Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Cubs ready for Roberts deal

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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?

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Nothing matters. Since this money making machine called the Chicago Cubs spawned from yuppiedom 30 years ago the club could make it look like they were spending barrells of dough while rolling in guaranteed cash flow from the hereditary lines of fandom. The park is the draw and everbody knows it. That frickin charm that is the curse.
Lets bring down the ivy, put up an exploding scoreboard and call it IPOD Park on Clark. Or just sell it tho some mismanaging fools who think you need a winner to make maoney on the north side of town.

Pie and Murton straight up is enough. The Cubs need to keep any pitching prospects they may have.

Adding Roberts would just give us an edge at the leadoff spot. I think it would benefit our Cubbies to trade for him. Right now we have a surplus of pitching and we could get a deal done. I like this lineup with Roberts;


Sounds like a solid lineup. Also, is there some way to work out a deal to get Sherill in with a Roberts deal? Now that would make me very happy. Thanks GO Cubs!!!

The most reasonable deal would only send two players to Baltimore: Marshall and Murton. They're both immediate starters, and proven, with Murton's .300 career average (he did get in a full season in 2006), good power potential and ability to use the entire field with his bat, and with Marshall's ERA in the high threes after extensive work last year. Two very solid, young players, just like Baltimore is looking for in rebuilding. If Marshall is the pitcher we're sending and Murton is on the table too, they can't reasonably ask for more for Roberts. If it's Gallagher, who's unproven, the deal will then need to feature three total players instead of two, likely still including Murton and maybe Cedeno as the third. I do think Cedeno has a lot of potential and would be reluctant to lose him (his upside is greater than Theriot's from a strictly athletic perspective), but that would be reasonable for a proven lead off guy that can be the engine of the offense. Giving up any more than these two scenarios would be inexcusable. Pie, Patterson, Colvin, etc., are off the table. And no, it doesn't matter that Roberts did steriods; so did most players, probably. What can he contribute now? That's the only question, and the answer is, a whole lot.

In reference to Wittenmeyer and DeLuca's blog on Baltimore finally putting the the finishing touches on the Erik Bedard trade to Seattle. We all know that Angelos must be giving Andy McPhail ulcers and raising his blood pressure about 75 points every time McPhail attempts to do what Angelos hired him to do; rebuild the Orioles from the bottom up. Well, he's sucessfully put together a trade that provides the O's with an All-Star quality center fielder, help for the bull pen and a good young arm for the future. That leaves the O's with a need for a major league arm that can start this season; why not Sean Gallagher?...a multi-purpose infielder who can fill a spot at short, second or third; possibly Ronny Cedeno or Eric Patterson? And finally a corner outfielder to go with the Crown Jewel of the Bedard trade, Adam Jones...why not Matt Murton? This helps McPhail rebuild dramatically and would give Jim Hendry the element that the Cubs need, Brian Roberts. A player with speed, good strike zone control and one of the best lead off hitters in baseball. This would give Sweet Lou a line up of Roberts, Fukodome (great bat control), Derrick Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Soto, Theriot and Pie. To keep all of these guys rested throughout the many day games and to prevent injuries, Mark Derosa must get at least 500 AB's! In addition the Cub's pitching staff has some of the best bats in the #9 slot in the major leagues. So Jim and Andy, please just make the deal! Angelos let them do their jobs! The Orioles would begin a long-term growth as a contendor in the AL East and the Cubs just might pull off a dream!

If the Cubs could get Roberts and place him in centerfield, the only "unsure" position would be shortstop, which i would assume is Ryan Theriot's, as it ought to be. Then the lineup:

Soto/ Theriot
Theriot/ Soto
Pitcher/ DH in Interleague Play

Sounds like a good lineup to me and a division winner. Go Cubs!

Tom Kennedy, your line up is ridiculous. First of all they're not going to hit two of their three left handed hitters back to back anywhere in the line up. Number two, you can't have Ramirez clogging the bases in front of Soriano, he can still steal 30 bases hitting clean up. Theriot is their #2 hitter, if they get Roberts, if not, he should be leading off.

Sorry, not tom kennedy, although NO WAY they should give up Pie in this deal. Pie hit 362 last year in AAA, what did the crown jewel of the Bedard trade hit? Pie hit a lowly .215 in the majors, what did Jones hit with the Mariners? Why is Jones a crown jewel and Pie is trade bait? What am I missing?


I would not trade Veal or Colvin, or Jeff Samardzija ...Felix Pie, Murton, and either Marshall or Gallagher, or even Ryan Dempster, would be a good package to trade for Roberts. As for the steroids issue, I'm more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. (Roger Clemens would look good in Cubbie blue, also, but now I know I'm dreamin'...)

1. The Cubs have a very good 2nd Baseman, whose head and production might get really screwed up if this trade is made.

2. The Cubs always talk a mean game about running....but they never do, even when they have the personnel.

3. If this trade must be made, it should cost position players only. If Dempster and Marquis don't produce, there really isn't the depth of pitching that so many take for granted.

This may be the last chance to peddle Pie before the hype wears off. Toss in Cedeno and Murton. If that's not good enough for Andy McFailure, stand pat.

rickdawg, if marshall and murton get this deal done i'll run mcphail out of town myself.

Of course this trade must get done. The Cubs are in desperate need of a TRUE leadoff hitter. Soriano does not fill this need. He's a 5 or 6 hitter, not a leadoff man. Trading for Roberts would fill this need. The Cubs did not run with Soriano because of leg injuries which began in spring training, and got worse when he partially tore his Quad muscle against the Mets. If this trade does not happen the Cubs will be without a leadoff man(AGAIN) and will get bounced in the first round as they did last year.

Lets assume this trade goes through. I would assume Murton would have to go (he is too good to to be a 5th outfielder behind DeRosa and too limited to be a utility player) and that one of the pitchers vying for the 4 or 5 spot would go (and maybe Cedeno too).

I think it is really interesting to discuss the lineup with Roberts involved. Do you really want to stack the lefties Roberts and Fukudome? Do your really want to stack your righties with Soriano, Lee and Aramis? If you bat Theriot 2nd and Fukudome is as good as advertised do your really want him batting 6th?

I think against a lefty it is easy, you put DeRosa in Right and have all righthanded batters with the exception of Pie or Fuld (or Fukudome if he plays center).

Against righties though, I think you have to put someone in the 2-hole that can hit behind in the count to give Roberts a chance to steal. If that isn't Fukudome for whatever reason do the Cubs put Lee or Soriano hitting 2nd in a gutsy move. It is more likely Theriot would hit in the 2-spot which would either line up the righties with Lee, Soriano and Aramis next (probably in that order) or have Fukudome in one of those spots which would push Aramis to 6th.

If I was forced to pick a line up now I would probably go Roberts, Lee, Soriano, Ramirez, Fukudome, Soto, Theriot and Fuld or Pie.

Although the Roberts trade would open quite a few lineup questions, I think it is really important trade for the Cubs. A switch hitting pure leadoff hitter that will get Soriano out of the leadoff spot, add a lefthanded bat to the righty dominated lineup and add an on base guy to the power lineup would be just what the Cubs need.

Dream lineup:


The O's aren't going to give up Roberts for nothing. Gallagher seems to be the central figure. Murton is young enough and a good enough hitter to start for the O's right now, and still be affordable if their plans for 2010 are true. (Heck, if he was LH, the Cubs wouldn't have gotten Fukudome) If they want Cedeno or Patterson or Marshall, include those guys, because they aren't everyday players - they are bench guys and a 5th starter.

Why not Tyler Colvin? Who are all these people who project him as a future all-star? Everyone in the Cubs organization? The guy had 15 walks in about 500 plate appearances last year. Not good. And while he potentially could improve on that, isn't he blocked from even joining the Cubs because of Soriano and Fukudome? (he doesn't project as a CF - so Pie's presence means less.) But you have a LF signed for 6(?) more years and a RF you just signed for 4 years.....where does he play (sort of the same problem Murton has)

And who ever said move Roberts to center is crazy. Why not just have him be the 5th starter too?

Oh, and to the people who think that DeRosa will be adversely effected:

1.) Roberts does everything in baseball better than DeRosa as a 2B. So it would be a significant upgrade.

2.) DeRosa's value last year was his versitility. If he's the every day 2B, he's becomes very ordinary. His value lies in the fact that he can play different positions.

3.) People really liked DeRosa last year because he didn't complain about not being the every day 2B and did everything for the team to try and win. Now, all of a sudden he's going to sulk and pout because he's asked to sacrifice for the team and do everything to win? Seems dumb to reject the ideals that made you popular.

4.) If they got Roberts, DeRosa would be free to not only be more valuable in his supersub role, but that in turn would make everyone else better, because they would be able to stay fresh and more productive. Also, if anyone got injured, the Cubs would have an ideal replacement player.

5.) DeRosa is going to make like 5,000,000 dollars this season no matter what. Why do we feel bad for him at all?

And by the way, Pie had 177 sporadic at-bat last year at the major league level. Why is everyone so quick to jettison him off in a trade? His defense alone will save at least one hit a week, which would increase his value tremendously.

Cubs fans: Brian Roberts is switch-hitting leadoff hitter (and how many real leadoff hitters are there in the majors these days?)who will steal 50 bases and has a better-than-average glove. He's also a prince of a guy off the diamond.

I suspect that the players mentioned coming from Chicago will not get the deal done. Gallagher & Marshall don't look to be that much better than two or three guys we have in our minor league system right now.

We're set in the outfield with Luke Scott (from Houston in the Tejada trade)in LF, Adam Jones (from Seattle in the Bedard trade)in CF and Nick Markakis in RF.

I think we need Pie, Colvin or Patterson along with one of the pitchers mentioned for the Orioles to pull the trigger.

If not, we'll probably keep Brian at least until the trade deadline to see which contender needs help and might be willing to give a bit more.

By the way, despite Angelos' well-deserved reputation, Andy MacPhail is driving the O's ship. Our owner has watched him deal away out two biggest drawing cards (Tejada, Bedard) without objection.


If the Cubs can get Roberts then this would be the line-up i would love to see...

Roberts SS
DLee 1b
Soriano LF
Ramirez 3b
Fukudome RF
Derosa 2b
Soto C
Pie CF

Have Theriot as a sub. Roberts has some SS experience. The Cubs dont lose anything defensively with Roberts at SS over Theriot, but boy do they gain some major On Base Percentage at the top of the order with him over Theriot. Soriano will still see a ton of fastballs hitting at the 3 spot in front of RBI machine Ramirez.

Hey M J Zobrosky, I think you're on to something here! Trade for an all-star 2b, move him to center, leave second open and bat only eight men in the line-up! That sounds like a good lineup to me and a division winner. Go Cubs, just don't listen to any of your addle-minded fans!

"...Andy MacPhail is driving the O's ship....."

I have 2 words for Peter Angelos:

Call Geico

I would definitely like to see this deal done because I beleive it will organize the line-up how it should be, not having Soriano lead off, and it will add last year's AL Stolen base champ to the top of a line-up that could finally be a mega run producer. You know DeRosa will get plenty of playing time since we have plenty of guys who get hurt such as Ramirez, Lee, Soriano, and DeRosa will be able to spot anyone minus the catcher in the field.

As far as who to give up, good riddance to Matt "Swing at the first pitch" Murton. The guy looked like Charlie Brown in the field dropping a number of easy fly balls, a total defensive liability and his lack of power for an outfielder does not help. Cedeno is another brutal piece to be traded, given a full-time chance a few years ago, he failed miserably, couldn't hit and made a number of mental lapses. So Murton, Cedeno, and a pitcher be it Gallagher or Marshall and I am totally good with that. I like Marshall, he did well last year but we have to give to get and Gallagher and his 8.59 ERA can go.

I hope the deal gets done soon before Spring Training starts.

I think Murton and Marshall should be all that the Cubs give up for a player that is linked to performance enhancing drugs. Murton will not play much in a crowded outfield and Marshall is expendable since he's a lefty (2 lefties are enough for the rotation). Gallagher should be held onto since he is right handed and could possibly fit into the rotaton puzzle. The problem with Hendry trading with his old boss is that McPhail knows how badly the Cubs want Roberts. The O's are dealing from a position of strength. I hope Hendry doesn't allow McPhail to take advantage of him!

I would get Roberts if at all possible for all the reasons mentioned. I would give up some pitching, (Gallager?Marshall). I hate to see Murton go very promising but you have to give up something to get something. I would not give up on Pie. I have this deep down feeling Pie might turn into a Lou Brock senerio and I have lived with that for a long, long time.

Who cares about Roberts. The best chance the Cubbies had of breaking the 100 year curse was to get Sanata from the Twins. Any prospects mentioned in this discussion should have been used to get another front line pitcher to go with big Z. Roberts will not take them to the promised land so whats the point.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on February 8, 2008 3:06 PM.

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