Over the next few days the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas will become the Center of the Baseball Universe. The lobby, bars and restaurants of the luxury hotel will be turned into meeting rooms as clubs attempt to make improvements for next season….and in many cases, beyond.
Jim Hendry reportedly has several areas he would like to address this off-season. His manager wants a left-handed bat for the middle of the lineup, possibly a leadoff hitter and a veteran arm for the pen. Hendry appears focused on adding Jake Peavy to the rotation as well as trying to find a new home for Jason Marquis…and a majority of his $9.875 million dollar contract for 2009.
“The chances of the Padres and Cubs pulling off a Jake Peavy trade appear on the rise, if the latest financial report on the Cubs is to be believed.”
The Union-Tribune, with the Chicago Sun-Times as their source, stated the Cubs “are now optimistic they can afford a left-handed hitter and a starting pitcher without great difficulty.” The list of players involved in the possible 5-for-1 deal for Jake Peavy…..Sean Marshall, Josh Vitters, Kevin Hart, another player from the Cubs and Orioles’ southpaw, Garrett Olson.
So as Lou Piniella, Jim Hendry and company makes their way to Las Vegas, hopefully Matt Sinatro did not volunteer to drive, here are the updates from the mill….
Gordon Wittenmyer said the former Diamondback could be an option for the Cubs earlier in the week…..on Friday during Baseball This Morning, Jim Duquette mentioned to Holden Kushner that Orlando Hudson would be a perfect fit for the Cubs.
Could the Faithful be headed for The Winter of Roberts, Part II? Well, the Cubs interest in the Orioles leadoff hitter continued to be mentioned on Friday. Jim Duquette said if the Cubs cannot sign Orlando Hudson, then they should trade for Brian Roberts.
Buck Martinez stated during XM Hot Stove on Friday that he thinks Jim Hendry will revisit talks with Andy MacPhail over Brian Roberts at the Winter Meetings.
Dave Kaplan ‘loves the idea of trading for Brian Roberts‘ and said if he could only do one of three things in attempt to improve the team this winter. Kaplan would rather make a deal to add Roberts than to trade for Jake Peavy or sign a Bobby Abreu.
Ron Santo joined Kaplan on Friday and he thinks the Cubs need a leadoff hitter and said, “We will be trying to find a leadoff hitter.” Santo mentioned a lineup next season that would feature Alfonso Soriano in the fourth or fifth spot.
According to a report from the Sun-Times, Jim Hendry “will be working former boss Andy MacPhail in his latest efforts to land leadoff hitter Brian Roberts.”
Phil Rogers on the Baseball Beat with Charley Steiner
Phil Rogers discussed a variety of Cubs’ topics with the Dodgers’ play-by-play man on Friday afternoon. First up, was Kerry Wood. Steiner asked if the Cubs cutting ties with Wood was an end of an era in Chicago. Rogers agreed and said it was a little confusing why Kerry’s time is over with the Cubs. Rogers explained that Wood was finally healthy last season, with the exception of the blister. He added that both Wood and Lou Piniella became very frustrated that it took so long for the blister to heal.
Rogers thinks Wood could be a good setup man if a closer’s job is not available. Rogers mentioned Dusty Baker was planning on giving him a call about pitching for the Reds….but did not bring up the report from Walt Jocketty in the Cincinnati Enquirer that stated the Reds would likely not be interested in adding Wood to their bullpen.
Carlos Marmol’s performance over the past two seasons gave the Cubs the option to keep Wood or let him go. Rogers said the closer’s job is Marmol’s to lose and the addition of Kevin Gregg was a wise move because he has a history of closing games in the big leagues. Rogers compared Marmol to a young Francisco Rodriguez and his two years as a dominant setup man is very reminiscent of Mariano Rivera before he took over for John Wetteland.
Charley Steiner asked what would the Cubs like to do at the Winter Meetings? Rogers indicated the Cubs need to add balance to their lineup….a left handed bat. Rogers expects the Cubs to move on Brian Roberts, if he is made available.
The Cubs have discussed Bobby Abreu and Raul Ibanez, but an intriguing name, according to Rogers, is Brian Giles. He does not think Giles will waive his no-trade clause (Rogers did not mention what Bruce Levine has reported all winter…Giles turned down a trade to the Cubs last year at the deadline). Rogers thinks if the Cubs could pull a deal for Jake Peavy and Brian Giles they would be set, but he is not sure what it would take to land Giles.
The Jake Peavy rumors will not die according to Rogers. Jason Marquis could be moved, as well as Rich Harden to make room for Peavy and his contract.
Rogers thinks the Cubs will make more trades than signings this off-season.
Speaking of Jake Peavy, Dave Kaplan said on Friday night he keeps hearing that the Cubs are interested in Peavy. Kaplan does not think the Cubs should make the deal if Josh Vitters is included.
According to Dave Kaplan, the Cubs would not be on the hook for 4 years and $63 million for Peavy, but for 5 years and $85 million for Peavy….plus no-trade protection. Peavy wants his option picked up in order to waive his no-trade clause and the Cubs to allow him to retain his no-trade clause.
The Padres best option to get a deal done for Peavy is the Cubs according to Kaplan. And Mr. Sports Central is not opposed to the trade if it involves players not named Josh Vitters. Ron Santo told Kaplan he’d love to have Jake Peavy on the Cubs and called Peavy ‘a gamer‘ but thinks Lou Piniella is right and the Cubs should add a lefty to the lineup first before trading for Peavy.
Jerry Crasnick from ESPN.com discussed the latest on Peavy with Charley Steiner on Friday. Crasnick said the Padres trading Khalil Greene might ease the pressure on San Diego to trade Peavy. Steiner pointed out the Padres must be looking for a Herschel Walker type of trade and Crasnick agreed. He said the Padres would have received a good package from the Braves and Kevin Towers might have overplayed his hand.
Crasnick described Peavy as being young and productive and the fact the Padres are thinking about trading him speaks volumes to the problems the Padres’ franchise is going through…after all, they just extended Peavy’s contract a year ago.
According to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, “the Padres like their chances of getting the Cubs best prospect” in Josh Vitters and mentioned the 5-for-1 deal with the Cubs that could include Sean Marshall and Kevin Hart “plus talent from a third club.”
“Now we’re in a position with moving Khalil’s salary, it’s going to have to be a deal we’re very comfortable with. It certainly gives us a little more leverage where, if we don’t get what we want, we’d be happy to start the season with Jake.”
Jim Hendry and Kevin Towers are expected to talk face-to-face about Jake Peavy at the Winter Meetings. According to a report from CBS Sports, Towers and Hendry have “identified a couple of clubs that could work as third teams.”
“After they re-signed (Ryan) Dempster it probably became a little more difficult, but Jim assured me he’ll do everything he can to make it happen. Maybe it’s more complicated now.
Indications are that, if he is to be traded, Peavy is doing what he can to steer that ship toward Chicago.
It’s the one place I don’t think they’re looking for a lot of concessions on a deal,” Towers said of Peavy and his agent, Barry Axelrod. “If it was to the East Coast, they may look for his option to be picked up or the deal to be re-done.
Chicago’s a good ballclub, a good market, and they’re in a good division. That seems to be attractive to Jake. Hendry is a good guy to deal with. I’m holding out hope we can get something done.”
Check back on Saturday for updates from Viva Las Hendry…..
Well, that’s the latest….and I’m sticking to it!