Sam Fuld Rumors
MLBTR is launching a new series entitled "Transaction Retrospection" in which we'll take a look back on trades that have taken place to see how the players involved -- including low-level minor leaguers -- have fared in new settings and how the involved teams have been impacted. Last week looked at the Josh Reddick trade, but remember that you can look back on other trades using MLBTR's Transaction Tracker.
Matt Garza has been involved in his share of high-profile moves. Since being drafted 25th overall by the Twins out of Fresno State in 2005, Garza has switched organizations in two marquee deals, and he once again finds himself as a trade candidate. He's been with the Cubs for a little more than two calendar years, but it seems like longer given the amount of trade rumors which constantly contain his name.
On January 8, 2011, the Rays traded Garza to the Cubs along with Fernando Perez and Zach Rosscup in exchange for prospects Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Robinson Chirinos and Brandon Guyer as well as outfielder Sam Fuld. Let's go player-by-player to see how it's all turned out...
The Major League Side
- Matt Garza: Garza immediately became one of the Cubs' best pitchers following the trade, and he showed it off with arguably the best season of his career. In 2011, Garza tallied 198 innings and established career-bests in ERA (3.32), K/9 (8.95) and HR/9 (0.64). He continued to display strong command and took a step toward establishing himself as an ace-caliber pitcher. Fangraphs pegged his value at a lofty 4.9 wins above replacement. His 2012 effort was derailed by a stress reaction in his pitching elbow after just 103 2/3 innings, however, which is likely the main reason that he wasn't traded at the deadline last July. While his elbow appears to be healed, Garza recently suffered a lat strain while facing live hitters and now stands to miss the first month of the 2013 season. Needless to say, that jeopardizes his No. 9 ranking on Tim Dierkes' free agent power rankings, but if he returns healthy and pitches well he's a midseason trade candidate.
- Sam Fuld: Fuld's time in Tampa Bay got off to an incredible start, hitting .289/.358/.433 in the month of April. His defensive play, clutch hitting and surprising production spawned the Twitter hashtag "#LegendOfSamFuld," and the 29-year-old developed a cult following. He hit just .218/.292/.327 the rest of the way, however, and didn't improve in 107 plate appearances last season. He's competing for a roster spot with Tampa Bay once again this Spring.
The Minor League Side
- Chris Archer: Archer came to the Rays as an erratic 22-year-old with an electric fastball. He still battles command issues, but he's progressed enough to rank as the game's No. 36 prospect according to Baseball America and No. 46 according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. BA writes that his fastball sits 92-96 mph and is one of two "well above-average" pitches, the other being a devastating hard slider with "hard, cutting tilt and impressive depth." Mayo prefers Archer's fastball but echoes that both pitches can be plus at the MLB level. The two outlets agree that Archer's change-up development will be what determines if he's able to pan out as a top- or middle-of-the-rotation starter. Archer did make his MLB debut in 2012, firing 29 1/3 innings and whiffing 36 batters.
- Hak-Ju Lee: Lee is ranked 90th in the game by BA and 56th by Mayo, good for fourth and fifth in the Rays' system, respectively. Mayo writes that defensively, the Korean-born shortstop is more than MLB-ready right now, but he needs more time to develop his line-drive swing. His plus speed is an asset which both Mayo and BA agree upon. Both think he'll be a legitimate base-stealing threat, even if his lack of home-run power limits his overall upside a bit. Lee offers an opposite-field approach at the plate but needs to develop a more patient approach. He stole 37 bases in 46 tries as part of a .261/.336/.360 season at Double-A in 2012.
- Robinson Chirinos: A catcher by trade, Chirinos came to the Rays having ranked as the Cubs' No. 10 prospect according to BA. He regressed in 2011, however, hitting just .259/.343/.376 in 319 plate appearances -- a vast departure from 2010's .326/.416/.583 line. Chirinos had a chance to make the Rays last Spring, but suffered a concussion that prevented him from playing a single game in the minors or Majors. He's with the team again in Spring Training this season, but his stock has obviously fallen.
