Posted on 31 January 2009 by Lou
Now that Sam Zell and the Cubs organization have selected Tom Ricketts as the winning bidder for the purchase of the Cubs, how will that affect the product on the field? Of course The Ricketts Family still needs to get MLB approval, but assuming that happens, will the Ricketts family do “whatever it takes” to bring a World Series Championship to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field?
The biggest player question now focuses on San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy. Padres GM Kevin Towers and Cubs GM Jim Hendry conducted extensive negotiations during the 2008-9 Winter Meetings in December but couldn’t seal the deal. Towers has indicated that Peavy is off the trading block, but given the impending sale of the Padres, they still need to clear salary off the books in order to make any sale more palatable to potential suitors. Moving Peavy at some point this spring or during the 1st half of the 2009 MLB season would accomplish that.
When the Cubs acquired pitcher Garrett Olson from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Felix Pie, many saw that as a sign that the Cubs-Padres talks for Peavy would resume – Towers has mentioned Olson as starting pitcher the Padres would like to have in their rotation. But when the Cubs moved Olson along with Ronny Cedeno to acquire starter/reliever Aaron Heilman, that seemed to quash the Peavy trade rumors once again.
It also raised more questions about Rich Harden’s health. Did the Cubs acquire Heilman, a proven major league pitcher, to off-set the impact of any trip to the disabled list by Harden at the start of the season or at some point during the season? I guess these things will have to play out. Hendry will tell you that it’s always good for a major league team have a deep pitching staff with many different options to turn to as circumstances dictate. But given the Cubs past pitching injury woes with Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, most Cubs fans are always leery of the status of a player’s health when arm troubles appear. Harden has a history of injury, he was held out of starts at the end of the 2008 MLB season to “rest” the arm, and he is not playing in the World Baseball Classic in March because they don’t think he will be fully ready to participate on a regular basis. Do you hear those alarm bells ringing?
It’s great that the Cubs acquired Heilman in order to anticipate an adverse injury situation with Harden, but if that costs the Cubs the ability to land a #1 like Peavy, I seriously question Hendry’s judgment. I’d rather have a starting rotation of Zambrano, Peavy, Dempster, Lilly and than Zambrano, Dempster, Lilly, Marshall and Heilman (assuming Harden can’t go on a regular basis).
In any event, it should be an interesting few months on the north side of Chicago. We’ll keep you abreast of any action as soon as we hear it.
Posted on 11 December 2008 by Lou
It’s official – the Chicago Cubs have pulled out of the Jake Peavy trade rumors.
After mulling over the dollars involved and the number of players that the Padres would get in return for Peavy, Cubs GM Jim Hendry did not think it was in the best interests of the Cubs to make the move. Hendry felt that dealing Mark DeRosa (to the Phillies) and Jason Marquis, Kevin Hart or Felix Pie and the Cubs 2007 #1 draft pick Josh Vitters, was just too much to swallow. Was the whopping $63 million still owed to Peavy a big stumbling point too? We’ll probably never know.
In any event, it’s good to have some closure on the Peavy situation. Now the Cubs can focus on adding that left-handed bat. And remember, the Cubs won 97 games in 2008 – with a rotation of Zambrano, Dempster, Lilly, Harden and Marquis. The Cubs also have great pitching depth with Sean Marshall and Angel Guzman. All 7 of those pitchers will be back in 2009. Keeping the young prospects might also enable the Cubs to pull off a trade before the 2009 trade deadline that could help them advance further in the 2009 playoffs.
Now let’s just hope that Hendry doesn’t stand pat during the entire off-season, or make a bad signing towards the end of the off-season after all the quality players have moved on to greener pastures…
Posted on 09 December 2008 by Lou
It took less than 24 hours for the Jake Peavy-to-Cubs trade rumors to start swirling at the MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Padres GM Kevin Towers has said that the only team he is dealing with is the Chicago Cubs and that he wants to wrap up a deal before the meetings end later this week. Towers likes to conduct negotiations in the open, so he often says things that likely offends other GM’s, including Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Hendry cannot publicly comment on the status of any trade because the Padres own the rights to Peavy and any such statements could be seen as tampering.
