The Cubs made their first move of the Winter Meetings on Tuesday when they sent Will Ohman and Omar Infante to the Braves for right-handed flame-thrower, Jose Ascanio. The big news from the second day of the annual gathering was the mega-trade between the Florida Marlins and Detroit Tigers. The eight player deal sent Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, catcher Mike Rabelo and minor league pitchers Eulogio De La Cruz, Dallas Trahern and Burke Badenhop.
Sam Fuld, as expected, was named MVP of the Arizona Fall League on Tuesday. According to several reports, Fuld will compete with Felix Pie in the spring for the Cubs starting job in centerfield. In other news, Gary Hughes received the lifetime achievement award from Baseball America on Tuesday night.
Here is the latest from the mill…. Kosuke Fukudome
It appears all talk concerning the Cubs at the Winter Meetings start with “Fukudome is the Cubs’ Top Priority.” Here is the latest….
- Paul Sullivan said, “the wheels are in motion to bring Fukudome to Chicago.” Sullivan states the trade of Jacque Jones to the Tigers cleared the way for the Cubs to sign the outfielder.
- Gordon Wittenmyer thinks it will take a “Hunter-like Price” to sign Fukudome….for a quick reminder, 5-years and $90 million. Wittenmyer mentioned “the Cubs remain the team to beat for the service’s of Japan’s top hitter.“
- Bruce Miles reported “the Cubs may try to overwhelm Fukudome with on offer right off the bat.” Miles said the Cubs are not “hamstrung” by having a vacancy in right field right now but solving that issue would allow “the rest of the off-season to fall into place.“
- Chris De Luca still thinks the Cubs and White Sox will “battle it out” to sign Fukudome but De Luca said, “the Cubs seem intent on getting their man.” Will the mega-deal between the Tigers and Marlins affect how Kenny Williams handles the rest of the off-season?
- The Padres continue to talk with Mike Cameron about a new contract. If Kevin Towers resigns Cameron then there would not be enough left in the budget to sign Fukudome according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
- Bruce Levine reported on Tuesday that the Padres have made a 4-year, $40 million dollar offer to Fukudome. Levine said news on whether Fukudome is playing in the majors next year should come in the next few days. Levine mentioned Raul Ibanez could be an option but the Cubs do not view him as being as athletic as Fukudome. Levine thinks Ibanez in right field at Wrigley would be an adventure. The Cubs are not looking for Ibanez, they are looking to sign Fukudome and consider him a “4 1/2 tool player.”
- Levine said with Jim Hendry trading Jacque Jones and Will Ohman, there should be enough to sign Fukudome. Infante and Monroe’s contracts were never “on the books.“
- Geoff Baker in the Seattle Times reported…. “That Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome is almost certainly going to sign with the Chicago Cubs, so forget about a Raul Ibanez deal to Chicago. Was never a realistic scenario once Fukudome got on the radar.“
The player Jim Hendry was looking at a few years back in a possible deal that included Mark Prior and Miguel Tejada has resurfaced in the rumor mill. Any team could use a quality pitcher such as Bedard but do the Cubs have enough to trade for the southpaw? The Dodgers are rumored to have offered Matt Kemp and Jonathan Broxton to the Orioles for Bedard. According to ESPN, the Mets offered Aaron Heilman, Carlos Gomez and Philip Humber for Bedard. A report on MLB.com said the Mets’ offer was shot down….apparently the Orioles are looking for a “Johan Santana Package.”
Which players would the Cubs have to hand over to land Bedard?
The Boston Globe reported Andy MacPhail and Jim Hendry had lunch on Tuesday. Were the two talking about Bedard? Could the two be talking about Brian Roberts or just two old friends having lunch? The Baltimore Sun said Bedard “has become the most coveted pitcher at the Winter Meetings” with Santana going to either New York or Boston.
Are the Cubs interested in Hamilton or not? For every report on Tuesday that said the Cubs are interested in Hamilton, there was another one that said they are not.
- The Boston Globe mentions the Cubs would send Sean Marshall to the Reds for Hamilton.
- Baseball Prospectus said Hamilton “appears to be in play.” Will Carroll heard Hamilton could be involved in a deal that would send Erik Bedard to the Reds. Carroll also mentioned the Sean Marshall-to-the-Reds-for-Hamilton deal.
