Park and Nady to the Top of the Cubs List?

The conflicting rumors and reports that surfaced on Monday are what make baseball’s off-season interesting and frustrating all at the same time.

For the last week, it appeared that Ben Sheets was out of the Cubs’ picture. The Cubs publicly stated during the convention they are not pursuing a free agent starter … and several reports from the media indicated the same. Then Jim Bowden tweeted and reported during his show Monday night on XM Radio that the Cubs are one of five teams negotiating with Ben Sheets.

Could the Cubs be interested in Chan Ho Park? What appeared to be a harmless little rumor courtesy of Jayson Stark prior to the weekend, gained momentum on Monday night. According to Jon Heyman, the Cubs and Rays are among the teams “eyeing” Chan Ho Park.

Here is the latest from a confusing rumor mill … including Xavier Nady possibly surpassing Jonny Gomes on the Cubs list of fourth outfielders.

Updated 10:45am CSTAccording to a report from Bruce Levine, the Cubs are close to adding an outfielder. Levine reported a deal appears imminent and mentions Reed Johnson, Xavier Nady, Jonny Gomes and Jermaine Dye as the possibilities.

The Cubs’ Shopping List

According to a report from Fox Sports.com (Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi), the Cubs are looking to add a fourth outfielder, a right-handed setup man and possibly a second baseman.

A second baseman? Yes, the Cubs could use a full-time second baseman, but not Adam Kennedy. The Cubs would like to upgrade the position and have shown interest in Kennedy and Orlando Hudson.

The report also mentioned Xavier Nady has become the Cubs’ top choice for their fourth outfielder … unless Jermaine Dye lowers his contract demands.

Dave Kaplan reported Jonny Gomes was the Cubs’ first choice last Friday and the two sides were discussing a contract.

Xavier Nady is coming off his second Tommy John surgery … but might be the best fit, both offensively and defensively of the names that have been bantered around for weeks. Reports have indicated Nady will be ready for spring training.

The report from FoxSports mentioned the Cubs interest in Rocco Baldelli, Reed Johnson and Jonny Gomes.

Rosenthal and Morosi reported the Cubs interest in Kiko Calero has waned.

Ben Sheets

According to a report from Fox Sports, the Cubs would like to add a starting pitcher “as insurance for the indefinite absence of ace left-hander Ted Lilly.” The Cubs attended Ben Sheets’ workout last week … most wrote off the Cubs attending the workout as them just doing their due diligence.

Both Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella publicly stated during the convention they are not looking to add a free agent starting pitcher. Jim Hendry has little payroll flexibility for the upcoming season and many feel Sheets is out of the Cubs’ price range.

Reports since Sheets’ workout indicated the Cubs had put Ben Sheets on the backburner … until Monday night.

Jim Bowden tweeted, “Ben Sheets negotiations, according to reliable sources, are heating up with teams most interested … the Rangers, Mets, Mariners, A’s and Cubs.” Bowden reported the same during his show with Joe Castellano (MLB Live) and said he was told (by his sources) Sheets would like to pitch for the Cubs.

Bowden reported he has heard Sheets is looking for a base salary in the $8 million range.

And think there is only 22 days before pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park …

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

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