4:50pm: The Pirates' return of Hart, Ascanio, and Harrison is confirmed by a press release from the Cubs. Gorzelanny will head to Triple A Iowa. The Pirates keep adding arms; I guess this means they like Hart more than Gorzelanny.
4:47pm: ESPN Chicago says the Cubs sent pitchers Kevin Hart and Jose Ascanio to Pittsburgh for Grabow and Gorzelanny. Ed Price, via Twitter, says the Cubs are also sending third baseman Josh Harrison.
4:43pm: Finally a possible name as part of the package going to Pittsburgh. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, via Twitter, hears pitching prospect Jay Jackson may be in the deal. Jackson, a starting pitcher, was a ninth-round pick last year and ranked ninth on Baseball America's list of Cubs prospects.
3:22pm: Via Twitter, Kovacevic says Grabow and Gorzelanny to the Cubs is almost or "just about" done, while Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times says they closed the deal for Grabow. ESPNChicago's Jon Greenberg says the Cubs are "in the process of finalizing" the deal for Grabow. Heyman terms the deal for both hurlers as "very close."
Gorzelanny, who is from Evergreen Park, IL, has a 2.48 ERA in 15 Triple A starts this year. He won 14 games in the bigs in '07, but was derailed by back, shoulder, and finger problems in '08. We still don't know what the Pirates will get back in this deal, but it ought to be something decent.
2:56pm: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Cubs and Pirates are discussing a deal that would send Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny to Chicago. No deal is in place and other teams remain interested in Grabow.
2:21pm: Heyman (via Twitter) thinks the Cubs are getting closer on Grabow, and could acquire another pitcher as well.
1:27pm: SI's Jon Heyman says the Cubs and Pirates are in "serious discussions" about Grabow.
10:51am: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports say the Cubs prefer Pittsburgh's John Grabow over Washington's Joe Beimel, and they continue to discuss the lefty reliever with the Pirates. The FOX report suggests the Cubs will stay internal for their Reed Johnson replacement.
Grabow currently ranks as a Type A free agent in the wacky world of Elias, but for his team to have a chance at draft picks they'd have to offer him arbitration and risk paying him more than $2.3MM if he accepts.
9:02am: The Cubs are looking for a left-handed hitter who can play right field, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. While they're not optimistic about a deal, the plan would be to create a platoon with the disappointing Milton Bradley. Wittenmyer says the Cubs have about $2-3MM of payroll room to work with.
Two players on the radar: Mark Teahen of the Royals and Jeremy Hermida of the Marlins. The Royals are looking for a center fielder in return, however. Teahen has $1.37MM left on his contract. Hermida has $847K remaining. Both players can be under team control through 2011. Either player would still leave some wiggle room for the Cubs to acquire a left-handed reliever.