Day One of the Winter Meetings: More Rumors than Action for the Cubs

Milton Bradley, Gil Meche, Brandon Lyon, Heath Bell and Curtis Granderson were among the hot topics on the first day of the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis.

Here are a few updates from a day filled with countless rumors … as well as a very revealing interview with Lou Piniella on XM Radio.

Milton Bradley

Milton Bradley made more twitter headlines, as expected, during the day Monday than any other name associated with the Cubs.

Bradley appeared to be traded to the Rays for Pat Burrell early Monday morning … but those rumors were quickly shot down by several mainstream sources.

A report from Bruce Levine indicated the Cubs had a meeting on Sunday night with the Royals. The Cubs would send Bradley, among others, to the Royals for Gil Meche.

Gil Meche is owed $24 million over the final two years of the contract he signed in December of 2006 ($12 million in both 2010 and 2011). The money matches and the Cubs need a starter. Meche was 6-10 with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP in 23 starts last season.

Heath Bell

Phil Rogers “reported” the Cubs were one of the teams interested in Heath Bell of the Padres. Rogers “reported” the Cubs would send either Ryan Theriot or Geovany Soto to the Padres for Bell … then include Carlos Marmol in a deal for Curtis Granderson.

The Tribune, the Sun-Times and the Daily Herald all shot down those rumors. According to Bruce Miles, Jim Hendry “laughed off” the rumor.

Brandon Lyon

Jim Bowden “tweeted” on Monday evening the Cubs and Phillies “are chasingBrandon Lyon.

Curtis Granderson

According to a report from Peter Gammons, the Tigers asked the Cubs for Starlin Castro plus two prospects for Granderson. Buster Olney pointed out the Tigers are asking for “the moon” in return for Granderson right now.

According to Gammons, Castro plus two prospects is too high for Granderson.

Lou Piniella on XM Radio

Lou Piniella joined Casey Stern and Buck Martinez on Inside Pitch (XM Radio) on Monday afternoon.

Piniella sounded relaxed and according to Buck Martinez appeared in good shape.

Lou has been looking forward to the meetings. He said he gets to see a lot of people that he misses during the year … like scouts, ex-players and teammates and coaches.

Piniella admitted the least he says to the media the better. He indicated if he talks to the writers he could create problems.

Piniella said the Winter Meetings are more for the front office people … like the GMs and assistant GMs than for the managers. Piniella mentioned the fact he got a good night’s sleep on Sunday but was told by Jim Hendry to mingle more on Monday.

Casey Stern asked about the Cubs goals for the upcoming season. Piniella said the team must stay healthy. The Cubs dealt with a lot of injuries last year and they were not deep enough to deal with all of the injuries … Piniella admitted the Cubs knew the roster was not deep enough when they left Arizona last spring.

Piniella explained that the Cubs won 97 games two seasons ago and made 11 changes to their roster … and will make about half as many changes to a 83 win team. Piniella said the roster is a lot more stable than a year ago.

Jim Hendry is looking for a centerfielder and a right-handed reliever that can pitch in late innings according to Piniella. Carlos Marmol is the Cubs’ closer and Piniella said, “When this kid throws strikes, he’s lights out.

All of the injuries the Cubs dealt with last year helped them get to know their organization a lot better according to Piniella. Which is good, but they would like to add a veteran arm behind Marmol and John Grabow.

Piniella talked about Tom Ricketts and the new owners. He brought up the passion Mr. Ricketts has for the team and for winning but pointed out that he is very competitive and wants to win. Piniella said they would be allowed to do their job.

Lou is looking forward to working with Rudy Jaramillo. Jaramillo has had a ton of success in Texas over the last six to seven years. The Cubs understand Texas is a hitter’s park but they are expecting him to come in and make a difference.

Piniella spoke with Jaramillo for over two hours in Arizona just talking about hitting. Piniella feels he will help, especially with a couple of the guys on the Cubs’ roster he’s had in the past. Piniella expects Jaramillo to have a huge impact on the team … Piniella feels he’s very fortunate to have a very good hitting coach and a very good pitching coach on his staff.

Jaramillo is very similar to Charlie Lau. According to Piniella he uses the same concepts with different terminology.

The interview concluded with a question from Casey Stern about Milton Bradley.

Lou Piniella said anything can work and the Cubs could bring Bradley back next season. Then the Cubs skipper said, “What we are trying to do as an organization is move him.” Milton got off to a bad start in Chicago. Things did not work out. Piniella said he is a very talented young man and is expecting him to have a bounce back season in 2010.

Piniella finished by saying, “A lot of things happened last summer that will make out GM make every effort to move him.

Check back for updates from Monday night …

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Well, there’s the updates … and I’m sticking to ‘em!

Quote of the Day

"There are only two seasons ... winter and baseball." - Bill Veeck

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