Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hendry meets with Matsui? Fukudome to make decision next week. Wood likely done as a Cub?!? Payroll increase??

Thanks to the Suntimes-

Matsui, a switch-hitting second baseman coming off his best season, turned down a two-year, $7 million offer to stay in Colorado and could be looking at a three-year deal worth between $11 million and $15 million as a free agent.

Hendry wouldn't discuss details of his talks with Matsui, but a deal does not appear imminent. Sources on both sides confirmed the meeting, which took place over lunch at Riviera Country Club.

Not the sexiest move if Hendry signs him but its a move. Matsui is rumored to be ready to sign with Houston but its all talk right now. He would be a good backup to Derosa and Theriot, he has good speed, ok defense, and a decent at batting. Not a bad move.

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The longer Kerry Wood remains on the free-agent market, the less likely it appears he will return to the Cubs.Several teams have courted Wood, including Boston, which wants him to be the primary right-handed setup man for closer Jonathan Papelbon. General manager Jim Hendry said he has spoken with Wood's agent frequently, but couldn't say whether returning to the Cubs is Wood's priority, as Wood said it was last winter when he became a free agent.
"Kerry is getting a lot of action around the industry," Hendry said. "We're hopeful he'll want to remain a Cub. I believe, probably before we get to the winter meetings [Dec. 3], this will be brought to a conclusion. We certainly would like to have him back, and hopefully it'll work out."The Cubs convinced Wood to take an incentive-laden one-year deal last November. But with so much interest on the market, they now will have to decide whether he's worth the risk of a multiyear deal at around $5 million per year.
Help wantedHendry also is looking to sign Colorado infielder Kazuo Matsui to a three-year deal. He could use the left-handed hitter at both second base and shortstop.Matsui played in 108 games at short for the New York Mets in 2004, before moving to second in '05 and remaining there with the Rockies, who hope to re-sign him. Though his range is limited, Matsui could play short alongside Mark DeRosa when Ryan Theriot is sitting, or move to second when DeRosa is in right field or at third base.On Tuesday, Hendry said he was looking to add "some left-hand hitting on the bench and maybe in a versatile role in the infield." Matsui and recently acquired utilityman Omar Infante would give manager Lou Piniella plenty of flexibility in terms of double-switches.The Cubs biggest off-season job, however, will be finding a right-fielder. Carl Crawford will be on their radar if Tampa Bay puts him on the trade block, which it has yet to do. Japanese star Kosuke Fukudome is another possibility, if he decides to come to play in the majors."Our initial moves, once we cleared the deck a little bit after the season, clearly show we certainly are going to go after, in the free-agent world or trades, a quality, left-handed-hitting outfielder," Hendry said. "That would be a priority."
Money talksSenior vice president/legal counsel Crane Kenney wouldn't reveal the Cubs' 2008 budget, but it will be significantly higher than the $110 million payroll from the end of '07."We've put together a plan from the financial end and the baseball end that should give [Hendry] everything he needs to address the three areas that he mentioned," Kenney said. "I can tell you this—when I started with the club, my first year was 2003, and our payroll was $80 million."Our track record is we'll grow the payroll as we grow the business, and certainly we expect to do that again next year."

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Fukudome is expected to make a decision next week whether he will accept one of the 3 offers to stay in Japan or leave Japan to come to MLB. The Cubs will be the biggest players in race for Fukudome and its rumored that is why the Cubs haven't signed any free agents. They are waiting on Fukudome, which is a wise decision on Hendry's part!

3 comments:

supercapo said...

If it is true that we haven't signed anyone yet, because we are waiting on Fukudome, we could end up with egg of our faces if he decides to go elsewhere and we are stuck with no one.

Kamel said...

That Wood story from chicagosports.com worries me...

Jake said...

The thing is, Matsui wouldnt be a backup...
The Cubs actually consider him an upgrade ovr Theriot, which I cant figure out.