Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year... Byrd Signs....Other Notes...

Happy New Year to all! Lets hope 2010 brings the Cubs a World Series ring. Here is the first rumor post of 2010-

- If you do not already know the Cubs have signed Marlon Byrd to a 3 year deal worth 15 million and it is once again back loaded. Byrd will receive 3 million in 2010, 5.5 in 2011, and 6.5 million in 2012. The Cubs had to backload his deal because now after the signing the Cubs can only add about 5-7 million to their payroll this season with many other holes to fill.

I have to say I am surprised the Cubs did not over pay for Byrd. Granted I still think it is a little too much for a guy that has been a fourth outfielder his entire career but at least it was not the rumored 3 years 21-28 million we were hearing earlier this offseason. I do give Hendry credit though by signing a true centerfielder and not making a mistake like he did with Bradley and sign a DH to play outfield. Another good thing with the signing is that Byrd will be with the same hitting coach that helped him put up career numbers last year and that he is one of the best defensive outfielders available.

Overall I give Hendry a B- on this signing because I still think Ankiel would have been a better fit and he should have explored the trade market more.

- Levine says that the Cubs were negotiating with agents for Podsednik and Ankiel before the Cubs agreed to sign Byrd. He will bat anywhere from 5th to 7th in the Cubs lineup.

- The Cubs want to add relievers and a possible swing man who could start or go out of the pen. Don't we already have a couple of those in Silva, Marshall, and Guzman?

- The Cubs like Jason Frasor and have talked to the Jays bout their relievers. He would be a decent pick up. I would rather have Scott Downs or Jeremy Accardo though but I am dreaming I know.

The Cubs now need to move on to getting an everyday 2nd baseman and build up their bench. I just see no reason to sign or trade for a reliever right now. Finding a starting 2nd baseman and getting bench guys are much harder to find. Jim Hendry needs to realize this!

Until next time....

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More Rumors and No Action....

As expected there are a lot of rumors surrounding the Cubs but no action is being taken. Jim Hendry always has a flare for the dramatic though considering last year trading DeRosa and signing Aaron Miles on the last day of the year. Could he have another move up his sleeve before the ball drops on 2009? Lets hope so and it is not as disastrous as last time.

Latest from Levine-

- Levine says the Cubs have listened to offers on Carlos Zambrano but are having problems with his no-trade clause and the amount of cash left on his contract. How bout Zambrano, Marshall, Hoffpauir, and Stevens for Beltran, Castillo, and Maine? Just a thought.

- Levine says that Byrd, Podsednik, or Rick Ankiel will be playing CF for the Cubs in 2010. I like Rick Ankiel out of that bunch. I still think the Cubs would have better luck and get a better player through a trade for a center fielder. Come on Jim call the A's about Rajai Davis!

- The Cubs are concerned about Kiko Calero's health. I do not think the bullpen is something they need to address right now if ever, but if they do they should sign Matt Herges or Joe Biemel.

- Levine says Jim has a limited budget to make improvements to the team. Hendry is
negotiating two or three contracts and looking to make trades.

- Hendry only has 6-7 million left in the budget for 2010.

- Levine says Silva could be a bullpen guy, starter, or spend all year on the DL. One thing is for sure if he is not productive he will not be active.

- He says Orlando Hudson is not on the Cubs' list. WHY NOT?

- The Cubs have continued their dialog with the Mets over Luis Castillo. How bout Silva for Castillo? I am dreaming I know.

- The Cubs keep in contract with Contreras' agent. He maybe considered a part-time sub for Lilly and bullpen guy.

- The Cubs are looking at Ryan Spilborghs as a replacement for Reed Johnson. The Cubs will not resign Johnson because of his back.

- Vitters may be seeing time at first base in the minors.

- Brett Gardner is not available.

- There is no truth to the deal that would send the Cubs Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Bucholz. It was shot down by Levine.

Until Next Time....

Monday, December 28, 2009

Levine's Latest..

- Bruce Levine said the Cubs and Rockies have talked about a trade that would send Ryan Spilborghs to Chicago. Spilly would serve as the Cubs fourth outfielder and possible platoon player for Fukudome. I am a HUGE Spilly fan and said the Cubs should have traded for him two years ago. Ryan is a career .281 hitter with .352 OBP and can even steal a base. Against leftys he is very good, hitting .294 with a .367 OBP. How bout Mike Fontenot for Ryan Spilborghs?

- Levine names Byrd and Podsednik their top CF prospects. Pods should not even be on that list.

- Jon Heyman reports on Twitter that the Yankees definitely inquired on Z and speculates that Zambrano is "eminently available."

- The Braves could use Melky Cabrera as trade bait and the Cubs would be first in line according to Jon Heyman. I would actually prefer Nate McClouth if they made him available. The Braves should he is more expensive than Cabrera.

- The Cubs remain very interested in Jose Contreras. They value him as a swing man on this team and could get him for very cheap because they are one of the only teams interested in him. Unless the Cubs can get him for an one year deal worth about a million right now then you wait until pitchers like Brett Meyers, John Smoltz, and Doug Davis become market attention.

Until Next Time....

Levine's Latest..

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jacoby Ellsbury Trade Bait? On Cubs Radar?

Phil Rogers has the latest in a very juicy rumor involving Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Holliday/Jason Bay, and Cub prospects. Rogers says if the Red Sox end up with Bay or Holliday the Cubs would immediatly make an effort to land Jacoby Ellsbury according to sources.

Rogers goes on to explain this is why the Cubs are being so patient with the CF market and exploring all potential avenues. He says the best way to get Ellsbury on the Cubs is to work a three way trade with the Padres where Adrian Gonzalez is sent to the Red Sox netting the Padres two top Cubs prospects like Josh Vitters, Had-Ju Lee, Andrew Cashner, and Jay Jackson. It is in also my spectulation that the Red Sox would also include Clay Buchholz in a deal as well.

I got to say Rogers has a very valid point. The rumored deals of the past for Gonzalez has included Ellsbury, Buchholz, and other players. The benefit for the Cubs getting involved is they would send the "other players" the Padres would want for Adrian and the Sox would only have to give up two players (who are expendable) for power hitting 1st baseman. This would also make the Sox a clear cut playoff team and battle NY for the AL Representative in the WS.

The Padres would get rid of a potential big contract in Gonzo and sell high on him while filling lots of holes with young big upside prospects.

The Cubs would finally get a speedy lead off guy that had 70 SB, a .301 Avg., and a .355 OBP last season to play CF for years to come. He will soon be arbitration eligible but is still very inexpensive considering the market for free agent CF so far. The Cubs would basically be getting a better player than Granderson for less talent, which would be so amazing if Hendry pulled off a deal like this.

I will keep you posted as I hear more on this....