- Brandon Guyer: Guyer entered the 2012 season as the Rays' No. 11 prospect according to BA, thanks largely to the .312/.384/.521 triple slash line the outfielder posted at Triple-A in 2011. BA praised his combination of speed and power as well as his throwing arm, noting that he profiled nicely in right field but could handle center field as well. Guyer earned a call-up in early May, but disaster struck after just three games; he suffered a labrum tear that would end his season before he was able to back up his minor league promise.
- Fernando Perez: Perez wasn't thought of as much of a prospect at the time of the trade, and indeed he never cracked the Cubs' big league roster. After hitting just .238/.312/.337 through 76 games for the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate, he was released. Perez latched on with the Mets, but fared even worse in 40 games for Triple-A Buffalo, hitting .188/.298/.250. He didn't play in affiliated ball last season.
- Zach Rosscup: Rosscup hasn't cracked one of BA's Top 30 prospect lists for either team, nor has he appeared on one of Mayo's Top 20 lists. Now 24 years old, the southpaw suffered an arm injury midway through a promising 2011 season (2.54 ERA, 9.1 K/9). Upon returning in late 2012, he worked his way to Double-A and showed mixed results. Rosscup whiffed 29 batters in 22 1/3 innings at Double-A but also walked 19 and posted a 4.84 ERA. His 3.87 FIP showed more promise, and he'll likely open the 2013 season at that level.
The Rays have made a habit out of competing in one of baseball's toughest divisions despite having one of baseball's lowest payrolls, and trades like this are a large factor in that success. Executive VP of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman dealt from a position of strength to acquire a host of prospects -- two of which have developed into Top 100 prospects and two of which had their promising offensive potential limited by unforeseeable injuries. The Garza trade also paved the way for Jeremy Hellickson to join Tampa Bay's rotation and win 2011 AL Rookie of the Year honors.
The Cubs, meanwhile, got just the pitcher they were hoping for in Garza, but he too has been slowed by the injury bug. Garza would fit nicely atop Chicago's rebuilt rotation if he can return quickly, and he could net the team prospects this July if pitching well. Garza could also yield a first-round pick in 2014 if he turns down a qualifying offer, but his recent rash of injuries makes that a dicey proposition, as even the healthy Kyle Lohse has struggled to find a home due to his ties to draft pick compensation.
It's too early to say if one side got the better of this trade at this point, as Tampa Bay has yet to receive much value at the Major League level. However, the Rays seem to have positioned themselves for future success by moving a player when his value was near its peak.
Baseball America's 2013 Prospect Handbook was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Dozens of players will agree to terms with their respective teams today and avoid arbitration. We'll have detailed posts on the top earners around MLB, and we'll track more modest agreements -- those worth less than $4MM -- right here. MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will have all of the details.
Teams had until 12pm CDT today to exchange filing numbers with their arbitration eligible players. Generally speaking the deadline creates lots of discussion and leads to early deals. Plus, for ‘file and trial’ teams this marks the final chance for negotiations in advance of a hearing. Here are the latest agreements from around MLB...
- The Padres announced that they have avoided arbitration with Edinson Volquez. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- The Red Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Andrew Bailey ($4.1MM), Daniel Bard ($1.8625MM), Andrew Miller ($1.475MM), and Franklin Morales ($1.4875MM). Terms courtesy of WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- The Mets and Bobby Parnell avoided arb with a $1.7MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Alfredo Aceves, agreeing to a deal worth $2.65MM plus incentives, according to O'Connell Sports Management, Aceves' agency (on Twitter via Jon Heyman).
- The Cubs avoided arbitration with James Russell and Jeff Samardzija, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). Samardzija obtains $2.64MM while Russell gets $1.075MM, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Diamondbacks announced that they avoided arbitration with Chris Johnson ($2.2875MM). The team also avoided arbitration with Brad Ziegler ($3.15MM), agreeing to a one-year deal, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter). Terms courtesy of Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
- The Nationals announced that they agreed to terms with Tyler Clippard, avoiding arbitration (via Amanda Comak on Twitter). The Nationals avoided arbitration with Ian Desmond, agreeing to a one-year, $3.8MM deal, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports (on Twitter). The Nationals also avoided arb with Roger Bernadina according to the outfielder's agent, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). The Nationals and Ross Detwiler agreed to a one-year, $2.3375MM contract, according to CAA (via Twitter).
