Open for Business….By Appointment Only

A left-handed bat, Jake Peavy, moving Jason Marquis and a lot creative thinking appear to be atop Jim Hendry’s list as the Winter Meetings officially begins on Monday morning. But could there be more? Typically when all of the decision makers get together under one roof, the only predictable move is one that catches everyone by surprise. Jim Hendry from Cubs.com:

“The trade market is going to be a possibility, the free agent market is still a possibility. There are certainly a lot of potential left-hand hitters who we feel could fit. We’re very confident that, whether it’s the next week, two weeks, three weeks, that we’ll end up with a quality hitter. Truthfully, it’s too early to tell whether it’ll be A, B or C. There’s a lot of possibilities. Some of that will be determined, or at least the path will become clear out in Vegas.”

Jim Hendry from the Daily Herald:

“We were talking to some clubs about potential trades, had a lot of talks with agents the last weeks or so. Whether it’ll come to a conclusion in Vegas, I certainly can’t predict that. But we don’t have a lot of doubts were going to end up with somebody that will help the ballclub before it’s all said and done.”

Check back throughout the Winter Meetings that conclude on Thursday with the Rule 5 Draft. Hopefully the week starts out with the announcement of Ron Santo being voted into the Hall of Fame. The results of the Veterans Committee election will be announced at 12:00pm C.T. on Monday…..

Here’s a quick look at the latest from Sunday on a few of the players the Cubs have been connected to so far this winter…with one addition, could ‘Manny Be Manny‘ on the North Side?

Updated – 12/8/08 – 7:14am C.T.Are the Cubs interested in Rich Aurilia? Could the Rays be involved in the deal for Jake Peavy?

Brian Roberts: According to Baseball Prospectus, Brian Roberts figures to attract plenty of trade offers, and he could finally be moved.” The Orioles would like to extend ‘The Human Trade Rumor‘ as Baseball Prospectus so aptly dubbed.

Bobby Abreu: On the Cubs radar, many question if Abreu would be a good fit after looking ‘rather old‘ with the Yankees last season. Will only cost the Cubs money if Abreu is the route they go.

Raul Ibanez: The Cubs, especially Lou Piniella, like Ibanez. Every report this winter has said nothing but great things about Ibanez the person. As for the ballplayer, Ibanez can hit but can he play defense….especially right field at Wrigley? Ibanez rejected the Mariners offer of arbitration on Sunday.

Mark Teahen: The Cubs are rumored to be interested, but probably as a Plan C, not as an A or B. Teahen could be the left-handed version of Mark DeRosa but might not be the ‘big bat‘ the Cubs are looking for. Teahen is a very intriguing prospect to help the Cubs and maybe he is ‘just a ballplayer‘, like Reed Johnson and DeRosa….the Cubs need more ‘ballplayers‘.

David DeJesus: The more talented of the two Royals’ outfielders and probably the one that would cost the most. The Royals have stated over and over again this off-season he is not available, yet his name keeps popping up…..keep an eye on this one.

Jeremy Hermida: A ton of talent and upside. The Cubs have been rumored to be interested in the Marlins’ outfielder since the end of the season. One thing is that the Marlins will want a ton, but he might fit the bill of a middle-of-the-order-left-handed-bat better than any other name that has been mentioned. The big differences….defense and youth. Hermida might be a better fit in the hitter friendly parks in the central, his numbers on the road in 2008 back that up. Jayson Stark mentioned Hermida being “exactly what teams like the Cubs, Phillies and Rays are looking for to plug into their outfield holes.

Jake Peavy: Depending on the source, talks between the Cubs and Padres are still on going….while one from Jon Heyman on Sunday described them as being on “life support“. Whatever the case, if the Cubs acquire Peavy it will likely cost them Sean Marshall, Josh Vitters and Felix Pie…plus they will have to move either Jason Marquis or Rich Harden’s contract (again depending on the source). The Jake-Peavy-to-the-Cubs-Rumors figure to dominate the next week….and into the New Year, if Peavy remains the Padres’ property. Buster Olney brought up the notion of the Cardinals getting into the running for Jake Peavy on Sunday. Some think the Peavy deal could be completed this week….but this is shaping up to be ‘The Winter of Peavy‘ and does not seem near completion.

Milton Bradley: Loads of talent and probably just as much baggage. Would give the Cubs a better defender in right field than Bobby Abreu or Raul Ibanez, if he can stay healthy. Bradley figures to cost less than Abreu or Ibanez as well. Bradley could be a good fit and one that has gotten a lot of attention over the last week…..as stated, Bradley biggest problem has always been Milton Bradley.

Other players the Cubs have been connected to this winter by the mainstream media includes: Randy Johnson, Rafael Furcal, Orlando Hudson, Brian Giles and Adam Dunn. With the exception of Orlando Hudson, the rumors have quieted in recent days on the other players.

Finally….from Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports, “They also could move some players around and get in on shortstop Rafael Furcal or outfielder Manny Ramirez. Also, Brian Roberts could be available again, and GM Jim Hendry likes him.

Is Tim Brown thinking and speculating out loud or are the Cubs interested in Manny Ramirez? Stay tuned…..this is the first mention of the Cubs and Manny in the same sentence by the mainstream media, other than Phil Rogers, all winter.

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

Update – 12/8/08 – 7:14am C.T.According to a report from Ken Rosenthal on Monday morning, the Cubs are interested in free agent infielder Rich Aurilia as a back-up plan if Ronny Cedeno and Mike Fontenot is traded this winter. Rosenthal also reported that the talks for Jake Peavy remain in a holding pattern, unchanged.

According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Tampa Bay Rays were rumored to be a possible third team involved in the trade that would send Jake Peavy to the Cubs on Sunday night.

Stay tuned….this is only just beginning.

Quote of the Day

"Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us." - Earl Nightingale
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