Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cubs Lose to Royals

The Cubs lost to the Royals today in the Gil Meche sweepstakes. The Cubs and Blue Jays were supposed to be the leading candidates for Meche’s services. Each team was rumored to be offering a contract in the neighborhood of 4 years and $40 million. Then the Royals swept in and offered a contract of 5 years and $55 million. Meche grabbed the offer and the Cubs remain short one starting pitcher.

So where do the Cubs go from here? There are still a handful of FA pitchers out there. Barry Zito tops the list, but it is unlikely that the Cubs will get involved in that bidding.

Former St. Louis pitchers Jeff Suppan, Jason Marquis, and Jeff Weaver are also still available. There’s a rumor floating around that the Cubs may be close to a deal on Marquis and have made a three year offer to Suppan. Of the three, I would much prefer Suppan.

Miguel Batista is also still available. Batista is interesting because he can either start or come out of the bullpen. If either Prior or Miller get healthy in 2007, they could be moved into the starting rotation and Batista would be moved into the pen. It would be a nice problem to have, but there have been no rumors connecting Batista to the Cubs.

Then there are always trade possibilities. Trades for either Jason Jennings (Colorado) or Jake Westbrook (Cleveland) have been discussed, but those possibilities look dead right now. Brad Penny is rumored to be available now that the Dodgers signed Jason Schmidt. The White Sox traded Freddy Garcia to Philadelphia and are rumored to be willing to trade Jon Garland, although they appear to be in serious negotiations with Houston on Garland. Philadelphia is willing to trade Jon Lieber, but do the Cubs really want Jon Lieber?

Then there’s my favorite. I would like the Cubs to pursue a trade with Florida for Dontrelle Willis. I’ve talked about this before and I still think it makes sense for both teams. I strongly believe that the Marlins are going to trade Willis, but it might not be until the trade deadline next year.

New York Newsday is reporting that the Dodgers and Cubs may be talking about Dodgers LHP Mark Hendrickson. The 32-year old Hendrickson (who is 6’9” tall) pitched for Toronto and Tampa Bay before joining the Dodgers in 2006 where he went 6-15 with a 4.21 ERA. If it is true that the Cubs and Dodgers are talking, it certainly is not very well reported.

In other Cubs news, the team is close to signing Daryle Ward to a one-year, $1.05 million contract. Ward will likely be used as a left-handed pinch hitter and an occasional fill-in at first base. The 31-year-old Ward hit .308 with 7 HRs and 26 RBI in limited action with the Nationals in 2006.


At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Brick said...

The winter meetings were fairly good for the Cubs. They filled one pitching hole and are working on another. I like your idea about Willis, but don't see it happening. The Marlins are trying to build a new ball park and need the few star names they have to stick around. What I could see happening is the Cubs making a deal for Brad Penny or maybe even for Dan Haren with Oakland. Billy Beane is looking for some young arms to reload his pitching staff for the future and may be willing to trade Haren for 2-3 prospects.

At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with the Cubs isn't that they don't spend money. Obviously they do. The problem is that they don't spend it wisely. They doled out about $300 million in contracts this off season, but they still need a pitcher and center fielder (assuming they trade Jones). For $300 million dollars, shouldn't they have fielded a complete team?

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Lou, I just ran across your site and really enjoyed it. I'm a big Cubs fan and was looking for information about the winter meetings. I enjoyed reading your updates and opinions. Good work.


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