Will Jim Hendry End 2009 with a Bang or a Thud?

One year ago this week Jim Hendry made two moves that had a big impact on the 2009 season. Hendry signed Aaron Miles to a two-year contract for $4.9 million then dealt Mark DeRosa to the Indians for Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub on December 31, 2008.

Aaron Miles put together one of the worst seasons in big league history and was traded to the A’s, along with Jake Fox and $1 million on December 3 for Ronny Morla and Matt Spencer. Mark DeRosa ended up in St. Louis in mid-season and is trying to find a job this winter … rumors have DeRosa landing in San Francisco or with the Yankees.

All of the additions Jim Hendry made last winter are no longer on the Cubs’ roster … Aaron Miles, Aaron Heilman, Joey Gathright, Milton Bradley and Kevin Gregg. While John Gaub and Jeff Stevens are expected to contribute in the pen in 2010, the Cubs are looking to fill three holes according to Bruce Levine.

Jim Hendry is reportedly looking for a centerfielder, a right-handed reliever and possibly a middle infielder this off-season. Names that have been bantered around for weeks to fill the Cubs needs include Marlon Byrd, Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel, Kiko Calero, Orlando Hudson and Reed Johnson.

With 18 days remaining before the 25th Annual Cubs Convention and 52 days until pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park, here’s the latest from the mill, a few notes and a definition of sophomore slump …

Centerfield Rumors

Phil Rogers dropped a couple of new rumors Sunday morning. One realistic … and the other, well not so much.

According to one report from Phil Rogers (Chicago Tribune), the Cubs “are not blown away by any of the centerfielders on the free agent market” and will explore trading for the right player.

Rogers threw out the name of Fernando Perez of the Rays.

Rogers described Perez as “speedy, bright and the holder of a .375 minor league on-base percentage.” The switch-hitter will turn 27 in April and is coming off two injuries.

Rogers mentioned the surgery on his left shoulder in October but did not mention the broken wrist he suffered while diving for a ball last year during Spring Training.

Fernando Perez would be under the Cubs control through the 2013 season and would probably cost the Cubs a “premium prospectaccording to a report from NBC Sports.

Fernando Perez was the 7th round pick of the Rays in 2004. Baseball America named Perez the 14th best prospect in the Rays organization prior to the 2009 season.

Perez put his name on the map during the 2008 playoffs but was slowed by the broken wrist and shoulder in 2009. Baseball America described Perez’s arm as average in center but with exceptional range … Perez is one of the fastest men in all of baseball.

Fernando Perez has put together a .261/.346/.420 line in 27 big league games with two doubles and three home runs … along with five stolen bases (caught twice). In 584 career games in the minors … .288/.374/.401/.775 with 88 doubles, 48 triples and 25 home runs … with 199 stolen bases (caught 68 times).

The other name mentioned by Mr. Rogers was that of Jacoby Ellsbury. Rogers thinks the Red Sox might trade Ellsbury if they re-sign Jason Bay … or sign Matt Holliday.

According to Rogers’ sources, if the Red Sox wind up with Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, the Cubs “would make a major effort to land Jacoby Ellsbury to fill their centerfield/leadoff hole.

Rogers said, “That scenario helps explain why the Cubs have been so patient in studying their options.” Rogers thinks if Jim Hendry could “facilitate a three-team deal” that would net the Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez then Ellsbury could end up in Chicago. The Cubs would have to include one or two of their top prospects from a list that includes Josh Vitters, Hak-Ju Lee, Andrew Cashner and Jay Jackson.

Phil Rogers also indicated Marlon Byrd, Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel are still in the mix.

The Cubs 40-man Roster

With Neal Cotts filing for free agency on December 12 after being non-tendered, the Cubs 40-man roster now stands at 37 players.