- Brennan Boesch and Phil Coke avoided arbitration, agreeing to one-year deals with the Tigers, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Boesch will earn $2.3MM while Coke will earn $1.85MM. The Tigers also avoided arbitration with Alex Avila, agreeing to a one-year, $2.95MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (all Twitter links). Austin Jackson agreed to a deal worth $3.5MM for 2013, Heyman reports. Doug Fister obtained a one-year, $4MM deal from Detroit, Heyman reports.
- The Dodgers and A.J. Ellis avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $2MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ronald Belisario agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports (on Twitter).
- The Mariners announced that they avoided arbitration with Kendrys Morales and Brendan Ryan on one-year agreements for 2013. Morales will obtain $5.25MM plus performance bonuses, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ryan obtained $3.25MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- The Rockies avoided arb with Tyler Colvin, agreeing to a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Colvin will earn $2.275MM, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes (on Twitter).
- The Braves avoided arbitration with Cristhian Martinez, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter). The Braves avoided arb with Kris Medlen, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports (on Twitter). Medlen will earn $2.6MM in 2013. They also avoided arb with Jason Heyward, agreeing to a one-year, $3.65MM deal, Bowman reports (onTwitter). The Braves agreed with another young player, avoiding arb with Jonny Venters, O'Brien reports (on Twitter). It's a $1.625MM deal. Earlier today the Braves agreed to a one-year deal with Eric O'Flaherty, avoiding arbitration, Bowman reported (on Twitter). He'll earn $4.32MM plus awards bonuses, Bowman adds.
- The Athletics announced they avoided arb with Jerry Blevins and Brandon Moss, agreeing to one-year deals for 2013.
- The Cardinals avoided arb with Mitchell Boggs and Edward Mujica, B.J. Rains of FOX Sports MidWest reports (on Twitter).
- The Indians announced that they avoided arb with Matt Albers and Justin Masterson. Albers will earn $1.75MM in 2013, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter). Masterson will earn $5.6875MM according to Bastian (on Twitter). The Indians and Joe Smith avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.15MM deal, Bastian reported earlier today (on Twitter). The Indians also avoided arbitration with Lou Marson, Bastian reports (Twitter links). The catcher will earn $1MM on a one-year deal in 2013.
- The Astros avoided arb with Wesley Wright, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports (on Twitter). Wright will earn $1.025MM, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Earlier today the Astros and Bud Norris avoided arb with a one-year, $3MM deal, McTaggart reports (on Twitter). The Astros and Jed Lowrie avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.4MM deal with awards bonuses, according to his representatives at CAA Baseball (on Twitter).
- The White Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Alejandro De Aza, agreeing to a $2.075MM deal for 2013. The White Sox also avoided arb with Gordon Beckham, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.925MM for 2013, MLBTR has learned.
- The Orioles announced that they avoided arb with Chris Davis and Brian Matusz (Twitter link). Matusz gets a base salary of $1.6MM while Davis gets $3.3MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links). The Orioles also avoided arbitration with Troy Patton. The sides agreed to a one-year, $815K deal, his agency, CAA Sports, announced on Twitter.
- The Brewers avoided arb with right-hander Marco Estrada and reliever Burke Badenhop, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Estrada will earn $1.955MM while Badenhop will earn $1.55MM, Haudricourt reports.
- The Rays avoided arbitration with Matthew Joyce and Ryan Roberts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). Joyce will earn $2.45MM and Roberts will earn $2.95MM plus incentives, the Rays announced. The Rays also avoided arbitration with Sam Fuld, agreeing to a one-year, $725K deal, Topkin reported (on Twitter). Earlier today the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeff Niemann. The sides agreed to a one-year, $3MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Royals announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Hochevar, agreeing to a one-year deal for 2013. Hochevar will earn $4.56MM plus performance bonuses, Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter).
