Weekend Update … An Interesting Ten Days Ahead for the Cubs?

With the Winter Meetings in the rearview mirror, Jim Hendry and company are back on trying to trade Milton Bradley. The Cubs went to Indianapolis with the thought they would be able to trade Bradley during the meetings. The Cubs are stuck in a quagmire on the Bradley front and Bruce Levine thinks Bradley will be traded soon.

During Talkin’ Baseball on Saturday morning, Bruce Levine mentioned the fact that no one knows how close the Cubs got to dealing Bradley to the Red Sox for Mike Lowell. Levine indicated that he thought Lowell would be a Cub last Tuesday night … that’s how close the trade actually got to being made.

Here’s the latest from the mill … and a few other tidbits.

After returning from the Winter Meetings Jim Hendry said, “No one likes going to the Winter Meetings with an aggressive mindset and getting nothing done.

Bruce Levine gave Hendry a lot of praise for being the most active GM during the meetings … despite the fact nothing was done during the four days. According to Levine, Hendry spoke with the agents for ten players the Cubs are interested in … and dealt with attempting to trade Bradley.

Levine feels Bradley will be dealt to the Rays for Pat Burrell a lot sooner than most think. While Burrell is not an ideal fit with the Cubs it might be the only deal out there.

The Cubs Bench

Bruce Levine mentioned his concern about the Cubs’ bench on Saturday morning … one of the many areas Jim Hendry must address. Levine pointed out the fact it is only mid-December and the Cubs will have a lot of additional players to look at after Saturday’s deadline … but the Cubs have a lot of holes to fill.

The way the Cubs’ roster is currently constructed would not give Lou Piniella many options off the bench … and with little to no pop, much less a pinch-hit threat that other teams must be aware of.

After the starting eight and 12-man pitching staff, the Cubs bench would be Micah Hoffpauir, Koyie Hill, Andres Blanco, Sam Fuld and Mike Fontenot/Jeff Baker. A little thin from the cheap seats ….

Middle Infield Candidates

Bruce Levine indicated the Cubs should add a middle infielder this winter. Orlando Hudson is still out there and the Cubs have shown a little interest. Starlin Castro will likely start the year in Iowa with Ryne Sandberg, which would leave Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot to man second base.

Levine mentioned Mark DeRosa, Mark Loretta, Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Juan Uribe as options for the Cubs … but did not mention any specific interest the Cubs might have in any of those players.

Rick Ankiel

Bruce Levine reported the Cubs interest in Rick Ankiel once again on Saturday morning. Levine said Ankiel could be the perfect fit if Rudy Jaramillo could make major improvements to his offense.

Mike Parisi

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus gave the odds of Mike Parisi sticking with the Cubs at 18-1. The Cubs took Parisi with the 14th pick in the Rule 5 Draft last Thursday.

Goldstein had the following to say about the Cubs’ newest edition to the 40-man roster …

“After reaching the big leagues in 2008, Parisi missed nearly all of the 2009 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. When healthy, his low-90s sinker generates plenty of ground balls, but for a guy with fringy stuff, he’s hardly a control freak, and the risk is far greater than the upside.”

Ari Kaplan of AriBall.com joined Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood on Saturday morning. Kaplan discussed the addition of Mike Parisi to the Cubs’ roster.

Kaplan said Parisi spent time in the Arizona Fall League and performed rather well. Parisi had Tommy John Surgery in November of 2008 and missed time due to the injury.

Parisi throws his fastball in the 89 to 92 MPH range –60% of the time. Parisi features four pitches. Along with the fastball, a curve in the 75 to 84 MPH range — a cutter in the 85 to 88 range — and a changeup in the 83 to 87 MPH range. Parisi has very good command of his fastball and records a lot of strikeouts with very few walks.

Kiko Calero

According to a report from the Tribune, Kiko Calero may be on the Cubs’ radar. With J.J. Putz off the market after signing with the White Sox on Friday, the Cubs might have turned their attention to the former Marlin.

Kiko Calero had his best season in 2009 with the Marlins. He posted a 2-2 record in 67 games (60 innings) with a 1.95 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. Calero allowed just 36 hits with 30 walks and 69 strikeouts with the Fish and finished 15 games.

Calero held teams to a .261 BABIP and a .180 average … he served up just one home run last season.

Kiko Calero’s Page on Baseball Reference

Kiko Calero was traded from the Cardinals on December 14, 2004 along with Dan Haren and Daric Barton for Mark Mulder.

Jim Hendry

Bruce Miles made an interesting statement on his blog. Miles has been covering the Cubs since 1998 but covered both Chicago teams during the Winter Meetings for the Daily Herald.

Miles said, “Covering the Cubs, as I do, it’s fun to sit with Kenny (Williams) at the winter meetings. His approach is unique. He exudes confidence. He hates media links. He’s got a good sense of humor. He’d be fun to cover.

The last word … According to Bruce Levine, the next 10 days could be very interesting for the Chicago Cubs and Jim Hendry. Could Bradley be moved in the days leading up to Christmas? Only time will tell …

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

Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe