It is Black Friday … will the Cubs brave the crowds and try to find a free agent bargain? According to Bruce Miles, it appears the Cubs are going to wait a while to make any additions or subtractions.
Miles has been keeping his eye on Carlos Pena to fill the Cubs void at first base … and so have the Nationals. Jim Riggleman’s team is “enthusiastic about their chances” of signing Pena according to Buster Olney. While several teams are interested in the former Tampa Bay Ray, the thought is it would take a three-year deal to land the free agent first baseman.
Several names have been connected to the Cubs in recent weeks. From free agent starters, relievers and first basemen to a possible trade target that resides in Texas. Here’s the list of players that appear to be on Jim Hendry’s shopping list …
Many think the Cubs have plenty of depth in the rotation as November comes to an end. Yes the Cubs have numbers but sometimes quantity does not equal quality. Behind Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano, Mike Quade has several number fives to pick from … as well as unproven talent.
The Cubs could begin the season with Randy Wells, Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva behind Dempster and Zambrano … but by May or June the rotation could feature Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman and Chris Archer. The wild card in the whole scenario is Jeff Samardzija, who has a full no-trade clause and is out of options.
Despite the numbers, the Cubs are rumored to be interested in adding a veteran starter to the mix.
Javier Vazquez (according to reports is on the verge of signing with the Marlins), Jon Garland, Kevin Millwood, Aaron Harang and Vicente Padilla all appear to be on the Cubs radar.
Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall figure to anchor the backend of the Cubs pen in 2011. Both are arbitration eligible and both will receive big raises this winter. The Cubs have not announced where Andrew Cashner will pitch next season but there have been reports that have indicated Cashner will return to a starting role.
The Cubs have several relievers on their 40-man roster … John Grabow, Jeff Stevens, Brian Schlitter, Marcos Mateo, James Russell, Justin Berg, Esmailin Caridad, Scott Maine, Kyle Smit, Thomas Diamond and John Gaub. Based on last season, from the left side the Cubs are covered … the overpriced, under-performing John Grabow, Scott Maine and James Russell figure to give the Cubs plenty of depth, along with Sean Marshall. But it is from the right side the Cubs are looking to add a veteran.
Kerry Wood, Grant Balfour and Jason Frasor have been connected to the Cubs by the mainstream media to fill the role as the primary right-handed setup man to Carlos Marmol.
Who’s on First?
If the season began today, Tyler Colvin and Jeff Baker would be the Cubs options at first base. The Cubs will add a first baseman and have been connected to just about every available free agent first sacker.
Lance Berkman and Carlos Pena appear to be at the top of the list as of the day after Thanksgiving … but that could change. The Cubs have also been linked to Adam LaRoche, Adam Dunn, Lyle Overbay, Nick Johnson and Chris Davis.
The lack of financial flexibility appears to have taken Adam Dunn out of the equation. While LaRoche and Overbay would fill the spot, Chris Davis might fit the bill for an organization that’s new philosophy is building from within. As for Nick Johnson …if a player cannot stay on the field how could he be in the mix to fill a void?
For now, only two players on the Cubs 40-man roster have been mentioned in the rumor mill. The Rangers asked about Welington Castillo and Robinson Chirinos in a possible deal for Chris Davis.
There are options out there for the Chicago Cubs, let’s just hope someone is checking Hendry’s list twice …
The rumor mill figures to be very interesting over the next two weeks leading up to the Winter Meetings. Stay Tuned.