Saturday, November 10, 2007

Deal for Crawford close??? Fukudome #1 priority!

According to some of my "sources" and devoted emailers the Cubs could be nearing a deal for Tampa Bays Carl Crawford. The Rays are looking to trade Crawford "if the price is right." The Rays are looking for a young inexpensive defensive minded SS and a young inexpensive ML ready pitcher in return for the Allstar outfielder.

The deal would send young lefty Rich Hill, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, and speedy Eric Patterson to Tampa for Carl Crawford. My sources also indicate the Cubs will make a good push for Fukudome if he becomes a free agent and if wants to play in the US. I have been informed that he is the #1 priority of the Cubs this offseason.

This would be a big splash for the Cubs offseason if even one of these deals go through. Lets hope my sources are right because these moves could land the Cubs in the playoffs for the 2nd straight year!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Cubs have Silva, Crawford, and Japanball free agents on wish list

Thanks to MLBTR-

According to Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs' plans this winter involve a heavy focus on Japan. As you already know, they're all over Kosuke Fukudome, Hiroki Kuroda, and Kaz Matsui.

Another name to add to the list: lefty closer Hitoki Iwase. The Cubs have reportedly heavily scouted Iwase and Kuroda. The Cubs' closer situation is wide open, with Ryan Dempster moving to the starting rotation.

De Luca also reports that the Cubs will inquire on head of the class free agent starter Carlos Silva. Silva shares an agent with Carlos Zambrano. No one expects Silva to come cheaper than four years, $40MM. The Cubs showed last year that they were willing to invest that kind of money in starting pitching. Their efforts may be bolstered by their success in importing Ted Lilly from the AL.

Also, a possible trade could be developing with the Rays. Tampa Bay is looking to add a shortstop, but the free agent crop is already down to just David Eckstein, Cesar Izturis, and the wild card Alexei Ramirez. Eckstein isn't the defensive-minded the guy the Rays covet, and he'd be too expensive anyway. Marc Topkin names four possible trade targets for the Rays: Erick Aybar, Ronny Cedeno, Chin-Ling Hu, and Brent Lillibridge. The Cubs are known to have interest in Carl Crawford. The two parties might have a starting point in Cedeno, but quality pitching like Rich Hill and/or Carlos Marmol would have to be added to the package.

All those guys would look great in cubbie blue! I would not give up Marmol in a trade for Crawford tho.. He is the closer of the future, I would rather give up Hill and Cedeno in a deal. How about Hill, Cedeno, Veal, and Epatt for Crawford and a prospect??? I think that should get the deal done. Then the Cubs could fill the hole with Kuroda or Silva, and put someone like Dempster, Hart, Prior, or Gallagher in the rotation next year. Then sign Kaz as a backup MI. Either way it seems the Cubs are on the right track so far!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Lots of Rumors heating up!! Lee wins Gold Glove!

Thanks to MLBTR-

According to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs want to re-sign Kerry Wood and possibly give him the closer job. Ryan Dempster could be pushed down the reliever totem pole or traded (he makes $5.5MM in the last year of his deal). Dempster has expressed a desire to start in the past, but the Cubs don't seem keen on it. UPDATE: The Cubs are keen on Dempster as a starter, as Bruce Levine of ESPN 1000 reported today that he will be switched to that role in '08. Carlos Marmol, Bob Howry, or Kerry Wood will close.

I'm glad they want Wood back and he would be a great setup guy. On Dempster being a starter, not a good idea.. They might be doing that so they can trade him as a starter and get more from him rather than an unsuccessful reliever.

Rogers also notes that the Cubs will bring Mark Prior back on the condition that he'll accept an option for the 2009 season. That way they won't get burned if he does have a useful 2008.
Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald says the Cubs have interest in trading for Carl Crawford. Problem is, that would require a king's ransom in young players. Miles adds that the Cubs are serious about Kosuke Fukudome, and signing him would leave the team with plenty of outfielders. Phil Rogers echoes the Fukudome interest, also mentioning that the Rangers and Giants like him.

I would not mind either one of those guys, in fact if the Cubs got both it would really bolster there defense and offense and allow them to trade Pie, Jones, and Murton for pitching. Rumor has it Hendry has set up a meeting with Andrew Friedman in the GM meetings this week. It also sounds like the Cubs are prepared to offer a contract to Fukudome right when he becomes a free agent. WOW get these guys what a lineup!

Michael Silverman says the Cubs are among several teams interested in Coco Crisp. Within this piece Silverman says the Rangers are in on Crisp and the Red Sox like expendable catcher Gerald Laird.

Crisp is good option for CF, his defense is so good and has a decent bat. Here is his stats-

Another name on the Cubs' radar: Raul Ibanez. He makes $5.5MM in the last year of his deal, though he's a liability in left field. And the Cubs have Alfonso Soriano there already. Larry LaRue also says the Tigers and Indians like Ibanez; the Tribe could offer Aaron Laffey.

Not a bad option either, defense is a little shaky but his bat is good. Not sure if he can handle RF-

Not sure why, but the Cubs are also interested in free agent second baseman Kaz Matsui. Would the plan be to use him at shortstop? The Padres also have an eye on Matsui.

I don't understand this move at all, unless they use him as a super utility role. He does have speed and a decent bat but he wouldn't be an upgrade over Theriot or Derosa. Here is his stats-

The Cubs are also in on Cameron, in addition to Kosuke Fukudome. Rosenthal suggests the Cubs could put Felix Pie in Right if they get Cameron.

He has good defense and a good bat but will miss the first 25 games of next season. He is probably a Plan C.


Congrats to Lee on winning the Gold Glove!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Cubs kicking the tires on Right Fielders. Daily Herald Article and Pie to Pads???

Thanks to MLBTR-

Bruce Miles loves the idea of Kosuke Fukudome manning right field for the Cubs. He notes that Fukudome would please both the stathead and old-school factions of the team's management.

Cafardo proposes the idea of the Cubs acquiring J.D. Drew as their OBP-minded right field acquisition. Drew has a limited no-trade clause allowing him to block two unknown teams. I imagine the Red Sox would have to eat some salary.

Both of these guys would look great in RF next season. Fukadome has til Nov. 12th to file for free agency. The Cubs seem to be top suitors for both Fukadome and Kuroda from Japan, I wouldn't be surprised if they get them both and use Pie in CF or trade Pie to make room for a CFer like Crawford, Rowand, or Lofton.

As far as JD Drew is concerned I was shocked to see that the good hitting OF posted an OBP of .373 and has a career OBP of .390. He will get you 10+ homers a year and hit about .280 and play really good outfield. He mite cost some decent prospects and Boston would have to eat some of the 56 million left on his deal but I can see them getting something done.

Random thought, can you imagine the Cubs getting Drew and Fukadome both???? Drew and Fukadome can play CF, in fact Drew played 68 games in CF in the past 4 years. The defense will be better than last year and the lineup would certainly improve-

Sori LF
Drew CF
Lee 1st
Aram 3b
Fukadome RF
Derosa 2b
Soto C
Theriot ss

Thats a nice lineup!


Jim Hendry will head east today, as he flies from Arizona to Florida and baseball's general managers meetings.

The GM of the Cubs also will be looking to the Far East.

During last week's organizational meetings in Mesa, Ariz., the Cubs indeed discussed the possible signings of prominent Japanese free agents Kosuke Fukudome and Hiroki Kuroda.
Fukudome is a left-handed batting corner outfielder who can hit for power and put up a high on-base percentage, something the Cubs desperately need and something field manager Lou Piniella wants.

Kuroda is a right-handed pitcher who might be able to fit into the No. 3 slot in the Cubs' rotation, which could use some bolstering after a season of inconsistency.

The Cubs will not have to cough up big "posting" fees just to talk with Fukudome and Kuroda, but each player must declare free agency and his intention to come to North America before teams here may negotiate with them.

Cubs insiders said their scouts like both players, but Hendry said he didn't want to talk about either until they declared.

Although the Cubs liked Kuroda in the past -- personal reasons kept him in Japan this year -- the fierce competition for pitching may make Fukudome an easier player to sign.

"We're looking to try to get better," Hendry said Saturday from Arizona. "We came out here with thorough information on all the other organizations and free agents. Our scouts did a good job getting deep into their coverage and giving us a lot of insight.

"We'll have different avenues (to explore). We don't have a plan to get 'this guy' or 'that guy.' It's not like last year, when we signed (Mark) DeRosa early, and that set up a lot of the other things we did. It'll be a normal, aggressive path."

Hendry said he already has set up "four or five meetings" with GMs of other clubs for this week. The Cubs could get a deal done -- perhaps trading outfielder Jacque Jones, reliever Will Ohman or another pitcher -- or they could set the stage for something to get done next month at the winter meetings.

Job 1 may be to try to get a deal done with reliever Kerry Wood before he goes on the open market. The Cubs may want to offer Wood, say, one year plus an option. If Wood hits the market, other clubs may offer him much more.

The Cubs and pinch hitter Daryle Ward, as expected, exercised the $1.2 million option for 2008. At the same time, the Cubs bade farewell to outfielder Cliff Floyd and pitcher Steve Trachsel by declining their options. They also added pitcher Adam Harben to the 40-man roster from the minor leagues.

The moves happened Friday, but the Cubs chose not to announce them until Saturday.
Ward, 32, batted .327 with 3 homers and an OBP of .436. As a pinch hitter, he was 11-for-41 with 18 walks. Ward spent a couple of stints on the disabled list with hip and calf injuries.

"We felt Ward was arguably the best pinch hitter, and if not, he certainly was in the upper echelon," Hendry said.

Nagging injuries also slowed Floyd, who batted .294 in 108 games. Hendry expressed no regrets about trading youngsters Scott Moore and Rocky Cherry to Baltimore for Trachsel, who went 1-3 with an 8.31 ERA after the Aug. 31 trade.

"Steve Trachsel won a huge game for us in Houston," Hendry said, referring to a 6-2 victory Sept. 13 at Houston. "That enabled us to do exactly what we wanted to do: start Carlos Zambrano in the first game (of a key series) at St. Louis."



The Padres really seem to like Felix Pie, and could re-open talks that would include Khalil Greene. They've asked about Tony Gwynn Jr. of the Brewers in the past. And it does sound like the Royals are willing to talk about David DeJesus.

The only way I see this deal happening is if the Cubs get a good CFer thru trade of Free Agency- like Drew, Jones, Rowand, Hunter, or Crawford- other wise the Pads are going to have to come with someting with Greene, like Justin Germano or Joshua Geer.