With news today that the agonizingly drawn-out trade of Baltimore pitcher Erik Bedard to Seattle is finally done, the long-discussed trade of O's second baseman Brian Roberts to the Cubs should come next. But how long will that deal take -- if it happens at all?
Cubs sources have said all week leading up to the anticipated Bedard announcement that while the Cubs' interest still is high, no deal in principal has been struck in the interim, and nothing appears imminent as the week comes to a close.
That doesn't mean a deal can't be put together relatively quickly. The sides have talked on and off for more than two months, and the pool of potential players in a package for Roberts has been narrowed significantly, centered around pitching prospect Sean Gallagher. And the Cubs are far and away the top suitor for Roberts, with ample strong prospects to deal.
But given the Orioles' track record of protracted trade negotiations, a process complicated by hands-on owner Peter Angelos -- and in this case Angelos' personal fondness for Roberts -- some in the Cubs' organization fear that what should be a several-days process could drag for a matter of weeks, if it gets done at all.
If nothing else, the days, and possibly weeks, of this potential saga should add some spice to a Cubs spring camp already humming with the anticipation of Fukudomania and a certain 100-year anniversary approaching.
So let the speculation and names begin flying.
Who would you give up to get Roberts beyond Gallagher? Would you give up three players? Four? Would you give up Felix Pie? Matt Murton? Touted AA pitcher Donnie Veal? What about AA outfielder Tyler Colvin, the all-but-untouchable hitter many project as a future all-star?
And where does Roberts' admitted steroid use -- he tried it years ago, he says -- come into play? Does it even matter if he can help the Cubs win now? Or should the Cubs take a moral stand on the issue and forget about Roberts?