- The Yankees avoided arb with Boone Logan, agreeing to a one-year, $3.15MM deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Padres avoided arb with John Baker, agreeing to a $930K deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Twins and Brian Duensing avoided arb with a $1.3MM deal for 2013 (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Marlins avoided arbitration with Ryan Webb, agreeing to a $975K deal, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays announced that they avoided arbitration with Emilio Bonifacio by agreeing to a one-year, $2.6MM deal. The Blue Jays also announced that they avoided arbitration with J.A. Happ, agreeing to a one-year, $3.7MM deal for 2013.
- The Angels and Tommy Hanson avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.725MM deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.
- The Giants avoided arb with Gregor Blanco, agreeing to a one-year, $1.35MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Phillies announced that they avoided arbitration with Antonio Bastardo with a $1.4MM contract for 2013.
- Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have reached agreement on a one-year, $1.75MM deal plus bonuses to avoid arbitration, according to the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter).
Players with at least two years and 139 days of service time will be eligible for the potentially lucrative arbitration process this offseason, according to the Associated Press (via FOXNews.com). The top 22% of players with between two and three years of MLB service qualify for arbitration under baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement.
Nationals reliever Drew Storen, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Mets catcher Josh Thole, Rays outfielder Sam Fuld, Rockies outfielder Tyler Colvin and Diamondbacks third baseman Chris Johnson are all eligible.
Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders missed the cutoff by one day. Others, including Justin Smoak, Danny Valencia, Michael Brantley, Jordan Schafer, Giancarlo Stanton, Stephen Strasburg, Daniel Hudson, Dan Runzler, Andrew Cashner, Alex Burnett, Esmil Rogers and Alexi Ogando, came close to super two status without reaching the threshold.
Super two status entitles certain players to four years of arbitration eligibility, rather than the usual three. As a result, players who earn the super two designation generally earn more than their peers. The cutoff would have been two years and 144 days under baseball’s previous collective bargaining agreement, according to the AP. In previous years the top 17% of players with between two and three years of MLB service qualified. The players and owners agreed to a new system last fall.
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark breaks down the possible implications of expanded playoffs before providing some rumblings from around the league. Here they are:
- Even though Kevin Millwood has won both of his minor league starts and posted a 1.29 ERA, scouts say he doesn’t look very good. Millwood, whose fastball is averaging 85 mph, can opt out of his contact with the Yankees this Sunday.
- Rival teams are eyeing the Nationals’ catching depth, but they’re finding that after missing two seasons with labrum surgery, Jesus Flores isn’t ready.
- Sam Fuld has become an important piece for the Rays, but the Cubs expected to move him last offseason, according to Stark. Fuld had a history of getting injured, was behind Kosuke Fukudome and Tyler Colvin on the depth chart and was out of options and when the Cubs sent him to the Rays.
Now, of course, everybody has heard of Fuld and his 156 OPS+ this season. While it is unlikely to continue, Fuld provides a feel-good story that exceeds whatever goodwill the Rays would have received from a Ramirez renaissance. The Rays could still make a move to add offensive production, and I wanted to take a closer look at how teams filled unexpected non-injury losses.
The Ramirez loss brought back to mind the last time Manny's drug issues left his employer short-handed. The year was 2009. Barack Obama was President of the United States. America's television networks were overrun by reality shows. And suddenly, baseball was Manny-less for 50 games.
Stepping into Manny's shoes was Juan Pierre in left field. During Ramirez's suspension, Pierre managed a .318/.381/.411 line, solid production at the position. Overall, his 104 OPS+ was the second-highest of his career. He wasn't Manny, but he kept the Dodgers on pace for 95 wins and a division title. It was not the disaster many feared.
The stakes were very different back in 1989, when an aging Mike Schmidt unexpectedly retired on May 28th with a season line of .203/.297/.372. Hopes had been high for Schmidt to regain his Hall of Fame form after a down 1988, but 172 plate appearances in, Schmidt acknowledged that he simply wasn't the same player anymore.
