Seth Everett recently put baseball’s off-season into perspective. During his show on XM Radio with Jim Bowden, the vocal Mr. Everett said, “Pennants are not won in December but there is pressure to win in December.”
The Cubs still have holes to fill this winter. From the bullpen to a centerfielder to possibly a fourth outfielder and a middle infielder, Jim Hendry reportedly has several moves he would still like to make before pitchers and catchers report on February 15.
Here’s the latest from the mill … including updates on Jacoby Ellsbury and Jose Contreras plus notes from an interview with Fernando Perez. Chatting with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on ESPN Chicago.com on Tuesday … here are a few of the highlights from Bruce Levine:
- Marlon Byrd, Scott Podsednik or Rick Ankiel will be playing centerfield for the Cubs in 2010. Levine pointed out each of the candidates have flaws but Rick Ankiel probably has the most upside. Ankiel is the youngest of the three, better defensively and could supply 25 home runs from the left side of the plate.
- Levine thinks the Cubs have listened to offers for Carlos Zambrano. The problems with trading Zambrano include: a no trade clause, a lot of money still owed and he is coming off a down year.
- The Cubs are concerned about the future health of Kiko Calero. They are interested in the reliever “but they also think he’s a possible time bomb as far as re-injuring himself.“
- Jim Hendry has a limited budget to make improvements to the team. Hendry is negotiating two or three contracts and looking to make trades.
- Hendry has only $6 or $7 million left in the budget for 2010.
- Carlos Silva “can be a bullpen guy, he can be a starter, he can spend all year on the DL, but if he’s not productive he won’t be active. That you can count on.“
- Geovany Soto was embarrassed by his play last season.
- Orlando Hudson is not on the Cubs’ list.
- The Cubs have continued their dialog with the Mets over Luis Castillo.
- Jose Contreras could be the Cubs’ fifth starter until Ted Lilly returns. The Cubs have spoken with Contreras’ agent and he “may be a part-time substitute” for Lilly to begin the year. The Cubs also consider Contreras “a part-time bullpen pitcher.“
- Hendry has spoken to two or three teams about a trade for a reliever.
- The Cubs are not interested in Octavio Dotel.
- Levine hopes the Cubs will have someone other than Mike Fontenot as their starting second baseman in 2010.
- Jeff Baker will receive playing time at second. Baker’s primary job in 2010 will be as a backup at second and third … as well as getting time in the outfield.
- Reed Johnson’s back is the reason the Cubs have not re-signed the fan favorite.
- The Cubs are looking at Ryan Spilborghs as a replacement … but Levine questioned if there is room in the Cubs’ outfield.
- Levine is expecting an announcement on Florida or Arizona by January. Levine has heard rumblings that the Cubs could remain in Arizona.
- Josh Vitters will not be with the Cubs next year unless he is a September call-up. Levine mentioned the Cubs might move Vitters across the diamond to first base.
- Brett Gardner is off the market.
- Levine is concerned about the Cubs’ rotation.
Bruce Levine shot down the rumor started by Phil Rogers over the weekend about Jacoby Ellsbury … and how he thinks the Cubs should go about acquiring him.
Bruce Levine reported the rumored three-way trade that would net the Cubs Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholtz was shot down by his sources.
The Cubs and Red Sox have discussed players and other possible match-ups but not one that would send Andrew Cashner, Josh Vitters and a third minor leaguer to the Padres, Ellsbury and Buchholtz to the Cubs and Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox.
Beside the fact that the Padres are not looking to move Gonzalez, the three teams have not discussed the six player deal.
Jacoby Ellsbury would be a more than a welcome addition to the Cubs. With that said, why would the Red Sox want to trade one of the few legitimate leadoff hitters in the game that can steal bases and plays a stellar centerfield?
Fernando Perez on XM Radio
Fernando Perez joined Jeff Joyce and Jim Duquette on Tuesday during Baseball This Morning (XM Radio). Perez was very impressive and informative during his time on the all-baseball channel.
Fernando Perez grew up in New Jersey and attended Columbia University. Perez tries to spend his time in New York during the off-season.
Perez said he has not begun hitting yet this winter due to the shoulder surgery he had in October. He indicated that he is feeling great and his shoulder is doing better than his wrist. Perez described the injury to his wrist (he broke it diving for a ball during spring training last year) much more traumatic than the surgery on his shoulder. Perez explained the shoulder surgery was more of a clean out than anything … and he stressed it is feeling fine.
Jim Duquette asked Perez about the moves the Rays have made this winter … especially the addition of Rafael Soriano. Perez admitted he is very excited about Soriano possibly being the team’s closer.
The interview switched back to Perez’s wrist injury at that point.
Perez went into a little more detail about the rehab on his wrist. He said it usually takes about a year to get all of the range of motion back in a wrist. Perez mentioned the Rays have been worried about his wrist more than his shoulder. He is doing as much rehab on his wrist as his shoulder right now.
Jim Duquette asked Perez about the rumors that surfaced recently about him (Fernando Perez entered the Cubs rumor mill courtesy of Phil Rogers last weekend). Perez said he doesn’t follow all of the rumors … but his friends and family do. That’s how he finds out what may or may not be going on.
Perez said he loves where he is at right now and doesn’t want to go anywhere. He admitted that typically when a trade happens it is usually for the better.
Jeff Joyce mentioned all of the outfield depth in the Rays organization. Perez said he would like to play everyday but realizes that would be a luxury. He said it is important for him to be in a position to win day in and day out … and no one wants to be traded to an organization that might be out of the race by August.
Perez realizes that his talents make him a pretty attractive role/bench player because of what he can offer late in a game. He said the most important thing for any player is when they receive the opportunity to play to make the most of it.
After discussing the Rays outstanding pitching prospects, the interview ended with a discussion on Perez’s Jersey background and the “Jersey Shore”.
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Well, that’s the latest … and I am sticking to it!