Minor Moves and Rumors … Just Another Day in the Cubs Off-Season

The Cubs have been extremely quiet so far this off-season, with a few small exceptions, but Bruce Levine and Bruce Miles feel that will change in the next couple of weeks.

The Cubs announced another minor league signing on Thursday.

According to Bruce Miles, Jim Hendry inked Brad Snyder to a Minor League deal that includes a non-roster invitation to Spring Training. Snyder joins Bryan LaHair, Scott Moore, Scott Rice, Bobby Scales, Angel Guzman and Jim Adduci on the list of players that will be in camp on minor league contracts this spring..

The Cubs tendered contracts to all six of their arbitration eligible players on Thursday, and signed Jeff Baker to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration with their infielder. In the process, the Cubs increased their payroll by around $13 million according to Bruce Levine.

The Cubs have “in the area” of $121 million committed to 15 players and Jim Hendry “will have to find a way to pay ten other players on his 25-man roster, and 15 more in the minor leagues with $12-$14 million.” Levine speculated the Cubs’ payroll will be between $135-$138 million, down from the $144 million spent in Year One of the Ricketts ownership.

Jim Hendry lost out on one of his favorites when Adam Dunn agreed to a four-year, $56 million contract with the White Sox. Dunn wanted to play in Chicago a couple of years back … The Big Donkey got his wish, just two years later and on the other side of town.

Here is the rest of the update, including more from the rumor mill. Cross Erik Bedard off Hendry’s wish list, and possibly Jeff Francis. Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy spoke highly of Carlos Pena … and could Paul Konerko end up on the North Side?

Carlos Pena and Lance Berkman
Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy discussed the NL Central during Power Alley (XM Radio) Thursday morning. The duo led off with the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs need for a first baseman was the main topic … and both Kennedy and Duquette feel Carlos Pena would be a good fit on the Cubs. Kennedy called a lot of the Rays games last season and really likes Carlos Pena.

Kennedy never saw Pena hang his head throughout all of his struggles last season, even after being demoted to the seventh spot in the lineup. According to Kennedy, Pena has a great positive attitude and would be able to handle the negativity that surrounds the Chicago Cubs. Plus, the Cubs could use Pena’s personality in the clubhouse.

Shortly before Adam Dunn’s deal with the White Sox was announced, Jerry Crasnick tweeted that Carlos Pena and Adam LaRoche would likely be targeted by the Nationals to replace Adam Dunn.

The Cubs remain in the mix for Lance Berkman according to multiple reports. Berkman appeared close to signing with the Rockies Wednesday night but he is apparently looking for too much money.

According to a tweet from Jon Heyman, Berkman is looking for $8-$10 million, more than Colorado is willing to pay for Berkman. The A’s are still in the mix for the Astros’ former first baseman.

Reports earlier in the week indicated Berkman was looking for a $7 million contract, but that estimate appears to be a little low.

The Cubs are looking at both Lance Berkman and Carlos Pena according to Ken Rosenthal.

Paul Konerko
Jon Heyman tweeted a rumor that got both the North Side and the South Side of Chicago going on Thursday afternoon.

Shortly after Dunn’s deal was announced, Heyman tweeted “rumors swirling all over Chicago that the Cubs are in on Konerko.”

Paul Konerko in a Cubs’ uniform would not solve the need Jim Hendry identified … a left-handed hitting first baseman.

The White Sox want Konerko back and with A.J. Pierzynski and Adam Dunn in the fold, it would make sense for Paulie to return to the South Side.

Miscellaneous Notes
Jim Duquette is hearing that Mike Quade is having no input on the Cubs roster. Jim Hendry and the front office are making all of the decisions.

Jim Hendry lost another one of his off-season targets Thursday night … and possibly two. Erik Bedard signed a one-year, non-guaranteed deal with the Seattle Mariners. And the Mets are strongly considering Jeff Francis.

Carlos Zambrano will make $17.875 million in 2011 and Alfonso Soriano will be paid $18 million … $35.875 million of a possible $135-$138 million payroll for two players.

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

Quote of the Day

"You can be a kid for as long as you want when you play baseball." - Cal Ripken Jr.
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