Arbitration, Ownership and Rumors

Monday marks the beginning of what could be a very busy two-week stretch for the Chicago Cubs. First up are two important deadlines. Monday is the last day teams can offer salary arbitration to their own free agents in order to be eligible for draft pick compensation. The Cubs are expected to offer Kerry Wood, a Type-A free agent, arbitration. Bobby Howry, the Cubs other Type-A free agent, is not expected to receive an arbitration offer….teams have until midnight eastern (11:00pm C.T.) to make the announcement. The Cubs are not planning on offering arbitration to Jim Edmonds or Daryle Ward….the Cubs would not receive compensation for Edmonds or Ward because both are unranked and neither one appears to be in the Cubs’ plans for next season. Players have until midnight eastern (11:00pm C.T.) on December 7th to accept arbitration from their former team.

The Cubs have six arbitration eligible players they must make offers to by December 12th. Those players with three to six years of Major League service time includes Reed Johnson, Chad Gaudin, Michael Wuertz, Kevin Gregg, Ronny Cedeno and Neal Cotts.

Monday is also the last day potential buyers can submit bids to purchase the Chicago Cubs. Reportedly Jim Hendry has been waiting for the December 1st deadline in order to receive a better idea from the future ownership on how much money he can spend on next year’s team….but most notably, if he has enough room in the budget to make the deal with the Padres for Jake Peavy.

While teams prepare for the Winter Meetings that begin in Las Vegas in a week, here is the latest news and rumors from the North Side….

Jake Peavy, Felix Pie and The Baltimore Orioles

Jeff Zrebiec, the reporter from the Baltimore Sun that broke the news on Saturday night that the Orioles appear to be the third team involved in the Jake Peavy deal, joined Lee Hamilton on MLB Live Weekend (XM Radio) on Sunday afternoon. Hamilton asked Zrebiec about the latest on the rumored trade that would send Jake Peavy to the Cubs. Hamilton asked Zrebiec if he was surprised the Orioles could be involved in the trade with the Cubs and Padres. He responded with a quick ‘no‘ and added the Orioles must get creative in order to improve the team.

The Padres have liked Garrett Olson for a while according to Zrebiec and the Southern California kid would fit in well in the very spacious PETCO Park pitching in another division outside of the AL East. Zrebiec said the Orioles, on the other hand, have been interested in Felix Pie for a long time. The Orioles executives, especially Andy MacPhail, are very familiar with him and the entire Cubs system.

Hamilton told Zrebiec he was hearing that the deal would be Felix Pie and another player to the Orioles from the Cubs for Garrett Olson and then the Cubs would package Olson along with Ronny Cedeno and Sean Marshall (and possibly Mitch Atkins) to the Padres for Jake Peavy. Zrebiec said the Orioles need a shortstop so there could be some interest in Kahlil Greene or Ronny Cedeno on their end…but he said he was told the Cubs would be sending only Pie to the Orioles for Olsonand not two players. He added that if the deal with the Padres for Jake Peavy was to fall through on the Cubs end, then Pie would not be sent to the Orioles for Olson.

Zrebiec was also told that a lot depends on the sale of the Cubs and the new ownership.

Brian Roberts was discussed briefly and Zrebiec mentioned the fact the Cubs have been pursuing the Orioles leadoff man for the past two years. He said he did not see how the Cubs could afford Brian Roberts if they make the deal for Jake Peavy.

Zrebiec revealed toward the end of the segment that Peter Angelos seems to be out of the loop lately.

According to a report from the Tribune, a three-way deal between the Cubs, Padres and Orioles “is not close to happening.” The report indicated the deal “probably would come at the Winter Meetings, especially if Brian Roberts is involved.” Baltimore has offered Roberts a multiyear contract extension and have “given him a soft deadline of early December to accept it.

Kerry Wood

As mentioned the Cubs are expected to offer arbitration to Kerry Wood on Monday. If Wood signs with another team they would receive two draft picks as compensation for losing Wood. Wood however could accept arbitration and potentially return to the Cubs on a one-year deal.

Ken Rosenthal reported that Wood could end up accepting a one-year deal from the Cubs because “the trade and free agent markets are flooded with closers, and Wood is not certain to receive a (multiyear) deal.

According to one of Rosenthal’s sources, the Cubs could try to trade Wood if he accepts arbitration to a team like the Texas Rangers, “who might embrace Wood on a one-year commitment.

The Cubs are not interested in Wood returning according to Rosenthal, not even on a $9 or $10 million dollar deal for one-year….they want Carlos Marmol to be the team’s closer.

Sean Marshall and Mike Fontenot

The Chicago Tribune reported late Sunday night that “team sources insist the left-handed pitcher and lefty-hitting second baseman are too valuable to the Cubs” and both Sean Marshall and Mike Fontenot are not available….”at least for now.” Marshall is seen as insurance policy for the often-injured Rich Harden and is a valuable left-handed arm out of the pen. The Tribune also confirmed the rumor that surfaced last week involving Sean Marshall to the Royals for Mark Teahen….are just rumors.

David DeJesus and Mark Teahen

Speaking of Royals’ outfielders, Baseball Prospectus mentioned the Cubs “have more interest in trading for David DeJesus than Mark Teahen” and the Cubs will have to send the Royals more than Jason Marquis to pry DeJesus loose.

Raul Ibanez and Bobby Abreu

Both free agent outfielders are on the Cubs list but “both may get priced out of the Cubs’ range.According to Baseball Prospectus, if the Cubs cannot trade for a right fielder, they prefer Raul Ibanez to Bobby Abreu.

Rafael Furcal

According to a report from Baseball Prospectus, the Dodgers “have ruled out the idea of resigning Rafael Furcal because of concerns about the back surgery” he had last season. The Giants and A’s remain the front-runners to sign the shortstop.

According to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Indians determined late last week that Rafael Furcal is not worth the risk of a multiyear commitment because of his back.

Salary Dumping?

According to a report from the Tribune, if the Cubs acquire Jake Peavy they would need to dump either Jason Marquis’ $9.875 million dollar salary for next season or Rich Harden’s $7 million dollar salary.

Ryan Theriot

According to a report from the Tribune on Saturday, Ryan Theriot accomplished something that no other big leaguer did in 2008. Theriot was the only player to reach double figures in the following categories:

  • Errors (14)
  • Caught stealing (13)
  • Grounded into Double Plays (19)

Weekend Articles on the CCO

For the Faithful that spent the Holiday weekend with family and friends and were not able to check in with the CCO. Here’s links to both articles on Saturday:

Finally…. According to one of Dave van Dyck’s sources, the Cubs have “a two-year window to win.

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

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt