Jim Hendry’s Number One Priority … and Other Cubs Rumors

Paging Mr. Fogerty … Mr. John Fogerty, the Cubs are looking for a centerfielder once again. Rumors suggested the Cubs were close to signing Marlon Byrd after trading Milton Bradley to the Mariners ten days ago. Byrd is still on the market and Jim Hendry’s top priority is signing a centerfielder according to Bruce Levine.

Here is the update from the mill … including a new name in Ryan Spilborghs, more on Jose Contreras and could Melky Cabrera still end up on the North Side?

Ryan Spilborghs

According to a report from Bruce Levine, the Cubs and Rockies discussed a trade that would send Ryan Spilborghs to the Cubs.

Spilborghs would fill the role vacated by Reed Johnson.

Ryan Spilborghs can play all three outfield spots and might be a good platoon partner for Kosuke Fukudome. For his career, Spilborghs has put together a .294/.367/.483 line against southpaws … but struggled mightily against left-handed pitching last season.

Spilborghs hit just .230 with a .317 OBP and a .438 SLG … of his eight homers, five were off lefties.

Like most that play in Colorado, Spilborghs has struggled on the road.

A report from the Denver Post on Monday night indicated, “the Cubs search for a fourth outfielder is down on their priority list.Troy Renck thinks the Rockies asking price for Spilborghs will be “too high to get a deal done” … but pointed out Lou Piniella has always like Spilborghs.

From the Denver Post:

“As for the Ryan Spilborghs’ rumors involving the Cubs. Talked to a major league source Monday night who downplayed the Cubs’ interest. Basically, the Cubs’ search for a reserve outfielder is down on their priority list. Rockies’ GM Dan O’Dowd told me during the winter meetings that he was not looking to trade Spilborghs after having a long talk with the outfielder about the improvements he needed to make. The Rockies were disappointed that Spilborghs seemed more interested in hitting for power than for average last season. Spilborghs regressed, something he admits, particularly against left-handers, his former specialty. That said, Cubs manager Lou Piniella has long liked Spilborghs so it would not surprise me if the Cubs have called about him. My gut tells me the Rockies’ asking price will be too high to get a deal done.”

(h/t to Cubs FX via Twitter for the Denver Post link)

Jose Contreras

Bruce Levine reported the Cubs’ interest in Jose Contreras for the third time in less than a week on Monday. The Contreras rumor first surfaced last Tuesday evening and was brought up again on Saturday during Talkin’ Baseball.

The Cubs are apparently interested but as the Tribune pointed out Contreras would fit a similar role to that of Carlos Silva.

According to a report from the Tribune, the Cubs “will invite several pitchers to spring camp to see if one can stick.Jose Contreras could be one of those pitchers if he is still on the market.

On the Cubs List

Here is a list of the centerfielders connected to the Cubs by the mainstream media in recent weeks:

  • Rick Ankiel
  • Marlon Byrd
  • Melky Cabrera
  • Mike Cameron
  • Johnny Damon
  • David DeJesus
  • Jacoby Ellsbury
  • Reed Johnson
  • Fernando Perez
  • Scott Podsednik

Of the above names, Jacoby Ellsbury is highly unlikely due to the source of the rumor. As for Melky Cabrera and Mike Cameron … both still might be options for the Cubs.

According to a tweet from Jon Heyman on Monday, if the Braves consider dealing Melky Cabrera they should talk to the Cubs. The Cubs were very interested in Cabrera before he was dealt to the Braves … Heyman cited his source as the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

As for Mike Cameron, there has been a lot of discussion about the fact the Red Sox could try and trade Cameron if they re-sign Jason Bay. Cameron would have to approve the trade (free agents cannot be traded until June 16, 2010 without their permission) and Boston would have to eat a little of the two years and $15 million they inked Cameron to a few weeks back.

Both the Melky Cabrera and Mike Cameron rumors appear to be more speculation than anything else.

Marlon Byrd and Scott Podsednik are 1-2 on Jim Hendry’s list according to Bruce Levine. Byrd would bring pop from the right side and defense in center while Podsednik would fill the Cubs’ need for a leadoff hitter.

Ryan Theriot on Sports Central

Ryan Theriot joined Dave Kaplan on Monday night during Sports Central (The Ryan Theriot Show on WGN Radio). Theriot was in the batting cages with “just some guys” preparing for the 2010 season.

Theriot thought Mark DeRosa would get more than the two-year, $16 million contract from the Giants … Theriot feels he’s worth more. He told Kaplan the last time he spoke with DeRosa the two discussed San Francisco and DeRosa indicated that there were a few teams, besides the Giants, that made him offers this winter.

Ryan Theriot will be at the Cubs Convention in just over two weeks.

Kaplan asked Theriot about the Jose Contreras rumor … the Cubs’ shortstop sounded very surprised to hear the “news.”

More from the Hot Stove

  • Bruce Levine mentioned the Cubs’ interest in Kiko Calero once again on Monday
  • Jon Heyman tweeted the Yankees definitely spoke with the Cubs about Carlos Zambrano … who appears to be “eminently available.
  • Jon Heyman tweeted the Cubs could be a likely destination for Jermaine Dye … along with four other teams.

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

Quote of the Day

"It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not." - James Gordon
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