The three winters leading up to this off-season saw the Cubs spend money on free agents like never before. They signed players to a lot of big contracts, back-loaded them all and hoped they would win the illusive title before it all caught up to them.
As the saying is defined, “You can put off paying your debts only so long. Eventually you’ll have to pay the piper. You can’t get away with that forever. You’ll have to pay the piper someday.”
So while Jim Hendry attempts to figure out how to move money and make changes to a team with a lot of holes (and no room in the payroll), here is the latest from the mill and Ryan Dempster on ESPN 1000.
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball conducted his weekly chat on ESPN Chicago on Tuesday afternoon … here are the highlights:
- Levine still thinks once the Cubs trade Milton Bradley for Pat Burrell, Jim Hendry will send Burrell to the Mets for Luis Castillo. Levine said, “The Mets are dying for some RBI production, and Burrell would fit nicely into LF for them.“
- Levine does not see any way Bradley is back with the Cubs in 2010 … and it will cost them half of the $12.5 million owed to Bradley in 2011.
- If the Mets sign Jason Bay it would not handcuff the Cubs according to Levine. Burrell would “have to sit for a while” and “worst-case scenario, Burrell is the Cubs starting RF, which would be scary defensively.“
- The Cubs have “had their eye” on Matt Capps for the last three years. Right now the Cubs do not have enough money to sign Matt Capps.
- The Rangers still like Bradley according to Levine.
- Geovany Soto is “working extremely hard in Puerto Rico.” Soto is one of the keys to 2010 and the Cubs have sent trainers and other baseball people down to monitor him.
- The Cubs are not trying to trade any other players and Levine does not see “much flexibility in the trade market for Hendry.“
- The Cubs have spoken to Scott Podsednik’s agent.
- Milton Bradley’s contract “has nothing to do with Hendry’s ability to spend money.“
- Ryan Theriot is the Cubs’ leadoff hitter right now.
- Carlos Zambrano is working out in Chicago and reportedly has lost 15 pounds this winter. Levine thinks he’s committed “to make up for an embarrassing season in 2009.“
- Ryan Theriot and Carlos Marmol will each receive $3 million in their first year of arbitration.
- Jim Hendry will need next year’s payroll to be increased in order to add Marlon Byrd.
The Cubs were one of 15 teams to watch Aroldis Chapman throw a bullpen session in Houston on Tuesday. The former Cuban national team pitcher topped out at 96 mph on Tuesday. The Red Sox are the only team that has reportedly offered the southpaw a contract ($15.5 million).
The Tribune reported the Cubs “are considered long shots at best” to sign Chapman … it is expected to be another Yankees-Red Sox bidding war.
According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs “increased their pursuit of free-agent outfielder Marlon Byrd” on Tuesday in the wake of Mike Cameron agreeing to terms on a two-year deal with the Red Sox.
The Cubs wanted Cameron but if they sign Byrd they would reunite him with Rudy Jaramillo.
Byrd is the Cubs top available option to fill their hole in center according to the Tribune.
Bruce Miles reported that the Cubs like Byrd “but they haven’t moved significantly down the road with him (or any outfielder) yet.”
The Cubs have had conversations with Byrd’s agents … but nothing is imminent according to the Tribune.
According to a report from the Tribune, Coco Crisp “has emerged as a possibility now that the White Sox have acquired Juan Pierre.” Crisp is not high on the Cubs list but might move up if Marlon Byrd signs with another team.
Ryan Dempster on ESPN 1000
The always-entertaining Ryan Dempster joined Waddle and Silvy on Tuesday. Dempster discussed his daughter, his upcoming fundraiser, 2009 and of course Milton Bradley.
Dempster said his daughter is doing well. April was the hardest time for him and his wife. Dempster found out about his daughter’s illness three days after she was born while in a hotel in Houston (right around Opening Day). Dempster indicated things are looking up but there is a long way to go.
Ryan Dempster is hosting a fundraiser benefiting the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Foundation to help children with DiGeorge Syndrome (the disease his daughter has) on Thursday, December 17 at D’Agostino’s. For more information on the event, click on this link to MyWrigleyville.com.
The conversation then turned back to baseball and the 2009 season. Dempster said the Cubs did not play the way they are capable. When they lost Aramis Ramirez in May they did not find a way to get past it. He mentioned the fact every team goes through injuries and pointed out that injuries are no excuse. He explained that everyone began to press at that point and were not able to get out of the hole in August.
Dempster said they must return to playing the way they are capable in 2010 … and it is up to the individuals to prepare better on a daily basis and play better as a team.
Ryan Dempster said it is hard to judge someone when you are not on their journey … in reference to Milton Bradley. Bradley came to Chicago with a lot of expectations including the high expectations he put on himself. Dempster explained he got off to a rough start … and he is sure if Milton looks back he wishes he could have done things differently.
Dempster said Milton Bradley is a “really, really good guy” despite what the public perception is. Dempster said there were certain things he handled poorly and pointed out the fact Bradley is a better person and teammate than that.
Dempster feels Bradley could help the Cubs in 2010 and he is positive Bradley will be out to prove he was not himself in 2009 … that he is more like the player in Texas in 2008.
Bradley back in the Cubs’ clubhouse would be uncomfortable at first according to Dempster. He said they could put him in a dunk tank and let everyone take a few shots … of course, Dempster was joking.
Dempster explained that he is a very, very forgiving person. He knows how great it is to play and win in Chicago.
“If he’s back on this team, which I expect him to be, I want him to enjoy that and experience what it is like to play and win at Wrigley.”
Ryan Dempster said he would like Milton to be able to go out there (at Wrigley) and have fun.
Dempster is focused on getting ready for the season. He is not paying attention to all of the Hot Stove rumors and moves. Dempster indicated that is Jim Hendry’s department. Hendry will do a good job filling the Cubs’ needs but the team needs to play better and “bounce back” next season.
ESPN Chicago’s Top Ten Cubs of the Decade
- 10. Mark DeRosa
- 9. Mark Prior
- 8. Ryan Theriot
- 7. Moises Alou
- 6. Sammy Sosa
- 5. Ryan Dempster
- 4. Kerry Wood
- 3. Derrek Lee
- 2. Carlos Zambrano
- 1. Aramis Ramirez
For those that have not voted … The CCO has a poll of which player the Faithful thinks was the best from 2000 – 2009 on the right side of the site.
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If you don’t have an account on the CCO … sign-up for one to share your thoughts and interact with the rest of the Faithful.
Well, that’s the latest … and I am sticking to it!