $22 million picked up to approve a trade, add in the option and the figure owed to Peavy would be very close to what Kaplan reported….

Kaplan was very adamant about the fact he would not make the deal if he were the Cubs. He said he asked Steve Stone about making the trade and Stone said he would not make the deal. Kaplan went on to explain that he talked to two scouts on Thursday and they told him Jake Peavy is a number two pitcher outside of PETCO and not a number one….at Wrigley, according to Kaplan, Peavy would not be an elite number one pitcher.

Sean Marshall is the Cubs ‘security blanket‘ for Rich Harden according to Kaplan. He explained that he heard the framework for the Peavy deal was in place.

Buster Olney discussed the Peavy trade briefly with Charley Steiner on the Baseball Beat Thursday. Olney said the Padres are looking for young athletic players for Peavy, like Josh Vitters. Olney explained that in the post-steroid era teams are looking to be more athletic, especially the Padres in that big ballpark.

In his blog Olney said the discussion between the Cubs and Padres “are essentially on hold at this point, as the Cubs’ ownership is being settled.” Olney indicated once the ownership situation is solved, “the talks figure to restart.” Olney mentioned the same as Kaplan about the framework being in place for the deal and the fact it is centered around Josh Vitters.

Ken Rosenthal reported the Cubs “continue to speak daily” with the Padres about Jake Peavy and the deal still might require a third team….but according to Rosenthal, that third team, “at least for now is not the Orioles.

Adam Dunn

Buster Olney reported that the Cubs would like to have Adam Dunn in their lineup but with Alfonso Soriano in left, Dunn in right would give the Cubs a defensively challenged outfield. Olney said, “There’s virtually no chance of their moving Soriano’s contract.Dunn has lost 14 pounds already this off-season.

Jeremy Hermida

The Florida Marlins’ outfielder has been in and out of the rumor mill all off-season….and on Thursday a report from MLB.com put him right back in. According to the report, the Cubs are one of four teams with Jeremy Hermida on their radar. The other three: the Rays, the Phillies and the Brewers.

Trading Chips?

According to a report on Cubs.com, Ronny Cedeno, Jason Marquis and Felix Pie are “trading possibilities” at the Winter Meetings.

Top Prospects

The Cubs top prospects according to Cubs.com:

  • Tyler Colvin
  • Josh Vitters
  • Angel Guzman
  • Mitch Atkins
  • Justin Berg
  • Rocky Roquet
  • Marcos Mateo

Len Kasper

The only news…. According to multiple reports on Thursday, Len Kasper received a contract extension and will remain the voice of the Cubs on the television side through the 2011 season.

Finally…. The CCO added a new feature on Thursday night. Check out the Poll on the right side of the site and place your vote. The poll will change from time to time, but the first is….Should the Cubs include Josh Vitters in a deal for Jake Peavy?

Well, that’s the latest….and I’m sticking to it!

Quote of the Day

"Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none." - William Shakespeare
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