Will the calendar year end quietly for the Chicago Cubs? Or will Jim Hendry go out with a bang?
The Cubs have made headlines the final week of December the last two years … but with limited funds and a lack of flexibility with his current roster, the moves the Cubs are rumored to be working on may drag into the New Year.
According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs are not through and Jim Hendry “needs a starting pitcher.” Here is the update as the book begins to close on Twenty-Ten … The Latest from Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on ESPN Chicago on Tuesday afternoon. Here are the highlights …
- Jim Hendry will “hang in there” on Matt Garza because the Cubs feel he is a difference maker.
- Whatever Jim Hendry has left to use on the 2011 payroll “will be geared toward a starting pitcher. If Hendry is unable to trade for a starter, he might use the same money to try to sign a free-agent reliever. If Hendry is unable to do either, he may explore trading for Jason Frasor again.
- Andrew Cashner is “in the rotation as of today.”
- The Cubs had “some tentative conversations” about Kosuke Fukudome and the Cubs would “gladly eat half” of the $13 million he is owed in 2011.
- No one is looking at Carlos Silva “after an injury plagued and uninspired second half.”
- Levine is not sure if the Chris Davis talks are dead or not. “The Cubs and Rangers are dealing with bigger picture stuff right now.” The Rangers are still looking for starting pitching, even after signing Brandon Webb.
- Levine spoke with John Grabow’s agent … “he says John is 100 percent and working out in Mesa.” Levine said Grabow pitched “mostly on one leg last year” and “was embarrassed by his performance.”
- Carlos Pena is not looking for a contract extension. Pena is looking to have a good season, hit free agency again and sign a long-term deal, after fellow Scott Boras client Prince Fielder is taken care of first.
- Tyler Colvin will be the Cubs everyday right fielder and backup first baseman “as of right now.”
- If Kosuke Fukudome is still with the team, “there may be some sharing of time between the four outfielders” next season.
- Aramis Ramirez “is going to play out most of this season with the Cubs.” The team has a option on Ramirez for 2012, but “he may get traded late in the summer if the Cubs are out of contention.”
- Levine’s best guess about Jeff Samardzija is he “vies for the fifth starter spot” and “that’s a crowded group right now.”
- The Cubs would “rather have five outstanding starters who are right-handed if they can.” They view Tom Gorzelanny as a fifth starter and they are having trouble projecting how he will perform over a full year. Gorzelanny “remains available in the right deal.”
- Levine is hearing Dan Plesac or Keith Moreland could end up being Pat Hughes’ new partner.
- Andrew Cashner appears to be the Cubs back-up plan for the rotation if they are unable to trade for Matt Garza.
- Chris Carpenter and Chris Archer could join Cashner in the rotation at some point during the season.
- The Cubs are strapped economically “and developing their own pitching seems like a good idea to them.”
- Tom Ricketts has “taken Major League payroll and transferred it to the Minor League side of the business statement. In other words, more money to sign free agents out of the Latin American countries and the Pacific Rim as well as fattening up the budget for the June draft.” According to Levine, “Tom feels the team has to build from within to be a strong organization in the future.”
- Levine does not think the Cubs will try to trade Geovany Soto for pitching. The Cubs are expecting Soto “to continue his trek back to being the player he was in 2008.”
And, the Cubs 40-man roster still has 41 players listed …
Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.