Weekend Update: Fifty-five Days and Counting

Is no movement the right move for the Cubs? Or is the pending ownership change having more effects on this off-season than anyone is letting on? In the Phil Rogers world of math equations the Cubs might have improved already this off-season but if there are winners and losers in the off-season, the Cubs are far from the leaders in the clubhouse.

Jim Hendry still appears to be on the trail of Milton Bradley and rumors persist that Jason Marquis is on the block. But as the New Year approaches and organizations close up shop for the Holidays, a very busy calendar year for the Cubs could end with less than a bang.

Jason Marquis

Ken Rosenthal reported on Friday the Rockies “are debating whether to sign free-agent right-hander Tim Redding or trade for Cubs righty Jason Marquis.” The Rockies could be one of the other two teams Bruce Levine referred to earlier in the week. Levine reported the Mets were one of three teams that have called the Cubs about Jason Marquis.

Rosenthal pointed out the theme for the winter on Friday. The Cubs are “willing to assume a significant portion” of Marquis’ $9.875 million salary for 2009.

Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster and the WBC

A report during the meetings pointed out Ryan Dempster would probably participate in the upcoming WBC with Team Canada…but fellow Countryman, Rich Harden was not mentioned at the time.

According to a report from the Toronto Sun on Friday, Justin Morneau is hopeful Team Canada will have Rich Harden on their roster. Morneau said it looks like Ryan Dempster will be there“.

Over the past two weeks, players have begun announcing their decision to either play for their country or sit out the tournament. Stay tuned….

Jim Hendry on Sports Central

The Cubs GM joined Dave Kaplan on Friday night and spent around 15 minutes talking Cubs baseball. In bullet point format, here are a few of the highlights:

  • Hendry admitted the organization is going through a transition with the sale of the company. He added many teams are tightening their belt.
  • Hendry said the Cubs are fortunate the payroll did not go down but with the transition they cannot necessarily add any guys they want.
  • Hendry stuck to the fact the Cubs would prefer to add a left-handed bat or a switch hitter to the lineup.
  • Mike Fontenot and Micah Hoffpauir did well from the left side last season and maybe they will find more opportunities for playing time next season.
  • Hendry added that the Cubs have a lot of good players but they would prefer to add a left- hander or a switch hitter to the lineup. On a side note, whenever Hendry mentioned a left-handed bat during his conversation with Kaplan, he quickly added “or switch hitter” immediately after.
  • Dave Kaplan asked Hendry about Jake Peavy or adding another starting pitcher. Hendry did not mention Peavy specifically by name and pointed out to Kaplan that he could not talk about other teams players.
  • Hendry did explain the Peavy situation, again without mentioning his name, that the Cubs will always try to find ways to add elite guys, especially one that hand picks the Cubs. Hendry said he has to explore what it would take to add a player like that.
  • The Cubs would “certainly love to have a starter” according to Hendry but the new owner would have to signoff on adding the contract.
  • Hendry said the Cubs do not have a new owner yet….there was a change of tone when Hendry said the word “yet“, he really emphasized the word, almost adding an exclamation point to the end of the sentence.
  • Kaplan and Hendry discussed Greg Maddux. Hendry said the Cubs would welcome back Maddux in any capacity. He thinks Maddux belongs in the game and would be successful at any level, from GM to pitching coach. He said the door is always open for Maddux to return.
  • Ryne Sandberg’s promotion to Double-A was the next topic on the table. Hendry said the organizations philosophy is for their people to not get stuck on levels and where they are in the organization.
  • Hendry said when Pat Listach left for the Washington Nationals the Cubs decided to reshuffle the organization.
  • Sandberg had two very good years at Peoria and is moving at a very good pace. He thinks Sandberg is capable of managing in the big leagues down the road.
  • Kerry Wood was next up. Hendry said Wood’s deal with the Indians is very positive for Kerry….a good landing spot for Woody.
  • Hendry has a history with Eric Wedge and other than the three games the Indians play the Cubs in 2009, Hendry will always root for Woody.
  • Hendry called Kerry Wood a special, special guy” and said he and Woody will always have a special relationship.
  • Hendry called Joey Gathright a good signing. He said the Cubs are trying to get more left-handed and to add speed to the lineup.
  • Hendry used the term “thunder and speed” and thinks Joey will have more of an impact in the National League than he did in the American League…especially with all of the double switches.
  • Kaplan brought up the subject of Adam Dunn and revealed he asked his listeners to email questions they wanted him to ask Hendry during the interview. Kaplan received “about 30 emails” on Adam Dunn.
  • Hendry likes Dunn, especially his power numbers. He called him an “on-base guy“.
  • The Cubs are not going to rule out adding anyone and sometimes an organization has to balance offense a player can add versus the defense that player might bring. Hendry did not specifically say, but the feeling was from his tone that Dunn does not fit in with what the Cubs need.
  • The rumors surrounding Mark DeRosa at the meetings were discussed briefly. Hendry pointed out he never talks about his guys. He did say that nobody on the team is ever untouchable.
  • Hendry finished with the fact the Cubs are trying to find guys to help them win games.

Stay tuned on the Adam Dunn front. He is telling people in Arizona he wants to play for the Cubs in “the worst way.

The interview by Dave Kaplan with Jim Hendry might not have revealed anything new but his tone, especially towards the pending ownership change was a little different than in recent weeks. Hendry seemed very matter of fact for the most part, with short answers except for when he discussed Ryne Sandberg, Greg Maddux and Kerry Wood.

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

Quote of the Day

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else." - Charles Dickens
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