With internal options Chris James and Randy Ready stretched as everyday third basemen, the Phillies made a deal three weeks later, trading Steve Bedrosian and Rick Parker to the Giants for Charlie Hayes, Terry Mulholland and Dennis Cook. Hayes provided an OPS+ of 93 as the regular third baseman, around where Schmidt was when he called it quits.
The move helped Philadelphia eventually win the National League in 1993, along with a second deal that day with the Mets to bring Lenny Dykstra into the fold. At the time, however, it was the Charlie Hayes trade, and Hayes left the Philadelphia fans disappointed, both because Schmidt was impossible to replace, and because the Phillies finished 67-95.
The fill-ins for Thurman Munson back in 1979 didn't live up to even Charlie Hayes production. Munson, who died in a plane crash in August 1979, left the Yankees with a pair of catchers: Jerry Narron and Brad Gulden. While Munson's contributions extended beyond his OPS+ of 95, Narron and Gulden couldn't approach that, Narron checking in at 44, Gulden at 23. For reference, 1979 NL Cy Young Award winner Bruce Sutter, a relief pitcher, had an OPS+ of 49. The Yankees finished at 89-71, good for fourth in a tremendous AL East.
Speaking of ex-Yankees, anyone who saw the John Goodman vehicle "The Babe" knows that Ruth hit three home runs, then retired from the Boston Braves in 1935. (Left out of the film are the five games that followed, but then my problems with that movie could fill a whole other column.) Ruth finally retired on May 30, in circumstances quite similar to Schmidt's. Ruth's .181/.359/.431 line was still good for an OPS+ of 118, down just a bit from his career mark of 206 (author's note: ZOMG), but well ahead of his replacements in left and right field. Both Hal Lee (96 OPS+) and Tommy Thompson (95 OPS+) failed to reach league-average at the position. And if you think that's bad, Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville, a 43-year-old teammate of Ruth's on the 1935 Braves, put up an OPS+ of... 2. And he stayed for the whole season, a glorious 38-115 campaign.
So rest assured, Sam Fuld may come down from his 156 OPS+ perch. But the Rays are likely to best the 1935 Braves, no matter how badly Fuld slumps.
It was on this day in 1959 that Cubs right-hander Glen Hobbie, then 23, took a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Cardinals. The great Stan Musial broke up Hobbie's bid for immortality with a two-out double in the seventh -- the only hit Hobbie would allow to Chicago's arch-rivals in a complete game gem.
Let's look at some items from both Hobbie's old team and their South Side brethren...
- The Cubs aren't looking to deal Marlon Byrd, reports Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald. Miles also looks at some of the Cubs' top prospects.
- With Sam Fuld off to a hot start in Tampa Bay, some fans are wondering why the Cubbies couldn't have held onto the young outfielder rather than include him in the Matt Garza trade package. As part of a mailbag, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat explains that Fuld was out of options and, had he remained in Chicago, he wouldn't have received much playing time in the crowded Cubs outfield.
- Carlos Zambrano tells CSNChicago.com's David Kaplan that a proposed worldwide amateur draft would favor American-born prospects over Latin American prospects. "I think a worldwide draft would be bad for the kids from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela because we are late developers. We don't have little league or a system of organized baseball to help us learn the game," Zambrano said. "When I was a kid we played maybe once a week, that's it. If kids from my country were drafted and then didn't develop quickly enough they wouldn't be around long."
- Also from Kaplan, up to 65% (roughly $24MM) of Jake Peavy's remaining salary could be covered by an insurance policy. This could give the White Sox some financial room to acquire another pitcher. Barry Axelrod, Peavy's agent, tells Kaplan that it is much more difficult for teams to get insurance on multiyear pitching contracts today than it was for San Diego in 2009. Peavy has yet to pitch in 2011 due to his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, and is tentatively scheduled to return to the Sox rotation by mid-May.
