Is Johnny Damon on the Cubs Radar?

Jim Hendry still has several holes to fill this off-season. Reportedly Hendry is looking for a veteran reliever for the backend of the pen and a centerfielder. Could Johnny Damon be an option for the Cubs?

According to Jim Duquette (XM Radio), the Cubs are interested in signing Johnny Damon to play centerfield. Here is the latest …

Johnny Damon

The self-proclaimed idiot and two-time World Series Champion Johnny Damon is on the Cubs radar according to Jim Duquette.

The former Mets and Orioles GM mentioned, on two different occasions, Thursday during Power Alley with Seth Everett (XM Radio) that he had heard the day before the Cubs are “very interested” in Johnny Damon to play centerfield.

As Duquette pointed out, Damon is an average left fielder at this point in his career and would be a better fit with an AL team. Damon has never been known for his defense and his below average arm is barely adequate for left field.

Johnny Damon can still produce at the plate (.282/.365/.489/.854 with 36 doubles and 24 home runs in 2009) and is a very smart baseball player but signing 36-year old Johnny Damon would be a huge mistake for the Chicago Cubs.

Beside the fact that Damon’s agent, Scott Boras, is seeking another big payday for his client, to say Damon is past his prime would be an understatement. The Cubs were rumored to be interested in Damon prior to him signing with the Yankees in 2005 and that would have been a questionable signing four years ago.

Offensively Damon would be a better option than Marlon Byrd and Scott Podsednik … but a Cubs’ outfield of Alfonso Soriano, Johnny Damon and Kosuke Fukudome would be the worst defensively in all of baseball.

Bullpen

With Matt Capps off the market, Jim Hendry will shift gears. Hendry could take his time pondering the free-agent options according to the Tribune.

Dave van Dyck reported on Christmas Eve that Mike MacDougal … and even Kevin Gregg could be options for the Cubs.

Mike MacDougal and Kevin Gregg should be avoided at all costs. The Pirates have reportedly contacted Gregg about their closer’s job …

The Cubs have options in Esmailin Caridad and Justin Berg that could give Lou Piniella similar consistency as MacDougal and Gregg … for a lot less money.

According to a report from ESPN.com, the Phillies may be close to a contract with Mike MacDougal.

Carlos Zambrano

Dave Kaplan ‘kinda’ shot down the rumors that the Cubs were shopping Carlos Zambrano to the Yankees last week.

Apparently there was a conversation between the Yankees and Cubs … but that was all.

From Kaplan:

“Sources very close to the Yankees who would not speak on the record told me that there was really nothing in the way of negotiations with the Cubs regarding Big Z. One phone call was placed to see is Zambrano was available, and Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman was told that short of an overwhelming deal in terms of talent, and the Yanks assuming all of the remaining 53 million dollars on Zambrano’s contract, the Cubs had not interest in trading their #1 starter.”

Kaplan acknowledged the one phone call … but that was it.

As Dave Kaplan pointed out, the Cubs have problems with the rotation as it is and taking Carlos Zambrano out of the rotation would create even a bigger mess.

Ben Sheets

ESPN.com mentioned the Cubs as one of several teams that could use the services of Ben Sheets.

The Mets and Cubs stick out in the NL according to ESPN … along with the Dodgers and Cardinals. In the AL, the Rays, Mariners and Angels. All of the teams mentioned could use a healthy Ben Sheets.

Reportedly Sheets is not looking to give a discount, despite the fact he did not pitch in 2009.

If the Cubs signed Ben Sheets and if he ends up healthy, Sheets would be the ace of the Cubs’ staff. But both of those are big ‘ifs’ …

Joel Pineiro

ESPN.com asked the questionCould the Cubs show late-winter interest in Joel Pineiro? The Cubs keep getting connected to Pineiro by the mainstream media. But how can they afford Joel Pineiro?

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

Quote of the Day

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy

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