Weekend Update: Cubs Still Searching for Answers

What a week it was in Las Vegas. While the Cubs did not leave with either a left-handed bat or Jake Peavy, they dominated the headlines from Ron Santo to Greg Maddux to the constant talk over Jake Peavy.

News surfaced early on Wednesday morning that Kerry Wood agreed to terms on a 2-year contract with the Cleveland Indians, the deal finally became official on Saturday morning. Wood’s deal is for two years, as reported, but is worth $20.5 million and has a vesting option, or club option, for a third year worth $11 million dollars if Wood finishes 55 games in either 2009 or 2010….if Wood does not, the vesting option turns into a club option. The Cubs face the Indians in Chicago June 19-21 next season.

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Mesa two months from Sunday, here’s the latest from the mill…..

Milton Bradley

The Cubs focus appears to be Milton Bradley at this point after Raul Ibanez agreed to terms on a 3-year, $30 million dollar deal on Friday. Bruce Levine mentioned during his Saturday show that he thinks Bradley will be a Cub right around the first of the year (to be more exact as to what Mr. Levine said, he believes Bradley will be a Cub right before January 1st or directly after the New Year.)

The Cubs worked out Milton Bradley at their facility in Mesa last month according to Bruce Levine. He said the Cubs put Bradley through a complete flexibility test because they want to make sure he can still play the outfield. Mark O’Neal, the Cubs trainer, was present.

According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs “weren’t believed to have made a formal offer to Bradley as the meetings concluded on Thursday.

Jason Marquis

Bruce Levine and Carmen DeFalco discussed Jason Marquis briefly on Saturday morning. The Story breaker dropped a ‘little tidbit‘…. Rumors during the Winter Meetings suggested Kevin Towers had identified a team that he could flip Jason Marquis to once he received Marquis, and cash, from the Cubs for Jake Peavy. According to Bruce Levine that team was the Milwaukee Brewers.

Levine said Towers had a deal in place to receive two pitching prospects from the Brewers for Marquis. The Brewers are apparently very interested in Marquis…especially if the Cubs are paying between $4 to $6 million dollars of his salary for next season.

The Mets might be interested in Jason Marquis, but if he is dealt to New York it will not be for Scott Shoeneweis. The Mets traded the southpaw reliever to the Diamondbacks on Friday for Connor Robertson. The Cubs will eat some of Marquis’ salary for next season to free up the remainder to make other improvements…remember, Marquis ‘rubbed Lou Piniella the wrong way last spring‘ and the Cubs have shown under Lou Piniella that once he ‘is done with a player‘ that player will eventually be traded.

Jake Peavy

Bruce Levine led off Talkin’ Baseball on Saturday morning with, “Most people think it’s over, it is not.” Of course, Mr. Levine was referring to the Cubs quest to acquire Jake Peavy. Levine said many do not agree with him and to that he said, “All I can do is report what I am told.

Since the end of the season Bruce Levine has been reporting on a consistent basis that the Cubs are interested in Jake Peavy….even after Lou Piniella’s statements the first time stated the Cubs were not. Levine added the trade for Jake Peavy could still be made and he feels the two sides will continue to talk. He said unless the Cubs start trading off chips that would have to be involved in a possible deal for Peavy or if Peavy is dealt to another team (like the Angels)…. then he feels there will be continued dialogue between Jim Hendry and Kevin Towers.

Levine continued his lengthy discussion about Peavy by going into details of why the Padres must trade Peavy. He doesn’t think Kevin Towers can wait and must deal Peavy soon. Levine said Towers has a mandate from the owner to trim the payroll, especially Jake Peavy’s $63 million dollars. Peavy’s contract will be deemed as an asset in the divorce settlement…the Padres’ payroll needs to be around $35 million for next season according to Levine (a lower number than has been reported anywhere else).

The Red Sox, Yankees and Angels could be added into the equation for Peavy. Levine mentioned his doubts that Peavy would waive his no-trade clause to go to an American League team….he reiterated the only teams that Peavy has approved are the Cubs, Astros and Braves.

The Padres are looking for prospects that are not making much money and Levine mentioned the fact the Braves could get back into the mix after A.J. Burnett agreed to terms on a 5-year deal with the Yankees on Friday.

Kevin Towers kept pushing for more talent from the Cubs and Levine confirmed he asked for Angel Guzman at the last minute. Neither Towers nor Hendry would tell Levine that the deal is dead.

Mark Teahen

The Cubs are still interested in trading for Mark Teahen according to Bruce Levine. He said the Cubs are going to add two left-handed bats this off-season. They like the flexibility Teahen can offer and view him as a ‘bench-guy‘ not the middle-of-the-order-bat that would to add.

Mark DeRosa

According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, “Lou Piniella could barely stomach the thought of losing DeRosa, whose willingness to move anywhere in the field without complaint is laudable in this day and age.” As this writer suspected, Piniella “was upset over the reports that DeRosa was about to be dealt” in the trade for Jake Peavy. DeRosa is a ballplayer….and the Cubs need more like Mark DeRosa, not trade the only one they have.

Paul Sullivan suggested the Cubs should offer Mark DeRosa a contract extension. DeRosa is on the last season of the 3-year deal he signed in November of 2006….and figures to be a ‘hot commodity‘ on the open market next winter.

Other ‘suggestions’ by Paul Sullivan:

  • Move Sean Marshall in the rotation as the fifth starter
  • Get another left-handed reliever
  • Ship Kosuke Fukudome to Triple-A, like the Phillies did with Brett Myers, if Kosuke does not show improvement at the plate this spring
  • Play Reed Johnson more
  • Name Carlos Marmol the club’s closer
  • Bring back Greg Maddux to the Cubs’ Convention and announce the number 31 will be retired in his and Ferguson Jenkins’ honor….Sullivan did not mention this, but it might be ‘good timing‘, next year is the 20th Anniversary of ‘The Boys of Zimmer‘ and the 25th Anniversary of the ’84 Cubs.

Jose Ceda

There was an interesting little tidbit in the Newsgator wire service the CCO uses to keep track of baseball news. According to a report from the Sun Sentinel on Thursday, Jose Cedahasn’t pitched again in winter ball since a single outing on October 29th in his native Dominican Republic.” Ceda has a great upside and the Marlins are not worried….

MLB Non-Tender List

Here’s a list of the players that were non-tendered on Friday:

  • Astros: Ty Wigginton and Reggie Abercrombie
  • Braves: Chuck James
  • Brewers: Chris Capuano
  • Cardinals: Randy Flores, Tyler Johnson and Aaron Miles
  • Diamondbacks: Chris Burke, Robby Hammock, Wil Ledezma and Jeff Salazar
  • Dodgers: Mario Alvarez, Angel Berroa, Yhency Brazoban, Scott Proctor and Takashi Saito
  • Mariners: Jamie Burke
  • Marlins: Joe Nelson
  • Nationals: Tim Redding
  • Orioles: Daniel Cabrera and Lance Cormier
  • Padres: Clay Hensley and Charlie Haeger
  • Phillies: Scott Mathieson
  • Pirates: Denny Bautista
  • Rangers: Doug Mathis
  • Rays: Jonny Gomes
  • Red Sox: Kevin Cash
  • Rockies: Jonathan Herrera and Willy Taveras
  • Royals: John Bale, Jairo Cuevas, Joey Gathright and Jason Smith
  • Yankees: Chris Britton and Justin Christian

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

Quote of the Day

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