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

Hot stove report

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A few details and updates on players of interest - or rumored interest - to the Cubs from this morning's Sun-Times, based on dozens of conversations in recent days with agents, Cubs officials and other major league sources:

-- Unless the landscape dramatically changes, forget free agent outfielders ADAM DUNN, BOBBY ABREU and Padres outfielder BRIAN GILES. In Giles case, not only has he been adamant about having no desire to waive his no-trade clause, but the Cubs and Padres did not so much as discuss him during all those Peavy-to-the-Cubs talks in recent weeks. That's according to sources on both sides. Dunn and Abreu, for now at least, are too expensive for the Cubs' limitations, and in Dunn's case, the Cubs love the person and the bat but cringe at the thought of an outfield with Soriano and Dunn at the corners - not the mention the possibility of that same outfield including the platoon center fielder Kosuke Fukudome at a second-best position. The Cubs have not contacted the agents for either player.

-- MARK TEAHEN? Don't believe everything you read. The Cubs included him as one tree in a vast forest of names they threw out very early in the off-season and have not pursued anything on this front. A very general discussion in passing, weeks ago, between officials from each club included a question about the Royals' intentions with a handful of their players, including Teahen and DAVID DEJESUS. That's it. Nothing since, and it would take a series of off-season dominoes falling the wrong way for the Cubs for them to get aggressive about a guy who is neither the middle-of-the-order bat or the top-of-the-order bat they seek.

-- Leadoff man RAFAEL FURCAL, the Dodgers' free agent the Cubs nearly acquired the last time he was a free agent, is a guy the Cubs like again, if they can make him fit into their payroll plans. His agent, Paul Kinzer, is in town this week on unrelated business and had no meetings scheduled with the Cubs, which obviously could change by the time he leaves town several days from now. Meantime, Kinzer said about a half-dozen teams have inquired about Furcal, including the Cubs, although he said ``nothing serious'' has been discussed with GM Jim Hendry, whom Kinzer chats with on various topics on a regular basis. The Cubs will probably have to act quickly to be a serious player for Furcal if Kinzer's not exaggerating about two or three teams already being serious (with one reported offer of three years, $39 million out there). ``It's starting to pick up,'' he said.

-- Leadoff men? Yes, BRIAN ROBERTS might be out there again. And, yes, the Cubs would salivate at the chance to nab him for the final year of his contract if they haven't already finished their winter shopping by then. But the Orioles want to try to sign Roberts to a contract extension, with the intention of trading him if he doesn't agree. And the feeling in Baltimore is Roberts is waiting out some of the early moves by notoriously deliberate GM Andy MacPhail this winter to gauge the team's direction before deciding to re-up. After last year's never-ending Roberts saga, the Cubs already have decided they won't go through that again. So if Roberts becomes available, one of three possibilities figure to be at play (and two don't get it done): 1, It's so late in the process that the Cubs will already have that need filled and little room to work with the make it happen; 2, It's early enough in the process that the Cubs and O's negotiate - but with the Cubs requiring a quicker time frame on the talks than is comfortable for MacPhail; or 3, It's late in the process, and the Cubs still haven't filled that spot, making for fertile territory to explore. In any case, a long shot as it stands today.

-- RAUL IBANEZ has been contacted by the Cubs and would probably be the ideal fit if they can make his salary demands work. A couple of years for $7-9 million each would be a nice fit, but Ibanez is said to be seeking three years and $30 million or more, so Hendry might have to get creative on this front. Newsday of New York is reporting that the Mets, Phillies and Dodgers also are pursuing Ibanez - although the Phillies and Mets, at least, would seem to have less motivation here than the Cubs.

The bottom line, in the immediate wake of the Dempster signing, according to multiple insiders, is that the Cubs are only now turning their full attention and energies to the many potential ways they can address their left-handed hitting needs.

As of this morning, their target list was fluid and filled with variables and contingencies with no clear-cut priority order. I.e., if they can trade for Player A, does that leave enough stock to trade for Player B if he becomes available? Or enough money for Free Agent C? Would a fallback combination of Player D and E fit the short-term payroll better while providing enough options to still improve the lineup?.

Or, for example, can the Cubs move Jason Marquis by picking up a portion of his salary ($9.875 for 2009) to free up more payroll to acquire a free agent they covet? Would they have to shed the one before adding the other? Are there other multi-player - or even multi-team - possibilities that could send enough contract each way to get the Cubs what they want without giving up other essentials?

Almost anything is in play as the historically aggressive Hendry approaches the winter meetings Dec. 8-11 in Las Vegas.

Talk about loose slots.

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What is this I hear about RANDY JOHNSON? Are the Cubs sure they want to add a pitcher who is over 40? I have always been a fan of "THE UNIT" but is he to old to pitch for the Cubs? I briefly heard about the possibility of getting Mark TEXERIA and trading DEREK LEE... What do you think? Have you heard any of this?

Can you get a little more specific? We already know all the names out there, go out on a limb or make a prediction already.

No one wants to see the same old RH/RH/RH/RH/RH station to station baseball, even if it's good for 120 wins. This team needs 2 added LH hitters + speed and unless Hendry wakes up, we will be at option E, or whatever you said.

Couldn't Hendry move Marquis and Lee to get a real leadoff hitter and a decent right fielder while unloading some substantial payroll? What about acquiring Willie Taveris from Colorado? He would solve the leadoff situation while adding great defense and a lot of speed, which the Sox could use as well.

I hate to say it, but trade Lee. Bring up Hopp and that opens up not only payroll but gives the cubs a power lefty bat that they need. I know Hop is unproven in the long term and Lee has been a great player; however, last year he proved for the second year in a row that his speed and power have drastically declined leading to few home runs, a few doubles and lots of double play balls.

I agree with Chadder about trading DEREK LEE and signing Mark Teixeira, 1B - Age: 28 - Bats: Switch Hitter and a good fielder. DEREK has been a great player with the CUBS he has some good years left in his career, but not great years. Sign Teixeira and trade LEE to YANKEES for Robinson Cano Age: 26 Bats left 280 with some pop plus a young lefthand pitcher or to ORIOLES for BRAIN ROBERTS Age: 31 Bats: Switch Hitter 290 hitter with speed.
Sign RANDY WOLF left hand pitcher Age: 32.

With these moves would the more Balance team. MARK DEROSA in right field and PIE in center, who will have a breakout year.

I agree with Tom on everything except Wolf and Pie. Cano had a bad year last year and a good one before that, so which player is he? Anyway, at least get Texeira, or get super creative in the Peavy talks, and try to also get Adrian Gonzalez. Would love to see him instead of Tex.

How about D Lee, Marshall, Hart, Pie, Cedeno for Peavy and Gonzalez. Then you have to get Furcal, move Theriot to second, DeRo to right. Fontenot stays on the bench, Hoff instead of Daryle Ward. You are pretty much than replacing Cedeno with Furcal. If we also could get Roberts, than you just have Theriot and Fontenot on the bench instead of Cedeno and Fontenot. Could you imagine that lineup.


That lineup may actually win a playoff game.

Agreed by all Cub fans that Derrek Lee is the guy to move in order to get a Brian Roberts or a left handed hitter. His salary dump would then open up monies fo free agents like Adam Dunn and Furcal. DeRosa and Hoffpauir would be fine at firs base. I don't care what his defense would be, Adam Dunn's bombs and OBP would be great.
Hendry has lots to play with in Theriot,Fontinot, Fukudome, Marquis, Lilly, along with DLee. The only untouchables on this team are SOTO and MARMOL. Hendry has a lot of aces to play with, let's see what kind of player he is. Gee........ Imagine what Carlos Zambrano could
bring to this team. His act is getting old too !
Mr. Hendry......... you're on the clock!

Lee's no trade clause will hurt any deal that we think are possible. Nobody wants we can forget about moving him unless we pay over half of what's left on his contract. Gonz from SD would be a dream but Pads won't move him. Best options we have...and this is realistic is...Roberts and/or Furcal. We are not going to look much different than this year and that's not a bad thing. The key is to get Roberts or Furcal and move Theriot (worth something now), Cedano, Marshall, Pie (who is out of options so we're not going to get much for him) and have no untouchables in the minors. Bring up cather from minors to back up Gio.

My ideal and most realistic line-up would look like this:

Roberts 2B
Soriano RF
A Ram 3B
Hoff. RF (it's a stretch but we need a cheap lefty bat)
Lee 1B
Gio C
Furcal SS
Johns/Fuk CF
Pitcher (Big Z, Peavey, Lilly, Dempster and Harden in this order)...look at the schedule and Hardan gets a ton of rest early. Spot start Marquis for Harden and have him as safety valve and long man in pen and/or if you can't get Peavey have Marquis as #5.

DeRo Super Sub playing 4-6 times a week at various positions giving plenty of rest to all.

I would LOVE to move Lee but it aint going to happen...

I hate to say it also but you have to trade D. Lee . How about Lee, Hart, Fukadome, & minor leaguer to the Orioles for Markakis, & Roberts. One question is: will Pie ever be the player he was expected to be?

Geo Soto- C
DeRosa- RF

Or Markakis in right and Pie in center. DeRosa would spot everyone else.
Markakis is young, he's a lefty, hits for power.You're giving up defense in Hoff for Lee but you've added
Alot of speed & not given up on power. Nothing left to do but get another top line pitcher and teach Soriano not to swing at bad pitches like Sosa used to do his whole career!

I say NO to Furcal. He has a history of back problems. Forget Randy Johnson, he's too old and crotchety, also back problems. Ibanez is one of those players that would be great in any other city but as a Cub would be mediocre. Just a hunch on that one. Same with Taveras, a slightly better Juan Pierre, but aging. Dunn strikes out too much, hits for low average, and butchers balls in the outfield. Other than that he's great. Definitely not what the Cubs need, a 35-40 home run guy hitting .240 and striking out 175 times. Abreu is getting old and is scared of balls hit over his head. So that leaves Brian Roberts. He's the best fit. I like Texieria too. And Manny. A screwball, but someone who wouldn't be dragged down by the 100 year thing. He would care less. Worth the 25 million a year for four years. Trade Soriano, Fukudome and maybe Lee and send Zambrano to a psychiatrist 3 times a week. If no trades or free agent signings made to get some punch and a leadoff guy, the Cubs don't make the playoffs next year.

I can't believe we have to keep Soriano! Get rid of the bum!

All these comments are very unrealistic...First off we are in no situation what so ever of getting Furcal, Roberts, and Peavy!!!We only have the peices to two of those solutions. Could sign Furcal, but won't bc he already has been offered a contract n the Cubs are not offereing that or anything higher...That leaves Peavy. I'de love to have em, but we need to keep those guys to stock are farm system...Roberts prob wont b coming here either McFail haha knows who we have n was and still would be asking for too much from us in return. NOW on to my last point i like this rumor which again is a rumor we send Pie who is a corey patterson waiting to happen who can only hit in trip A to O's for Olsen and put him n the deal for Peavy. Only way Isee the Cubs gettin Peavy which still might not happen...ALL YOU DREAMERS KEEP DREAMIN

soriano is good you losers. You dont realize that he is not an ourfielder by choice. He also has won us more games then lost. He is not a lead off hitter but is a key part to this team. He is good and you are dumb.

I live near Cincinnati and watched Adam Dunn play starting in Single A ball. He is the same player now that he was then, tons of power, swings at everything and can't field. If he hasn't improved on that by now, he won't. He should be a DH someplace but he's a horrible fit for the Cubs. Stay away!

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on November 19, 2008 1:57 PM.

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