Towers statements are probably done for 2 reasons – to try to draw another team into the mix to do a trade on their own or to offer prospects to the Padres in return for a player or players from the Cubs (with Peavy going to the Cubs).
At this point, it doesn’t appear that another team is willing to trade for Peavy on their own.
The Orioles and, most recently, the Phillies, are teams that could get involved to land a Cubs player in return for prospects, which the Cubs would then ship to the Padres. The latest rumor has the Phillies very interested in Mark DeRosa of the Cubs, in return for pitching prospect J.A. Happ and another prospect. Phillies 2nd baseman Chase Utley is expected to miss at least the 1st two months of the season after undergoing hip surgery after the World Series. And the Phillies have also lost left fielder Pat Burrell to free agency. DeRosa could immediately step in to fill the 2nd base void at the start of the season and then move out to the outfield once Utley shows he is healthy enough to play everyday. DeRosa had a career year in 2008 – .285 batting average with 21 home runs and 87 RBI’s. DeRosa has a ton of versatility – he played 6 different positions during the course of the year, including 96 games at 2nd base and 27 games in left field. I loved DeRosa with the Cubs – he is hard working, he can play everyday at multiple positions, and he is a great presence in the locker room. It would hurt to see him go, but if the Cubs could trade DeRosa to acquire the missing pieces needed to complete the Peavy deal, I think it’s a no-brainer. Peavy is an elite pitcher and would make the Cubs the odds-on favorite to win the NL pennant.
That being said, 2 other financial pieces could hold up the Cubs end of the bargain. The Cubs owe starting pitcher Jason Marquis $9.8 million in 2009. Unless they can find a place for Marquis somewhere, it would be tough for them to consummate the Peavy trade. In addition, Peavy is owed over $60 million over the next 4 years. Acquiring Peavy would really throw the Cubs way over budget for the next few years, so the Cubs would likely need to get some approval from the final 3 bidders who recently submitted their final bids for the purchase of the Cubs. Whether all these pieces can come together in such a short period of time is unclear.
In any event, it appears like a Peavy trade is within the grasps of Jim Hendry and the Cubs. Will it get done? Who knows. But more importantly, if it does get done, will it help the Cubs avoid an October collapse for the 3rd straight year. Good luck waiting and we’ll keep you posted here at MyCubsToday.
Posted on 29 November 2008 by Lou
Padres GM Kevin Towers made comments this week that the Cubs and Padres may have identified a 3rd team who could help the Cubs land the much sought-after ace of the Padres, Jake Peavy. The 3rd team was not identified.
Towers is notorious for conducting negotiations through the media, so this should not come as any surprise. Is he trying this tactic to get the Braves or other suitors to up the ante for Peavy, or is there some truth to the statements.
Check out Yahoo’s Peavy Update for the latest on the Cubs chances of getting Jake Peavy.
Posted on 25 November 2008 by Lou
According to Manager Lou Pinella, the Cubs are no longer pursuing San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy for their starting rotation. Click here to check out Pinella’s Thoughts. In addition, Pinella talks about the Cubs focusing on one more experienced reliever for the bullpen and a left-handed bat to hit in the middle of the lineup.
Seeing that Pinella told Waddle and Silvy (of ESPN Radio 1000) last week that he had no idea that the Cubs didn’t plan on re-signing Kerry Wood until Hendry and the Cubs traded for Marlins’ reliever Kevin Gregg, I’m not sure how much Pinella is involved in trade negotiations and personnel decisions. Hendry is usually pretty independent when it comes to his roster moves, but the signing of Ryan Dempster does make it more likely than not that the Cubs aren’t willing to give up the kitchen sink to land Peavy. Stay tuned…
Posted on 21 November 2008 by Lou
With the signing of Ryan Dempster earlier this week, it is unlikely that the Cubs will continue to pursue San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy. The starting rotation is now set with the same 5 starters from the end of last season – Zambrano, Dempster, Lilly, Harden and Marquis. It would be great to add a Peavy to any rotation, even the Cubs, but that would mean moving one of the current starters – most likely Marquis.
