Day One at the Winter Meetings was filled with more talk and rumors than actual trades. There were only two deals on Monday, one that involved the South Side and one that involved the Nation’s Capital. The rumor mill, however, filled the headlines and furthered the speculation on what could take place while the baseball world is under one gigantic roof at the Opryland Hotel.
The biggest rumor surrounding the Cubs was the scheduled meeting on Monday night between Jim Hendry and Joe Urbon, the agent for Kosuke Fukudome. A report on Cubs.com indicated Urbon is not in Nashville but would make the trip if necessary. Urbon said they would “narrow the field by the end of the week.” The Cubs are one of five teams that are rumored to be very interested in the left-handed outfielder but Ken Rosenthal reported the Cubs main competition to land Fukudome might come from San Diego, not the South Side. Here’s the rest from the first day of the annual gathering…. Kosuke Fukudome
The Padres “have emerged as a serious contender” to land Fukudome according to Rosenthal. Apparently Kevin Towers thinks Fukudome could replace Mike Cameron in centerfield. Rosenthal mentioned if the Padres do not sign Fukudome and lose Cameron they could try to trade for Jim Edmonds.
The San Diego Union Tribune reported the Padres have “intensified their pursuit” of Fukudome. The Union Tribune compared Fukudome to Brian Giles and mentioned he is better suited for right field than center, but the Padres “view him as a capable centerfielder.”
According to Jerry Crasnick, the Reds are looking for pitching and could trade Josh Hamilton. Crasnick said Hamilton would be “a natural fit” for the Cubs but it would “likely” take more than Sean Marshall “to get it done.”
The Padres approached the Cubs about Mark Prior according to a radio report by Bruce Levine. Several reports over the past few days have indicated Kevin Towers is interested in landing Prior. Prior’s days with the Cubs appear to be numbered but according to Bruce Miles the Cubs do not have any “negative issues” with the former Cy Young candidate.
Mark Prior to the Mariners for Raul Ibanez? According to The Seattle Times that was a rumor floating around the Opryland Hotel on Monday. Geoff Baker does not think that trade would happen. Baker said the Cubs called the Mariners at the end of last season about Ibanez, but the Mariners “never got back to the Cubs.”
Ken Rosenthal mentioned the Cubs could “take a run at Roberts.” But Brian Roberts is the “face of the franchise” and the Orioles “best all-around player“. The Orioles tried to trade Roberts last season, Peter Angelos did not allow the trade to go through and many feel Roberts, along with Nick Markakis, is untouchable. Rosenthal reported that Oriole executives said, “….privately they are not under orders to keep Roberts.”
The Rockies are interested in Will Ohman according to the Rocky Mountain News. The same report mentions the Cubs could be interested in Brian Fuentes but so are the Red Sox according to ESPN.
Mark Cuban said he is still interested in buying the Cubs but is “waiting for the economic reports to come out in January.”
Finally…. The Pirates denied the report over the weekend they were either going to trade Xavier Nady or non-tender him a new contract for 2008.