The Last Weekend of Cubs Rumors in 2009

With the Christmas holiday in the rearview mirror, will Jim Hendry finish the year on a positive note? The rumor mill remained slow on Saturday with the exceptions of Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood on ESPN 1000 … and XM Radio.

The Cubs rumored interest in Johnny Damon garnered another mention from the mainstream media. Saturday afternoon Lee Hamilton (XM Radio) listed the Cubs along with the Rays as possible destinations for “Johnny Rocket“.

Here’s the latest from the mill …

Talkin’ Baseball

Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood discussed both sides of town on Saturday morning. As for the Cubs, the always-informative Bruce Levine had a few tidbits worth passing along.

Levine discussed the Matt Capps signing to begin the show. Levine is not sure if the Cubs offered Capps a contract. He knows the two sides discussed parameters of a contract but he thinks that is far as the Cubs got with Capps.

According to Levine the Cubs discussed a two-year deal with Capps. Apparently the Cubs wanted to ink him to a two-year contract in order to backload it.

Jim Hendry has between $6 and $8 million to spend on fielding a team in 2010 … and they would like to add three players. Any deal for Capps had to be payroll friendly for the upcoming season.

Levine mentioned Capps had a two-year deal from the Nationals on the table but turned it down for the one-year contract. Capps believes in himself and his ability to bounce back in 2010.

Centerfield

The Cubs priority (Levine said first and foremost) is adding a centerfielder at this point. He still believes Marlon Byrd will be in center in 2010 (and beyond) for the Cubs. Byrd signing with the Cubs does create another problem according to Levine. Where would they bat him? Fifth? Seventh?

As Levine pointed out, what Byrd could be asking for is a lot to commit to a 32-year old (turns 33 on August 30) that a team appears to be unsure of where he is going to hit in the lineup.

Levine sees the comfort zone that Byrd has with Rudy Jaramillo as a positive.

Scott Podsednik doesn’t field well, doesn’t run the bases well but would provide the Cubs a better leadoff hitter than Ryan Theriot.

The Cubs have spoken to Kansas City about David DeJesus. DeJesus hits from the left side and put up a .281/.347/.434/.781 line in 144 games (558 at bats) for the Royals last season with 51 walks and 87 strikeouts. The Cubs have “asked” Kansas City about DeJesus in the past.

David DeJesus’ Page from Baseball Reference

David DeJesus’ 2009 Splits:

  • Vs. RHP – .277/.354/.478/.832 with 22 doubles, 7 triples and 12 home runs in 143 games (358 at bats)
  • Vs. LHP – .290/.335/.355/.690 with 6 doubles, 2 triples and a home run in 94 games (200 at bats)
  • Home – .302/.368/.449/.817 with 16 doubles, 7 triples and 4 home runs in 74 games (285 at bats)
  • Road – .260/.326/.418/.743 with 12 doubles, 2 triples and 9 home runs in 70 games (273 at bats)

DeJesus played only three games in center for the Royals last season after 68 in 2008 … and 156 in 2007.

DeJesus hit leadoff in 96 games in 2009 (24 second, 12 third).

Carlos Zambrano

Levine and Hood discussed the Carlos Zambrano rumors that surfaced before Christmas. Levine spoke with Carlos Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver, and he told Levine that Zambrano is not interested in being traded. Levine mentioned Praver told him that Carlos could change his mind next week … but for now, he is not interested in going to another organization.

Levine thinks Big Z has a lot to prove in 2010. Zambrano is working out with a personal trainer in Chicago this winter,

Ben Sheets

Bruce Levine confirmed once again on Saturday morning that the Cubs “are talking” with Ben Sheets.

XM Radio mentioned Sheets’ salary demands for the upcoming season of being near the $11 million mark. Sheets appears to be asking for between $8 and $12 million (hat tip to Suzy and David for pointing out Saturday that they have read reports Sheets is looking to make $12 million in 2010).

The Cubs are apparently interested. How much they are willing to spend on the health risk that is Ben Sheets … now that’s the question.

Kiko Calero

Kiko Calero is the “type of guy the Cubs have extreme interest in” according to Bruce Levine

Jim Hendry appears determined to add a veteran reliever to the backend of his pen.

Jose Contreras

The Cubs have talked to Jose Contreras’ agent according to Bruce Levine. The two sides have discussed Jose Contreras filling the fifth spot in the rotation to start the year … then moving into the bullpen as a long reliever once Ted Lilly returns.

Isn’t that the role Carlos Silva is supposed to fill?

Speaking of Carlos Silva … Tracy Ringolsby of FoxSports liked the Carlos Silva-Milton Bradley swap for the Cubs. Ringolsby thinks the money the Cubs received in return ($9 million) from the Mariners made the exchange of bad arm-for-bad contract a win for the Cubs.

Bad Contracts

Again to carry over a theme … speaking of bad contracts. The Cubs have two of the worst in baseball … and were responsible for a third one.

Alfonso Soriano has the second worst contract in all of baseball according to Sports Illustrated.

In their list of the top 10 worst contracts in the game, Soriano is second behind Vernon Wells. Carlos Silva is fourth and Milton Bradley is tenth.

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

Quote of the Day

"Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting and just have faith that things will work out." - Steve Jobs
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