- Paul Sullivan stated the Cubs have talked to the Reds about Hamilton….and said the Reds are looking for Sean Marshall in return. Is anyone seeing a pattern?
- The Sun-Times also had a blurb about Hamilton.
- Hal McCoy mentioned the Cubs and Hamilton in the same sentence. According to McCoy the Cubs might be willing to deal either Sean Marshall or Sean Gallagher.
- Jerry Crasnick reported the Reds are willing to trade Hamilton but not to a team in the NL central.
- A report in the Sun-Times on Tuesday night stated the Cubs have not discussed Hamilton with the Reds and “don’t appear to have much interest.“
Buster Olney is the only source for this little tidbit about Prior….Olney broke this news Tuesday morning on his blog. The Cubs are planning on either signing Prior or trading him but “they will not non-tender him.” Later in the day, Olney said the Rangers continued to talk to the Cubs about Prior, as well as the Padres.
Dusty Baker is interested in a reunion with Prior according to a report in the Sun-Times.
According to a late report on Tuesday night by Ken Rosenthal, the discussions between the Padres and Cubs abouth Mark Prior have “cooled“.
Yahoo.com reported it might take a 5-year, $50 million dollar deal to sign Kuroda. One of the teams interested….the Cubs.
The Cubs have talked to the Pirates about Nate McLouth according to Paul Sullivan. Ken Rosenthal reported the Pirates are “aggressively shopping” him. McLouth would give the Cubs depth in the outfield, a lefty on the bench and a late inning defensive replacement. McLouth has always been considered a back-up but he did quite well when he received regular playing time in the last two months of the season. Sullivan speculated it would take either Carmen Pignatiello or Neal Cotts to land McLouth.
- 2007 Stats: .258/.351/.459/.810/13/38/39 walks and 77 k’s with 22 stolen bases in 137 games
- 1st Half: .241/.320/.375/.695/1/8 in 70 games, 112 at bats
- 2nd Half: .267/.366/.502/868/12/30 in 67 games, 217 at bats
- Splits: vs. LHP – .269/.351/.388/.739/1/11, vs. RHP – .256/.351/.477/.828/12/27
- Career Stats from Yahoo.com
While reports indicated the Pirates are “shopping” McLouth….according to a report on MLB.com, they are not. Neal Huntington says they are just listening.
The Blue Jays were rumored to be interested in trading for Dempster. A report in the Sun-Times, as well as a report in the Toronto Globe and Mail mentioned the possibility but a late report in the Sun-Times on Tuesday night shot down the rumors and Hendry said, “he has not intention of trading Dempster anywhere.”
Could the Cubs be interested in Mr. Damon? According to a report in the New York Post, “they could become interested” in Damon if they fail to sign Fukudome.
The Baltimore Sun confirmed the Cubs and Orioles have talked about Roberts, but those talks have not progressed.
The Cubs have inquired about Geoff Jenkins according to ESPN. Does anyone remember Jeromy Burnitz? Jenkins might be a good lefty off the bench, but a starter?
Bruce Levine mentioned the Cubs interest in Nick Swisher during his afternoon update on ESPN 1000 Tuesday. Swisher fits the Cubs description of what they are looking for in a right fielder. Levine said Swisher’s availability would depend on what Billy Beane decides to do with his club….if he start trading off his pitchers, Swisher could follow.
Swisher played 57 games in right and 59 games in center last season for the A’s….as well as 44 at first base. Swisher had career highs in batting average, doubles and OBP last season but his power numbers fell off a little. Swisher is signed through the 2011 season with a club option for 2012 and a limited no trade clause in ’11 and ’12. He is scheduled to make $3.5 million in ’08, $5.3 million in ’09, $6.75 million in ’10 and $9 million in ’11. The contract has a $1 million dollar buyout. The club option for ’12 is worth $10.25 million unless he finishes in the top 5 in MVP voting in any year between ’07 and ’11….then it jumps to $12 million.
- 2007 stats: .262/.381/.455/.836/22/78/36 doubles/100 walks and 131 strikeouts in 150 games
- Splits: vs. LHP – .291/.458/.464/.921/6/22, vs. RHP – .250/.348/.451/.799/16/56
- Career Stats from Yahoo.com
ESPN reported “people in the organization” would like Jim Hendry to trade for Chone Figgins. The Angels apparently over-value Figgins and might look for Aramis Ramirez in return according to Jerry Crasnick.
Former Cub Update….