Weekend Update … Cubs All About the Pitching

Now that Jim Hendry has a Major League first baseman on his roster, the Cubs appear to be focused on improving the pitching staff … both in the rotation and in the pen.

Brandon Webb and Matt Garza are on the Cubs radar. Some reports have Webb being the Cubs’ “top starting target” but there is a chance Matt Garza could end up on the North Side … and Garza’s next team could depend on which city Cliff Lee decides to take his talents to.

Here’s the rest of the update …

Brandon Webb
The Cubs like the former Cy Young award winner … and reportedly he is interested in signing with the Cubs.

The Cubs are checking on Webb’s medicals and if everything checks out he could be competing for a starting spot in Cubs’ camp beginning in February.

Bruce Levine mentioned during Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) that he would not be surprised if Webb came in next week to meet with the Cubs. Levine speculated a decision could be made on Brandon Webb as early as next week.

Matt Garza
The Cubs are still in on Matt Garza according to Bruce Levine. During Talkin’ Baseball, Levine pointed out that the Cubs are one of three teams interested in acquiring Garza … along with the Brewers and Rangers.

The Rays do not have a timeline in which they need to trade Garza. The Rays figure to be waiting on where Cliff Lee signs because it increases the market for Garza. If Lee ends up back in Texas, the Rangers would be out on Garza and Tampa could then turn to the Cubs, as well as the rest of the league, to see which teams are interested.

The reason the Rays could move Garza is money. Attendance at Tropicana Field is horrible and Tampa is looking to dump payroll … Garza figures to make around $6 million in arbitration.

According to Levine, the Rays know they are not going to win and they do not have the revenue to compete in the AL East next season … the Rays are looking to rebuild.

Bruce Levine said the talks between the Rays and Cubs about Matt Garza are not deadthe talks are on the backburner.

Miscellanous Notes
According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs are still interested in trading for Jason Frasor.

“Camp Colvin” is “up and running” in Mesa according to a report from Carrie Muskat. Several players have already joined Tyler Colvin at the Cubs’ facility …among them, Ryan Dempster, Jeff Samardzija, D.J. LeMahieu, Darwin Barney, Brandon Guyer and Tony Campana.

Hak-Ju Lee might not be in Arizona, but he appears to be having a “Camp Colvin” of his own in Korea. The 20-year old shortstop (November 4, 1990) is working out with a personal trainer in Korea and has already added 10 pounds this off-season. The Cubs would like to see him report to Minor League camp at least 15 pounds heavier than last season. Lee began last season a very slim 6’2″, 170 pounds.

Hayden Simpson, the Cubs first round pick last year, is expected to report to the Cubs’ facility in Mesa on Sunday (December 12). Simpson has not pitched since being drafted by the Cubs last June.

Marquez Smith is still in the Cubs’ system after surviving the Rule 5 Draft (the Cubs were worried they might lose him). Smith has returned home from Winter Ball after playing in 30 games for Aragua.

Speaking of Winter Ball, after a very slow start Starlin Castro has turned it on. Castro put together a 4-for-4 performance Friday and is 8-for-12 in his last three games with four runs, three RBI and a triple for Licey in the Dominican.

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Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax