Thursday, December 20, 2007
CHICAGO -- Tribune Co.'s new CEO Sam Zell said the Cubs will be sold by Opening Day, and that he may sell naming rights to Wrigley Field because such rights could be "extraordinarily valuable."
Zell, who took over the company on Thursday, completing an $8.2 billion deal, confirmed the team will be sold during an introductory news conference. The Tribune has owned the Cubs since 1981, and Zell is selling the team and some related assets to help pay off the company's $13 billion debt.
Last week, Tribune asked the state of Illinois to explore the possibility of acquiring Wrigley Field through the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, which is the government-backed sports agency.
The sports body was created by state lawmakers in 1987 for the purpose of building a new Comiskey Park, now U.S. Cellular Field, which is home to the Chicago White Sox. On Thursday, Zell acknowledged those discussions.
"We believe that transaction, when completely vetted, is very beneficial for the city of Chicago, is very beneficial for the Cubs, and for the future of a Major League Baseball team in this city," Zell said. "[Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich] originally approached us on this. We studied it; we thought it was an interesting concept. We started meeting with [Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's] people on it. We'll see where that goes.
"Up until now, we've delayed -- although they're ready -- sending out the books on the Cubs until we had a better understanding of where this stands," Zell said. "I think the goal would be to complete the transaction before the beginning of the baseball season."
There are plenty of interested buyers, Zell said.
The Cubs open their 133rd season on March 31 at home. Wrigley Field is the second oldest ballpark in the Major Leagues, hosting its first Cubs game in 1916 when it was known as Weeghman Park.
Trusted reader Alex writes in with a George Ofman report on 670 The Score out of Chicago. Apparently the Cubs are considering signing free agent outfielder So Taguchi, which may be related to the Kosuke Fukudome signing. The is much less damaging than signing Kaz Matsui would've been, at least. But it could lead to Matt Murton being traded for less than he's worth.
I think we can get something decent for Murton especially in a package. I think there is a 10% chance Murton is in a Cubs uniform opening Spring Training. So Taguchi would be a decent signing because the Cubs are looking for an a speedy guy that can play all three outfield positions and So can do that. He hit .290 with 3 homers, 30 rbi, and 7 stolen bases in 307 ABs. He posted a .350 OBP and would be a decent 4th outfielder and pinch runner. The Cubs can probably get him for a million a year.
Andy MacPhail dismissed the rumors that Roberts will be signed by today or before the 1st of the year for that matter. He said the Cubs are focused on Roberts while the Reds are in on Bedard.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I hope this is true because Roberts would be a big spark to this team!!
For all the crazy Cubs fans we've got here: Stark says they've talked to the Orioles about both Brian Roberts and Erik Bedard, but couldn't pull off a deal for both. They favor Roberts even though they need Bedard much more.
The O's probably wanted Hill included in a deal for Roberts and Bedard. That is why a deal probably wont be pulled off for both. I really hope the Cubs get Roberts, he would be an upgrade to Derosa and create a spark at the top of the lineup.
Lofton is starting to draw a lot of interest from many clubs including the Phils, Cards, White Sox, Twins, and Padres. I think the Cubs should sign him soon. Lofton is a valuable top or bottom of the order type guy. He still can put out good numbers and be decent defensively. He hit .296 with 7 homers 38 rbi and 23 SB in 490 AB. He posted a great .362 OBP and has a career OBP of .372. He would be a great platoon partner with Pie. Or if Pie and Fuld are not ready for the majors he could be a great stop gap. I have always like Lofton and think acquiring him would really give Lou more options in the outfield and a plan B if Pie doesn't pan out.
Fukudome officially announced-
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Cubs Interested In Bedard?
With the volume of rumors that flew around during the Winter Meetings, it's easy to get confused. Luckily MLBTR has archives of everything. That's how we were able to research the Cubs' alleged interest in Erik Bedard.
It started on December 4th with Joel Sherman saying the Cubs were part of a pool competing for Bedard that contained 8-10 teams. Then three days later, Bruce Miles reported that Bedard was "not on the Cubs' radar screen."
The latest, per an uncredited blurb on ESPN Rumor Central: "In recent days, the Cubs let their interest be known." The blurb also references the Seattle PI, perhaps this article, but there's no Cubs reference there.
Anyway, it makes sense that Jim Hendry and Andy MacPhail would at least have a high-level Bedard discussion. The Cubs need a pitcher like him, they've liked him before, and they do have some decent young talent.
Bedard is the best pitcher out there via trade minus Santana. He went 13-5 on a really bad team with a 3.16 era and 221 strikeouts. He has pitched under 200 innings every year which is a downfall to him along with him being a lefty. What if the Cubs tried to trade for him and Roberts?? Now that is a blockbuster!
Bedard and Roberts would cost a lot of young talent. Were talking some players like Marshall, Gallagher, Pie, Veal, Murton etc.
According to MLBRUMORS-
In an interview with The Sun, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts admitted to using steroids "once" in 2003. He said since then, however, he has not done it since. He calls it a terrible decision, but this could lead to the Orioles trading him, similar to what they did with Miguel Tejada. The Cubs are interested, but the Orioles might have to be willing to lower their price to get something done since Roberts was named.
I think Roberts value will not decrease that much. Hendry still loves the fact of Roberts being an everyday 2nd baseman for the Cubs. It will be interesting if something happens before Christmas but I it doesn't seem likely.
Wouldn't everyone have a great Christmas if the Cubs aquired both Roberts and Bedard before Christmas day? Especially if they don't give up Pie or Hill! I know I would!
Monday, December 17, 2007
OK, this is just my thoughts. If the Indians are looking for a corner outfielder with decent power, good average, decent OBP.Why not a low cost guy like Matt Murton??
Matt Murton hit .281 with 8 homeruns and 22 rbi in just 235 AB. He also posted a .352 OBP which isnt too shabby.
Lets see how this compares to what the Indians have right now-
Jason Michaels- .270 7 homers and 39 rbi in 267 AB. He posted a .324 OBP.
Franklin Gutierrez - .266 with 13 homers and 36 rbi in 271 AB. He posted a .309 OBP.
Murton has similar batting average, homers, and rbi but has a much higher OBP than what they have right now. Murton fits the bill of an Indians type player, he works hard and he isn't a superstar but a decent player. I think the Cubs and Indians could match up well in a trade. What can the Indians give the Cubs???
Cliff Lee- The Indians are taking offers for him. He is a good lefty that could be used in the pen or rotation. He would cost a lot more than just Murton though.
Jhonny Peralta- The Indians want to move him to another position to make way for Cabrera at SS. They entertained the thought of putting him at 1st but they like having Garko at first because of his defense and bat. Now they have a problem and maybe willing to deal the hard hitting Peralta. Again it will cost more than just Murton.
Franklin Gutierrez- Very similar to Murton with one big difference. He can play all three OF spots and that is something the Cubs need. You could probably get him just for Murton.
This is just a thought I would share idea with you guys and see what you all think.
Is Brian Roberts still on the Cubs' radar? Or did they back off a bit after the Mitchell Report? -
From what I can tell (and my best guess) is that the Mitchell Report did nothing to change the price to acquire Roberts or the Cubs' interest. The general consensus seems to be that Roberts got a raw deal being named in the report. As an aside, I'm not sure why the Cubs view second base as a need.
I see Roberts as an upgrade over Derosa. By acquiring Roberts brings speed and decent power with a high OBP. It also allows Derosa to go the the bench as a utility player and by that it strengthens the bench.
Here is a little tidbit from MLBRUMORS-
Diamondbacks plan to shop Orlandon Hudson?:
Since the Diamondbacks acquired Dan Haren, they have two potential big contracts in their rotation that leaves little room for Hudson.
What does this have to do with the Cubs?
Well the Cub are looking to add OBP and speed to the lineup and have targeted Roberts but if Hudson becomes available then expect them to turn to him as another option. Orlando is a great defensive 2nd baseman with decent power. He hit .294 with 10 HR and 63 rbi. He had 10 stolen bases and an OBP of .376 last year. Not to mention he is one of the best defensive 2nd baseman in the league with a lifetime fielding percentage of .986. To give you an idea how good that is. Castillo fielding percentage is .984 and Polanco( who is the best defensive 2nd baseman) is .990.
The Cubs signed pitcher Tanner Watson today. He did well in the frontier league, he was 11-3 with a 2.17 era in 15 appearances. Here is the link-
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I say yes! Hendry has a flare for the dramatic and I expect the Cubs to trade for one of these players before the Holidays get here.
Well, which one will it be??
Out of the 4 players listed I say the most likely to be on the northside is Roberts. Hendry still has his eye on him regardless of his name being in the Mitchell Report. Roberts would make this lineup come together nicely. Lou could put Brian in the lead off spot and move Soriano to the 5th or 6th spot in the lineup or leave Sori in the leadoff spot and bat the switch hitter 2nd( which I see Lou doing).
As for the other 3 players, I see Bedard being the hardest to get away. He would likely cost Hill and Pie along with 3 other prospects. The O's are valuing him just below Santana which is ridiculous. Blanton seems like a more reasonable pick up. He wont cost as much as Bedard and he makes only 380,000 next year. Not to mention you would have Blanton for at least the next 2 to 3 seasons. I also consider Blanton to have more upside and be a better fit for the Cubs because he is a righty and the cost of him would be a lot less than Bedard. The guy I think would be the most tricky to get is Figgins. The Angels will not move him until the get a 3rd baseman, and the Cubs will not trade Aram( I dont blame them) so they would have to get another team involved like the Cards who has Rolen available. Figgins is better than Roberts in my opinion and much more versatile which would help the Cubs in case of an injury. He would most likely play CF for the Cubs, thus allowing Derosa to play 2nd base everyday.
In a perfect scenario the Cubs would acquire Blanton, Figgins, and Roberts before Christmas and look forward to spring training. Unfortunately baseball isn't always perfect, I would be tremendously happy if the Cubs landed one of these players. If they landed two of them Hendry would deserve a medal!