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

December 2009 Archives

Can't spell N.Y. with Big Z

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Cubs and Carlos Zambrano's people are refuting today's New York Post story that Cubs and Yankees have talked about a trade of Big Z to New York.

Forget for a minute that the Cubs' starting pitching depth is in question -- at least to start the season -- because of Ted Lilly's recent shoulder surgery.

At least as big a deal: Zambrano has a full no-trade clause and has no desire to go anywhere else.

Furthermore, ``Jim has not approached us about Carlos waiving the no-trade provision of his contract, nor is Carlos interested in waiving it,'' said Zambrano's agent, Barry Praver, via e-mail.

Cubs' moves (no, not Bradley)

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The Cubs tendered offers to all of their arbitration-eligible players today except injured pitcher Neal Cotts, as expected.

Closer Carlos Marmol and shortstop Ryan Theriot, both first-time eligible players, headline the eight-man group and figure to get the biggest salary jumps over last season.

The others tendered offers: pitchers Tom Gorzelanny, Angel Guzman and Sean Marshall; catcher Koyie Hill; and infielders Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker.

Players and arb players exchange salary figures next month. And proceed to arbitration hearings if unable to agree to terms before then. The Cubs haven't gone to a hearing with a player since Mark Grace in 1993.

The Cubs hope to re-sign Cotts -- who had Tommy John elbow surgery last season, when he made $1.1 million -- to a minor-league deal if he doesn't sign elsewhere.

Cubs closer to moving Bradley?

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The increased interest by at least two more teams in Milton Bradley the first day of the winter meetings here in Indianapolis has the Cubs anticipating a break in the logjam over bad contracts and money that stalemated talks with teams for the past month.

Whether a deal ultimately gets done in Indy before teams head out Thursday, there's an expectation among some team officials that something will happen no later than the week or two after the meetings -- one source characterizing the feeling as a matter of when not if.

That's with the Cubs moving him without eating the vast majority of the contract.

Johnson could return to Cubs

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As we reported via twitter Monday, the Cubs don't intend to offer arbitration to any of their three significant free agents (Rich Harden, Kevin Gregg and Reed Johnson) at today's deadline, which means no draft-pick compensation for the team if those players sign elsewhere.

But that doesn't mean they don't intend to keep talking to Johnson about a possible return.

Declining to offer arbitration to Johnson was the only move that made sense in his case because he made $3 million last year and is not a $3 million player anymore as a fourth outfielder coming off three straight years of injuries (84-game average in that span).

An arbitration offer would have given him unnecessary leverage to stay in Chicago for another year at an inflated cost.

If Johnson's market value proves to be about where the Cubs think it is (modest one-year, incentive-filled contract, if he's even offered a guaranteed deal), then Johnson -- who has made it clear he doesn't want to leave -- can check out his value for himself on the open market and possibly wind up back on the North Side with a good payroll-fit contract that seems fair to both sides.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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