Pitchers

  • Mitch Atkins
  • Justin Berg
  • Esmailin Caridad
  • Ryan Dempster
  • Rafael Dolis
  • John Gaub
  • Tom Gorzelanny
  • John Grabow
  • Jeff Gray
  • Angel Guzman
  • Ted Lilly
  • Carlos Marmol
  • Sean Marshall
  • Marcos Mateo
  • Mike Parisi
  • Blake Parker
  • David Patton
  • Jeff Samardzija
  • Carlos Silva
  • Jeff Stevens
  • Randy Wells
  • Carlos Zambrano

Catchers

  • Welington Castillo
  • Koyie Hill
  • Geovany Soto

Infielders

  • Jeff Baker
  • Andres Blanco
  • Mike Fontenot
  • Micah Hoffpauir
  • Derrek Lee
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Ryan Theriot

Outfielders

  • James Adduci
  • Tyler Colvin
  • Kosuke Fukudome
  • Sam Fuld
  • Alfonso Soriano

2010 Off-Season Calendar

January

  • 5 – Cubs Spring Training Single-Game Tickets Go on Sale
  • 5 – 15 – Salary arbitration filing period
  • 6 – BBWAA Hall of Fame voting announced
  • 15 – 17 – 25th Annual Cubs Convention
  • 19 – Exchange of salary arbitration figures

February

  • 1 – 21 – Salary arbitration hearings
  • 15 – End of Waiver Period
  • 16 – Beginning of New Waiver Period
  • 18 – Voluntary reporting date to Spring Training for pitchers, catchers and injured players
  • 23 – Voluntary reporting date to Spring Training for other players

March

  • 2 – Mandatory reporting date to Spring Training for all players
  • 2 – 11 – Teams may renew contracts of unsigned players
  • 4 – Cubs Spring Training Opener at HoHoKam Park against the Oakland A’s
  • 17 – Last day to place a player on unconditional release waivers and pay 30 days termination pay instead of 45 days
  • 31 – Last day to request unconditional release waivers on a player without having to pay his full 2010 salary

April

  • 4 – Active Rosters Reduced to 25 players
  • 4 – MLB Opening Night
  • 5 – Opening Day for Chicago Cubs in Atlanta
  • 12 – Cubs Home Opener against the Milwaukee Brewers

Will Update Off-Season Calendar throughout winter

The Definition of Sophomore Slump

GeovanySoto_CubbyBlue.jpg

Tim Souers summed up Geovany Soto’s second full season in the big leagues.

For those unfamiliar with Tim’s work … go to Cubby-Blue.com and enjoy.

Random Cub of the Day

How much more random does it get than Mick Kelleher? The utility infielder was the third round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969. Kelleher made his big league debit on September 1, 1972 and was traded to the Cubs for Vic Harris on December 22, 1975.

Mick Kelleher played for the Cubs from 1976 through 1980 before being sold to the Tigers on April 1, 1981. Kelleher played for the Tigers and then California Angels in 1981 and 1982. The Angels released Kelleher on March 23, 1983.

mickkelleher80.jpg

Mick Kelleher’s Page from the Baseball Cube

Catching Up from the Holidays

For those who were unable to keep track of all the rumors, news and notes over the past week, here are a few links to articles on the CCO to get you up to speed …

Yankees Asked About Zambrano? (12/21/09)

Summary: The Yankees and Cubs had a conversation surrounding Carlos Zambrano before they acquired Javier Vazquez from the Braves for three players … including Melky Cabrera. The Cubs and Zambrano’s agent shot down the rumors.

Cubs Rumors from A to Big Z (12/22/09)

Summary: More on the Carlos Zambrano rumors … Includes updates on Rick Ankiel, Marlon Byrd, Ronnie Belliard, Kiko Calero, Orlando Hudson and Scott Podsednik.

Decisions, Decisions and More Decisions Ahead for the Cubs (12/23/09)

Summary: Bruce Levine mentioned the Cubs could be very active over the next ten days. Includes updates on Ben Sheets, Reed Johnson, Scott Podsednik’s contract numbers, Jose Contreras, Nick Swisher, Marlon Byrd and a minor signing.

From the Wire … Capps Agrees to Terms with the Nationals (12/24/09)

Matt Capps agreed to a one-year contract with the Nationals shortly after midnight on Christmas Eve. Capps was targeted by the Cubs but signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract that includes $425,000 in performance bonuses.

Is Johnny Damon on the Cubs Radar? (12/26/09)

Summary: Jim Duquette (XM Radio) reported twice the Wednesday before Christmas Eve that he’d heard the Cubs were “very interested” in signing Johnny Damon to pay centerfield.

The Last Weekend of Cubs Rumors in 2009 (12/27/09)

Summary: More noise on Johnny Damon. David DeJesus, Ben Sheets and Jose Contreras rumors from Bruce Levine.

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

Quote of the Day

"The more reasons you have for achieving your goal, the more determined you will become." - Brian Tracy

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