Winter Meetings 2008: Dealing with a Deadline

Thursday is the final day of the Winter Meetings and Kevin Towers told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he “should know Thursday whether the much-discussed terms are finally set” in the Jake Peavy discussions. Towers and Jim Hendry met for an hour and a half on Wednesday night according to Bruce Levine and the Union-Tribune described the talks on Wednesday as “the lengthiest of a process than began several weeks ago.

Of the three names the Cubs are reportedly interested in signing to play right field and provide a middle-of-the-order-left-handed bat, the Tribune reported Milton Bradley remains as the front-runner. The Sun-Times also reported the Cubs interest in Bradley, stating he is “at the top of their list” and apparently “the interest is mutual.” Bruce Levine reported that Bradley is the main guy the Cubs are interested in but he heard rumblings on Wednesday that the Cubs are talking about trading for an outfielder again.

The Sun-Times reported the Cubs have not made formal offers to either Milton Bradley or Raul Ibanez, but “the Cubs appeared to have found a little clarity on the issue of adding a left-handed bat, with talks between Hendry and the agents for Bradley and Ibanez pointing to a possible deal for one of them soon.

The Winter Meetings conclude on Thursday with the Rule 5 Draft and the Cubs are expected to lose Donald Veal. Here’s the rest from the Day Three of the Winter Meetings….plus, are the Cubs interested in Chone Figgins?

Jake Peavy, Jason Marquis and Mark DeRosa

Mark DeRosa has become a hot commodity around the league after his name was leaked as possibly being available this winter. The Tribune reported, “DeRosa appears to be the key to any Peavy deal.” The Twins and Phillies are apparently willing to give up top pitching prospects for DeRosa that the Cubs could flip to the Padres for Jake Peavy. So not only has Jason Marquis and his $9.875 million dollar contract, that the Cubs are willing to eat as much as half of, must be moved….DeRosa and his $5.5 million dollar contract appears on the block as well. Backloaded contracts and no-trade clauses must be things of the past for the Chicago Cubs….

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported the Phillies are “the preferred” third team because of their pitching prospects. The names going to San Diego from Philadelphia for Mark DeRosa appears to be J.A. Happ and a minor league prospect…..possibly Drew Naylor. The Padres would receive Josh Vitters, Kevin Hart and others from the Cubs. The Union-Tribune described Jason Marquis and his contract as being “the sticking point” in the discussions. Bruce Levine said if the Padres end up with Marquis then they plan on flipping him to an unknown team that has interest for more pitching prospects.

According to Tim Brown, Kevin Towers has become impatient with the Cubs failure to unload Jason Marquis and his contract.” Brown implied that the Cubs not being able to have another team pay for more than half of Marquis’ contract has made Jim Hendry turn to other ways to ‘save money‘….and that is where Mark DeRosa steps in.

The Union Tribune pointed out that the “growing interest” in Mark DeRosaalso gives the Cubs the option of arranging a deal not involving the Padres.

Yahoo Sports said the Phillies and Orioles are both involved and the following players could be involved: Felix Pie, Mark DeRosa, Garrett Olson and Kyle Kendrick.

According to a report on Wednesday night from the Star-Tribune, the Twins remain in contact with the Cubs about Mark DeRosa. The Star-Tribune is not clear as to what the Cubs would want for DeRosa. The report mentioned the Cubs desire to add a left-handed bat and the talks with the Padres for Peavy….but the Star-Tribune indicated a separate Twins-Cubs deal for DeRosa appears to be much more of a possibility.

Chone Figgins

According to reports from the LA Times and the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs recently asked the Angels about Chone Figgins. The LA Times indicated if the Angels do not sign Brian Fuentes they could ask the Cubs for bullpen arms…and if they do not re-sign Mark Teixeira, they might look at adding a power bat.

The Sun-Times pointed to the Cubs trying to add Figgins to the mix if they lose Mark DeRosa in the Peavy trade.

Paul Bako

A third mention for the former Cub to return to Chicago on the same day…. Paul Bako has “been targeted by the Cubsaccording to the Tribune to be the backup to Geovany Soto. Bako shares agents with another one of the Cubs rumored targets this winter…Randy Johnson.

2009 Payroll Breakdown and Non-Tender Candidates

According to a report from the Tribune, the Cubs are trying to figure out a way to “fit both Jake Peavy and a middle-of-the-order hitter” into their 2009 budget and the way to accomplish the task might be to make “a few subtractions” to their 2008 payroll.

Eight players have a combined salary of $100.1 million dollars for 2009:

  • Carlos Zambrano
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Alfonso Soriano
  • Derrek Lee
  • Ryan Dempster
  • Ted Lilly
  • Kosuke Fukudome
  • Rich Harden

Kevin Gregg and Reed Johnson, both arbitration eligible, “should combine to make about $7 million.” The Tribune noted the Cubs “figure to retain 11 players with one to three years of experience who would add up to about another $8 to $9 million dollars.”

For the second time in two weeks, the Tribune brought up Chad Gaudin as a possible non-tender candidate and Ronny Cedeno was tossed out as a possible non-tender candidate earlier in the week.

Friday is the last day for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players.

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

Quote of the Day

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anais Nin
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