Sam Zell has still not settled on a buyer for the Cubs and given the financial crisis being felt all across the world, who knows where final bids will come in at the end of the month. The Cubs also have escalating commitments to current players coming up over the next few years (under contracts with Lee, Ramirez, Soriano and Zambrano), so adding on the $63 million that Peavy is still owed under his current contract through 2012, might not be feasible at this time.
The team still needs to address it’s left-handed hitting void and has limited options available given its current financial constraints and the anticipated 2009 budget. Adding Peavy’s contract to the mix would limit that even more. The Cubs are still trying to get a 3rd team involved to complete a deal for Peavy, but that option seems less and less likely as more time passes by.
My bet – the Braves and Padres eventually come to terms and agree on the right prospects to send Peavy to Atlanta.
Posted on 06 November 2008 by Lou
Here’s your latest Jake Peavy update. It looks like Cubs GM Jim Hendry is going hard after San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy. Hendry is making this a priority over his 2 other important goals – signing free agent pitchers Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood. Hendry has already met with Padres GM Kevin Towers twice during the MLB winter meetings to discuss specific players in the deal. Although it is believed that the Atlanta Braves have a deeper crop of young talent to dangle at Towers, it is also believed that the Braves do not want to part with their top pitching prospect Tommy Hanson. Hendry would likely be willing to part with pitcher Sean Marshall, infielder Ronny Cedeno and outfielder Felix Pie. Each of these players already has MLB experience, but Hendry would probably have to throw in another prospect or 2 to get the deal done with Towers.
Unlike in previous years where trades like this usually occur after the meetings end, Towers has indicated that he wants to move Peavy as soon as possible, maybe even before the winter meetings end. Hendry would be wise to try to set up a 3rd and final meeting very soon. Stay tuned…
Posted on 03 November 2008 by Lou
Let the rumors roll…
MLB Executives are in Dana Point, California this week for the annual winter baseball meetings. Most of the focus is always on the signing of the current year’s crop of free agents. This year, that would include workhorse pitcher CC Sabbathia, the unpredictable Manny Ramirez, young hitter Mark Texiera and reliable starter Derek Lowe. But there are a few others that might be available via the trade.
On the Cubs front, rumor has it that Cubs GM Jim Hendry had a productive golf round with Padres GM Kevin Towers. Hendry and Towers have pulled off trades before, Michael Barrett in 2007 and Greg Maddux in 2006, so it isn’t unusual to see these 2 working the communication hot lines early during the winter meetings. Peavy is a top of the rotation starter for any ball club. Peavy is currently locked up through 2012 with a $60 million contract. The Padres also have a club option for 2013. Peavy has said he would be willing to waive his no trade clause to play for a handful of teams, one of them being the Cubs. The Padres are looking for 3-4 young prospects in return for Peavy. The Atlanta Braves are considered to be the front-runner to land Peavy, because they have been aggressive in their pursuit of him and they have the young prospects to back it up. The Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals have also expressed significant interest, but it doesn’t appear that their systems are as deep as the Braves.
That’s where the Cubs could slide in. The Cubs are focused on signing free agent pitchers Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t consider offers for one of the best pitchers in the game today. Even if the Cubs do sign Dempster, the Cubs could still justify a trade for Peavy given the pains that the Cubs have dealt with recently with injuries to starting pitchers (see Wood and Mark Prior). Peavy has made at least 27 starts and struck out at least 156 batters in each of the last 6 big league seasons. During the last 5 seasons, his ERA has been in the 2’s save for a 4.09 ERA in 2006 and his WHIP hasn’t crept above 1.23. Peavy is a reliable, dependable starter who would fit in perfectly with the current starting rotation of Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Rich Harden and Ted Lilly. The Cubs would likely have to part ways with a Sean Marshall, a Felix Pie, a Ronny Cedeno and maybe even a Jason Marquis (if the Padres were willing to take his salary), but with Peavy locked up for 4 years, it would be worth the cost.
This could negatively affect a potential trade for lead-off hitter Brian Roberts from the Baltimore Orioles, but as they say, pitching and defense win World Series titles.
Stay tuned Cubs fans – -things will sure get interesting over the next few weeks…