Lou Piniella’s crew has only three games left in the desert before leaving for Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon. The Cubs’ skipper announced his starting rotation on Monday and he still has a couple of spots on the bench and a possible vacancy in the bullpen up for grabs. But could there be a new name in the mix?
According to several reports out of Chicago and from Ken Rosenthal, the answer is yes. The Cubs appear to be very interested in signing former Blue Jay, Reed Johnson. So while one former bird might be wearing blue pinstripes soon, the long-rumored trade for another could be on hold. Here is the latest from the mill and news from Arizona, including Scott Eyre headed to the DL?
Jim Hendry was extremely candid in a report on Cubs.com and accepted responsibility for his team not having a back up in centerfield. The following quote speaks volumes:
“I think you have to put that on me, before Opening Day, because I made the decision not to do that in the winter to see what we have and what trade options we have, and that there’d be bigger deals and evaluate it, and now it’s time for me to deliver to be honest.”
Bigger deals? Is Hendry referring to the Brian Roberts trade that could have included Jay Payton?
The report on Cubs.com indicated the Cubs have “looked at Marlon Byrd” but are “believed to be leaning more toward Reed Johnson.” Yes, Byrd would be an option, but the Rangers want entirely too much for him (last rumor was Matt Murton and a top pitching prospect) and Johnson would be a risk, but one that costs nothing….but money.
The Cubs are apparently extremely interested in Reed Johnson. Ken Rosenthal stated his sources have indicated the Cubs “are showing the heaviest interest” in Johnson. The Red Sox, Rays and Rangers are the other teams Rosenthal mentioned and Buck Martinez said Johnson would fit a need for the New York Mets during his show on Monday morning.
Paul Sullivan was on Sports Central on Monday night and he casually said the Cubs “will probably sign Reed Johnson.” A late report in the Tribune, by Mr. Sullivan, on Monday night indicated “the Cubs are expected to offer a contract to Reed Johnson.” Sullivan also added Jim Hendry is still trying to trade for Brian Roberts, but it would not likely be soon.
Speaking of Brian Roberts…. Ken Rosenthal reported on Monday night that “barring an 11th-hour reversal, the Cubs will not trade for Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts before Opening Day, according to Major League sources.”
Rosenthal reported the Cubs and the Orioles “have been unable to reach an agreement on the players that the Orioles would receive in return.” Rosenthal added “the two sides are at an impasse.”
News from Arizona
According to a report on the Chicago Tribune late Monday night, Scott Eyre will start the season on the DL. The report indicated Eyre was scheduled to meet with Stephen Gryzlo, the team orthopedist.
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, Eric Patterson will likely not be on the Cubs 25-man roster when camp breaks later this week. The Cubs bench will be Daryle Ward and Henry Blanco and the Tribune thinks Matt Murton will also make the club in a reserve role….that leaves two spots.
Paul Sullivan indicated the Cubs would add another outfield, “probably Reed Johnson,” which would leave one spot for either Alex Cintron or Mike Fontenot or Ronny Cedeno. Unless Cedeno is traded, he is on the team.
As for Carmen Pignatiello, he still might be the odd man out….even with the injury to Scott Eyre. The Cubs like Sean Marshall’s experience and the Tribune stated he is “the front-runner to take Scott Eyre’s spot” in the pen.
According to a report in the Daily Herald, the Cubs Opening Day lineup will be:
- Ryan Theriot – SS
- Alfonso Soriano – LF
- Derrek Lee – 1B
- Aramis Ramirez – 3B
- Kosuke Fukudome – RF
- Mark DeRosa – 2B
- Geovany Soto – C
- Felix Pie – CF
- Carlos Zambrano – P
Cubs Fever – Catch It!