Weekend Update … Cubs Searching for the Right Options

If a report from Jon Heyman is correct, Johnny Damon could be having an effect on the Cubs off-season. Rumors persisted, before the Cubs inked Marlon Byrd to a three-year deal, that the Cubs were interested in the former self-proclaimed idiot. Those rumors proved to be false, but three of the players the Cubs are looking at to fill a need are also on the Yankees radar … Reed Johnson, Xavier Nady and Jermaine Dye. Damon is looking to sign somewhere in the next week.

So will the Cubs have to wait to see where Johnny Damon signs? Or will they proceed with signing another Jonny, avoid arbitration with Ryan Theriot, Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall and possibly ink a reliever? It should be an interesting week …

Just a quick reminder before the update … check back later on Sunday for Baseball Prospectus’ Top Cubs Prospects list. Kevin Goldstein’s next Future Shock is supposed to be released on Sunday. Will Josh Vitters or Starlin Castro be number one?

Wrong or Right?

According to Dave Kaplan, Jonny Gomes is the Cubs first choice to be a platoon partner for Kosuke Fukudome. Kaplan reported on Friday night the Cubs are in negotiations with Gomes.

Jermaine Dye and Xavier Nady are still out there, not to mention Reed Johnson.

The Cubs bench currently has no power, unless “Little Babe Ruth” resurfaces in Twenty-Ten … and that power source is inconsistent at best. The Cubs could use a little pop off the bench, something Jermaine Dye, Jonny Gomes and Xavier Nady could supply.

Derrek Lee

Bruce Levine has mentioned for a couple of months the possibility of the Cubs extending Derrek Lee’s contract. Phil Rogers thinks the Cubs should extend Lee’s contract for at least a year with an option for a second season … A similar extension to the ones Levine has been discussing for a majority of the winter.

Rogers pointed out the Cubs have little in the system at first base behind Lee. For the record, Rogers feels the White Sox should do the same with Paul Konerko.

Starting Rotation

The mainstream media has begun picking up on the fact Ted Lilly is going to miss at least the first month of the season.

Ted Lilly has been Lou Piniella’s most consistent pitcher since the break in 2008.

According to a report from the Tribune, four pitchers will compete in the spring for the final two spots in the Cubs’ rotation.

Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny, Carlos Silva and Sean Marshall will “pitch-it out” beginning in a couple of weeks. Just a reminder, Lou Piniella mentioned during the convention Andrew Cashner in a list of pitchers that will compete for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Jim Edmonds

Should the Cubs be interested in a reunion with Jim Edmonds? Phil Rogers thinks so.

Oscar Villarreal

According to a report from the Tribune, the Cubs were one of the teams invited to watch Oscar Villarreal pitch on Friday. The 28-year old righty had reconstructive right elbow surgery in April of 2009.

Villarreal last pitched with the Astros in 2008. He posted a 1-3 record in 35 games with a 5.02 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP.

Oscar Villarreal’s Page on Baseball Reference.com

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

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon