It is December 1st….just two more days until the Winter Meetings begin and the Cubs will travel to Nashville with a couple of holes in their roster to fill. While there has not been an official announcement, from all indications Kaz Matsui has agreed to terms with the Astros on a 3-year, $15 million dollar deal….some outlets are reporting it could be a little more. Lou Piniella apparently talked with Matsui over the phone, through a translator, to no avail. According to a report by Paul Sullivan, the Cubs offered Matsui a 3-year, $14 million dollar deal. Sullivan reported the Cubs have “four or five trade possibilities” heading into the meetings.
The Cubs are still targeting Kosuke Fukudome and “are prepared for a bidding war if he decides to leave Japan.” The White Sox, Padres, Dodgers and Rangers are rumored to be interested in signing the Japanese outfielder. Fukudome has not made an announcement on whether he has decided to stay in Japan or play in the U.S. next season….the Cubs were looking for “some kind of indication this week.”
The report in the Tribune mentioned the Cubs are looking to “add another reliever this off-season.” Jason Marquis is penciled in Piniella’s rotation along with Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Rich Hill and Ryan Dempster. Sullivan’s report stated the Cubs “are leaning toward giving Felix Pie the everyday job in centerfield.” Also, they are going to look for a left-handed infielder to “spell” Ryan Theriot at short.
As of the first of December, Alfonso Soriano will be the leadoff hitter next season according to a report on Cubs.com. If the Cubs would have landed Kaz Matsui the plan was to move Soriano down in the lineup according to Paul Sullivan.
The Cubs are trying to get Felix Pie to be “a little more selective at the plate.” Gerald Perry has worked with Pie in the Dominican and Pie received a visit from Jim Hendry this week.
The Twins have not decided yet if they will tender a contract to Craig Monroe before the December 12th deadline. The Twins were scheduled to speak with Monroe’s agent on Friday. If the Twins do not sign Monroe for the upcoming season, the Cubs will not receive the infamous player to be named later….stay tuned.
From Around the League….
Cesar Izturis agreed to a 1-year, $2.85 million dollar deal with the Cardinals on Friday. The signing of Izturis should end the David Eckstein era in St. Louis. Izturis can earn up to $3.5 million through incentives.
Speaking of the Cardinals….they “have strong interest” in Chris Capuano according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals are not focused on Senator Mitchell’s report according to John Strauss.
Scratch one off the list…. The Cubs were rumored to be interested in trading for Ryan Church of the Nationals, but Omar Minaya and the Mets beat Jim Hendry to it. On Friday Minaya traded prized prospect Lastings Milledge to Washington for Church and catcher Brian Schneider. The move could result in the Mets deciding to non-tender Johnny Estrada.
The Rangers announced they will not offer arbitration to Sammy Sosa, Brad Wilkerson, Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Jamey Wright.
Troy Percival signed a 2-year, $8 million dollar deal with the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. The deal includes an incentive package that could earn the veteran reliever another $4 million dollars.
HBO is planning a movie about the book “Game of Shadows.” Barry Bonds is not happy and Ron Shelton (Bull Durham and Tin Cup) will be the director.
Jason Kendall is looking forward to next season.
The Pirates are open to trade Matt Morris according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Tigers are interested in signing LaTroy Hawkins according to Detroit Free Press.
And finally….the Rockies “are trying to finalize a deal” with Steve Trachsel according to a report in the Rocky Mountain News. The human rain delay could be coming to a park near you once again this spring and summer.