With 30 days before pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park, the Cubs off-season does not appear to be over. The Cubs caravan kicked-off on Wednesday, which led to plenty of news … and of course a trade rumor.
The Cubs avoided arbitration with Koyie Hill on Wednesday by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $850,000. The Cubs have five arbitration eligible players unsigned: Carlos Marmol, Geovany Soto, Tom Gorzelanny, Sean Marshall and Matt Garza.
James Russell was added to the list of pitchers that will be competing for the fourth and fifth spots in Quade’s rotation. Andrew Cashner, Jeff Samardzija, Casey Coleman, Randy Wells, Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzelanny will be in the mix.
According to a report from Bruce Levine, “numerous teams have contacted the Cubs about Gorzelanny’s availability.” Tom Gorzelanny could make upwards of $2 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility and his salary could put the Cubs over their budget.
In other news … the Cubs signed Reed Johnson to a minor league contract on Wednesday that includes a non-roster invite to big league camp. Johnson is expected to compete with Fernando Perez for Cubs’ fifth outfielder job.
Here is the update a day before the Cubs Convention gets underway at the Hilton Chicago … The Fourth and Fifth Spots in the Rotation
The Cubs added a new name to the list for the last two spots in the rotation on Wednesday. James Russell will compete for one of the final two spots, along with Andrew Cashner, Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Silva, Randy Wells, Casey Coleman and Tom Gorzelanny.
The Cubs have four lefties vying spots in the bullpen. As long as they remain healthy, Sean Marshall and John Grabow will break camp in the pen. Scott Maine is in the mix as well after his strong finish to the season … three strong options behind James Russell is what makes him an option for a spot in the rotation.
Russell was a starter in the minors before he excelled as a reliever in the Arizona fall League in 2009.
According to a report from the Daily Herald, Andrew Cashner and James Russell will leave for Arizona next week to prepare for Spring Training.
The competition for the fourth and fifth spots also “depends on who might be left after exploring other trades between now and camp” according to the Sun-Times.
Gorzelanny on the Block?
The Cubs need to trim payroll and according to Bruce Levine, that might be the reason Tom Gorzelanny appears to be available.
With the Cubs announcing James Russell will be stretched out this spring and compete for a starting job, it appears that Gorzelanny is being shopped.
- Andrew Cashner said he wants to start and is preparing himself to earn a spot in the rotation … something the Cubs are hoping he will do.
- Mike Quade dodged the Opening Day starter question and said it would be Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza taking the ball against the Pirates.
- Quade said he could use a leadoff by committee … meaning Jeff Baker and Blake DeWitt could see time at the top of the Cubs’ lineup.
- Randy Wells admitted Wednesday that he “might have gotten a big head in 2010.” According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Wells got “caught up in a lot of stuff” and he admitted, “I maybe got too big for my britches.” Wells seems focused on winning a spot in the rotation and wants to stay with the Cubs … but if he does not end up in the Cubs’ rotation he knows there are “29 other teams.”
- According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Tom Ricketts told Kerry Wood “that he could be a part of the organization for as long as he likes after his playing days are over.” Several outlets shot down reports that surfaced about Wood becoming a broadcaster after his baseball career is over.
Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.