According to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs are "working to sign" Kenny Lofton to play center field. Rogers was quoting a Major League source in the article.
Should Julio Lugo opt for the Mets or Red Sox, the Cubs are basically left with Lofton as the only reasonable free agent center fielder. The backup plan appears to be using Alfonso Soriano there.
I think Lofton is a fine idea for the Cubs; I thought so last year too. You get a decent OBP on a one-year deal. Lofton’s defense doesn’t impress at this point, and 130 games is a stretch, but it’s a smart low-risk move. The oft-touted Felix Pie will be 22 next season; he could learn as Lofton’s backup and won’t be blocked when he’s ready.
There’s also a nostalgia factor – Lofton played center for the Cubs when they last had a decent team in 2003.
Importing a center fielder would make Matt Murton or Jacque Jones the odd man out. With Murton playing for cheap and posting a .319/.390/.522 second half, it would be hard to part with him.
If the Cubs were to attempt to find a CF via trade, here are some possibilities: Rocco Baldelli, Eric Byrnes, Ryan Freel, Aaron Rowand, Willy Taveras, or Reggie Willits.
UPDATE: The link above is dead; it’s been replaced with this one. There is no mention of Lofton in it, for some reason.
In addition, this article from MLB.com says that Jim Hendry has yet to meet with Ted Lilly’s agent and does not intend to trade Murton. The idea of moving Jones to center is mentioned.