With the beginning of the free agent signing period just hours away, the Cubs rumor mill picked up a little steam on Saturday. Not only did the usual suspects make their way into a report from the Tribune (Adam Dunn and Kerry Wood) but a couple of newer-older names did as well.
Could Aubrey Huff or Victor Martinez fill the Cubs first base void? What about Jon Garland in the starting rotation? Does Jim Hendry have to move Kosuke Fukudome in order to free up payroll before making any additions?
Here’s the latest from the mill …
Better roster management might have kept a spot open for Dunn but the team with the worst defense in the league does not need to add another liability … especially at first base.
Enter affordable, stopgap first baseman here.
The latest additions (or newer-old) names are Aubrey Huff and Victor Martinez.
Aubrey Huff had a good year with the Giants and has been in the Cubs’ mill for many years. Huff will be a free agent after signing a one-year deal with the Giants. Huff hit .290/.385/.506/.891 with 35 doubles and 26 home runs last season .
The Cubs scouted Victor Martinez before the end of the season (along with Adam Dunn and Carlos Pena, among others). Martinez hit .302/.351/.493/.844 with 32 doubles and 20 home runs for the Red Sox. The switch-hitter played 14 games at first base last season, 67 in 2009, 10 in 2008 and 30 in 2007.
According to the Tribune, “the Cubs might need to trade Kosuke Fukudome before making an offer for any prominent free agent, though it will be difficult to find a trade partner without taking another overpaid player in return.”
So add Victor Martinez and Aubrey Huff to the list of free-agent first basemen that have been connected to the Cubs by the mainstream media.
As for Jon Garland, the Tribune said the Cubs “second-biggest need” this winter is a starting pitcher. Garland hinted last season he would like to pitch for the Cubs.
Garland was the Cubs first round draft pick back in 1997.
Garland had a solid season for the Padres. He compiled a 14-12 record with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP … still too many walks, 87 in 200 innings with 136 strikeouts.
Get ready for Kerry Wood to be in the Cubs rumor mill on a daily basis. The Tribune had the following to say on Saturday:
The Cubs feel good about their young relief corps but might try to bring in a veteran right-hander to complement Andrew Cashner in the setup role. Kerry Wood’s name has come up, but it’s debatable whether Wood would accept a sizable pay cut and lesser role to return to the Cubs.
AFL Rising Stars Game
Josh Vitters and Chris Carpenter are slated to play in the AFL Rising Stars game on Saturday night. The game will be carried live on the MLB Network beginning at 8:00pm CT. Those looking to catch a glimpse at two of the Cubs’ top prospects should tune in.
Well, that’s the latest from the mill … and I’m sticking to it.