Checking on the Mill While Waiting for the Call

Update – Andre Dawson is a Hall of Famer

Will Andre Dawson receive the call? The 2010 Class of Baseball’s Hall of Fame will be announced on Wednesday at 1:00pm CST. Andre Dawson is expected to take his rightful place in Cooperstown after receiving 67 percent of the vote a year ago.

The Hawk was one of the best players in the game during his time, a true five-tool player.

Andre Dawson’s unbelievable first year in Chicago resulted in a NL MVP Award in 1987 … likely the final time a player on a last place team wins a Most Valuable Player Award. Dawson posted a line of .287/.328/.568/.896 with 49 home runs and 137 RBI.

Andre Dawson’s time in Chicago began with a blank check. When it ended in 1992 he left the Faithful with countless memories of how the game is supposed to be played.

Here’s the latest from the mill, including more on Ben Sheets … plus a notable debut from a Hall of Famer.

Chatting with Bruce Levine

The always-informative Bruce Levine held his weekly chat Tuesday afternoon on ESPN Chicago. Here are the highlights …

  • Jose Contreras and John Smoltz fits the Cubs needs just as well as Ben Sheets.
  • Levine “is sureAndres Blanco will have a back-up spot with the Cubs next season along with Jeff Baker.
  • Just because Mike Fontenot is one of eight arbitration eligible players does not mean he will be with the Cubs on April 5.
  • Orlando Hudson and Felipe Lopez would add left-handed bats to the Cubs lineup, which they need. Both Hudson and Lopez have flaws. Hudson faded at the end of last year and lost his starting job while Lopez had problems in the past he seems to have straightened out.
  • The Cubs are counting on Rudy Jaramillo to keep Marlon Byrd on the same track he’s been for the last three years.
  • Byrd is ideally a fourth outfielder on a great team … “the Cubs at this point are not a great teamaccording to Levine.
  • Marlon Byrd’s addition in center makes the Cubs stronger and above average defensively in right and center.
  • Levine thinks the deal for Ryan Spilborghs is still on the table.
  • The Cubs and Rockies have been discussing a trade for Ryan Spilborghs since early December. Spilborghs is slotted as the fifth or sixth outfielder on the Rockies depth chart right now.
  • Hendry wants to add to his bullpen and another starting pitcher if he can.
  • Adding a fourth outfielder is a must according to Levine.
  • The Cubs continue to talk to Jose Contreras.
  • Jon Garland is a starter they would consider.
  • The Cubs are interested in trading for Jason Frasor. The Blue Jays are looking for pitching in return and they’ve expressed some interest in Angel Guzman.
  • Brad Snyder made a “big impression on the Cubs.” Levine said the Cubs feel Snyder’s Major League career “is not that far away.”

Ben Sheets

The Ben Sheets to the Cubs rumors continued to make the most noise on Tuesday. Bruce Levine fielded several questions about the former Brewers’ ace.

Jim Hendry spoke with Ben Sheets’ agent, Casey Close, during the Winter Meetings. According to Levine, Sheets was looking for a contract somewhere between $7 and $8 million at the time. Levine thinks the Cubs “would be interested in him, but the price is going to have to drop significantly for them to be able to afford him.

Hendry would need the Ricketts family to give him more money for next year’s team in order to sign Ben Sheets. Levine pointed out that Sheets must realize his worth about $2 to $3 million, not his $7 to $8 million asking price.

Bruce Levine does not think Ben Sheets has thrown off a mound since his elbow surgery. Sheets should be ready by Spring Training but as Levine mentioned, he is a “more of a rehab gamble than a sure thing.” The Cubs do like him … after all he’s from Louisiana.

Peter Gammons

Peter Gammons will make his debut Wednesday on the MLB Network along side of Bob Costas. The best of the best will announce, then discuss, the 2010 Hall of Fame elections at 12:00pm CST.

Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson announced his retirement from baseball on Tuesday. The Big Unit is arguably the second best southpaw to ever pitch in the big leagues.

Thankfully the Chicago Cubs will never have to face him again.

Randy Johnson dominated the Cubs to the tune of a 13-0 record in 15 games, 14 starts, with a 1.91 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. In 103 2/3 innings Johnson struck out 143 Cubs and walked only 33.

The last word … While Jim Hendry continues to explore all avenues to improve his team for Twenty-Ten, it might take most of January and into February. Hendry is looking for a bullpen arm, a fourth outfielder and a starter … and none of those moves are expected to be completed by the Cubs Convention.

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

Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe