Jim Hendry said he considers the just concluded general managers meetings at the O'Hare Hilton fruitful and said that the abbreviated format seemed to encourage even more dialogue between GMs than the usual spread-out, longer sets of meetings in the past.
But just how successful those meetings were won't be known until he finishes dumping Milton Bradley - presumably by the winter meetings in Indianapolis in less than four weeks - and knows how much of the $21 million left on that contract he has to eat, and what player he gets in return.
``We were real pleased with the meetings,'' said Hendry, who joined assistant GM Randy Bush in meeting with ``seven or eight'' teams Tuesday night just ahead of Wednesday morning's wrapup. ``We felt we got a little direction on the path we might want to go. It was productive.
``We'd like to make a few moves before Indy. Then it really clears up. We don't have a lot of quantity to add. We want to make a few adjustments.''
Hendry wouldn't get into specifics on players he wants to add or potential trade matches for Bradley. But according to sources in and around the meetings this week:
-- Although the Tigers have made all-star center fielder Curtis Granderson available in trade, the Cubs have not pursued that avenue. At least not yet. Granderson, a lefty hitter with a rare power/speed/fielding combo of skills, has three years and $25.75 million left on his contract, plus a $13 million option for 2013 (an $11 million commitment considering the $2 million buyout), so the economics would play a factor for the payroll-watching Cubs. But given the ideal fit provided by the Chicago-area native, conversations between the teams appear inevitable.
--Until then, the Cubs' next order of business appears to be finishing off a multi-year extension for free agent lefty John Grabow (likely two years in the $7 million neighborhood). Hendry resumed talks with Grabow's agent this week, and a deal could be finalized by early next week.
-- The potential for acquiring New York Mets' second baseman Luis Castillo (two years, $12 million left on his contract) might be a matter of how the winds change in New York on a daily or weekly basis - as in, whether the Mets ultimately decide they're adding or subtracting payroll this winter, which was anything but certain as the meetings closed. Either way, the Mets want no part of acquiring Bradley, so the only way a Castillo deal would involve Bradley is if it included a third team, either as a contingent partner in two separate deals or a bona fide three-team deal.
-- Despite the Cubs' search for a second baseman, they're not looking at Florida's run-producing 2B Dan Uggla.