- Despite his team's seven-game losing streak, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen isn't worried about being on the hot seat, reports MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
Does anybody else think that Brian Roberts' agent fuels 90% of these rumors just so his client's name is kept in the news? Me neither...Now that we have gotten the obligatory Roberts reference out of the way, let's move on to some trades/signings that might actually happen in the near future. The biggest of course is the recent news that talks may be heating up with the Red Sox to move Coco Crisp. So far we know that the Sox are not interested in Jason Marquis or Sam Fuld and the Padres may only be having internal discussions at this point (although one writer does not see the Padres as serious suitors). Let's take a look at what is being written about Crisp and a few others in the Blogosphere...
If there is a topic you would like to see covered in "Baseball Blogs Weigh In" please let me know HERE.
- Red Sox News doesn't like the rumored offer of Jason Marquis and Sam Fuld for Crisp. More likely they believe a package of Josh Donaldson and either Bobby Howry or Carmen Pignatiello could be accepted by the Sox.
- Boston Sports Buzz sees Crisp as a nice solution for the Padres, since they currently employ one utility player and two injuries-waiting-to-happen in the outfield while lacking a legitimate leadoff hitter.
- El Guapo's Ghost also sees the Padres as the logical destination for Crisp, noting that prospect Kyle Blanks may be expendable for the Pads and fill the vacancy of power-hitting prospects in the Red Sox organization.
- Hire Jim Essian is not too keen on Crisp, so they are rooting hard for Felix Pie to play well and keep "punching the baseball in its stupid face."
- Goat Riders is not crazy about Crisp playing center for the Cubbies, but prefer him to the alternatives.
- Right Field Bleachers notes that the Brewers may trade Chris Capuano before Opening Day as he needs a change of scenery and he still has some value on the market. They do not see the Red Sox as a good match since the Brew Crew does not need a center fielder (i.e. Crisp).
- Rockin' the Red laments the loss of another starting pitcher and acknowledges that it is time to look outside the organization for help. They would rather the Cardinals sign Kyle Lohse as opposed to Jeff Weaver.
- Viva El Birdos would also prefer Lohse to any other outside options, and would opt for in-house options if Lohse is not signed.
Coco Crisp may be on the Cubs' wish list, but neither Jason Marquis nor Sam Fuld will be enough to get a deal done with the Red Sox. Diffusing the rumblings from earlier today, Nick Cafardo in the Boston Globe is reporting tonight that the Sox aren't particularly interested in either player.
"If the Cubs were to talk trade with the Red Sox," he says, "it would have to be for a different set of names - either prospects or bullpen help."
Last Sunday, I discussed how either Chicago ballclub were good suitors for Coco Crisp. Today, Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun Times is reporting the Cubs interest do indeed lie with the web gem specialist, Crisp.
"With only one other lefty bat in the lineup (right fielder Kosuke Fukudome), the Cubs hoped to get a secondary lefty near the bottom of the order while assuring a good glove in center from their top two near-ready outfield prospects. While Hendry's attempt to trade for Rangers outfielder Marlon Byrd was meant to provide a right-handed complement to the center-field winner, the focus now appears to be on Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp, a switch hitter who could start in center and bat near the top of the order."
Nothing substantial has come our way yet; however, Coco, who is slated to make only $4.75MM in '08 and $5.75MM in '09 with an $8MM club option for '10, would be a very good fit for the Cubs and provide more time for Felix Pie to blossom under less stress. Wittenmeyer confidently predicts,
"The Cubs will trade for a veteran outfielder to start in center, and one of [Pie or Sam Fuld] will open the season on the bench, the other in the minors."
However, Covelli Loyce Crisp still needs to bring his average back up to be the lead-off guy the Cubs are seeking - his inability to do so is a big reason the Red Sox will, by all accounts, part ways.
By Nat Boyle
The Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer already has his Wednesday column up for review.
- Wittenmyer still thinks Kosuke Fukudome is going to be much more expensive than anyone originally thought. Could the bidding reach $40MM over three years?
- If the Cubs can't go Fukudome they will turn to Raul Ibanez. They might offer Sean Marshall for him. They'd only have to endure a year of Ibanez butchering right field.
- Jim Hendry debunked a Jeff Blair report that the Cubs want to move Ryan Dempster.
- The Cubs have no intention of trading Felix Pie or Sam Fuld, not that there had been any recent rumors.