Cubs To Make Run At Sheets

TUESDAY, 11:50am:'s Carrie Muskat tweets that Cubs officials say Sheets' current asking price does not fit their budget.  Sheets' agent Casey Close could stand to do a better job controlling the information on his client, because the reports of a $10-12MM demand make him look bad.  Muskat says the Cubs are still looking for right-handed relief.

MONDAY, 8:58pm: As Ken Rosenthal guessed last week, the Chicago Cubs are set to make a run at free agent pitcher Ben Sheets, the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan reports.

According to Sullivan, Cubs GM Jim Hendry contacted Sheets' agent during the Winter Meetings. Sheets is reportedly asking for two years and a guaranteed $10-12MM per year, though the Cubs believe "they have a good shot at landing him with an incentive-laden deal."  MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone believes Sheets is aiming for a second-year player option.

Sullivan sees Sheets slotting in nicely in front of Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly in the Chicago rotation, with Randy Wells and newly-acquired Carlos Silva also serving as starting options.  With Lilly coming off of arthroscopic shoulder surgery, and little recent success from Silva, it is hard to imagine the Cubs want to roll the dice with Sheets. However, they did acquire Rich Harden in July 2008, so high-risk, high-reward pitchers may just be how the Cubs roll.

Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.

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