What is the Next Move for the Chicago Cubs?

Neil FinnellCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2009

Four days after the Cubs traded Mark DeRosa the Faithful is wondering what, or who, Jim Hendry may have up his sleeve. The Cubs off-season, to this point, has many shaking their heads, including Buster Olney. The Cubs have made some unpopular moves and have not addressed their biggest need going into the winter....a left-handed middle-of-the-order right fielder.

Here's the latest on Milton Bradley, Jake Peavy, Brian Roberts, Rich Aurilia and more....

Milton Bradley

The Cubs appear set to officially sign Milton Bradley in the coming weeks...remember the Cubs Convention is in less than two weeks. Bruce Levine reported on Saturday morning that he is hearing $8 or $9 million a year for Bradley while Lee Hamilton (XM Radio) on Saturday afternoon reported the Cubs offer for Bradley is 3 years and $24 million. Hamilton is hearing Bradley is looking for 5 years and $50 million (note, Hamilton is the first to report a deal for Bradley of that length and dollar amount....most are reporting Bradley is seeking a 3-year, $30 million dollar deal.)

Ryan Dempster would welcome Milton Bradley to the Cubs according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

Jason Marquis

Bruce Levine is expecting the Jason Marquis trade to the Rockies to be made official on Sunday or Monday. A report last week indicated Marquis is currently out of the country and once he returns and takes a physical, the deal will be announced.... the MLB front office returns from the holiday break on Monday, January 5th.

Jake Peavy

Bruce Levine reported the players the Cubs received in the Mark DeRosa trade would allow them to make another run at Jake Peavy. Levine is convinced Jake Peavy is back on the Cubs radar. He added the recent announcement that Jeff Moorad is near a deal to buy the Padres from John Moores will not affect them dealing Jake Peavy.

Levine is hearing Josh Vitters, Jeff Stevens, Welington Castillo and Kevin Hart would go to San Diego in return for Jake Peavy. Levine thinks there is an 80% chance that the Peavy deal to the Cubs will get done.

Levine stuck to his reports last week that the Cubs new ownership will have to be in place for the Cubs to trade for Peavy and add his contract. He thinks the new owner could be in place in the next month.

Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts may or may not be on the Cubs radar once again but he is not headed to the South Side for Gavin Floyd according to Bruce Levine. Levine shot down the rumor that was reported by Roch Kubatko on Friday night. He said there is no way the White Sox are trading away Gavin Floyd for Brian Roberts.

Levine added Roberts would be a one-year rental and Floyd is a year away from being arbitration eligible....beside the fact he won 17 games last season.

Talkin' Baseball closed on Saturday morning with Levine confirming from one of his sources that the talk about the Sox trading Gavin Floyd to the Orioles for Brian Roberts "is a load of crap."

Rich Aurilia

Dave Kaplan mentioned on Friday night that the Cubs are talking to the agent for Rich Aurilia. Apparently the Cubs are interested in signing the veteran to back-up first base and third base.

Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno and the Farm System

One of the many topics discussed on Talkin' Baseball were the futures of Felix Pie and Ronny Cedeno with the Cubs. Bruce Levine is not quite sure either will be on the team and both will probably be involved in trade talks for the next two weeks and could be dealt....Levine added Aaron Miles will backup Ryan Theriot at shortstop once Ronny Cedeno is traded.

Oneri Fleita joined Levine and Chet Coppock in the first hour. He still feels confident Felix Pie will put it together at the Major League level. With Pie being out of options and Joey Gathright on the roster, Pie must pick up in the spring where he left off in winter ball in order to make the Cubs roster....if he's not dealt.

Fleita was asked about if the Cubs have any players in the system that could be surprises in 2009. Fleita mentioned Jeff Stevens, Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo, Andrew Cashner and Esmailin Caridad. He added that Josh Vitters is by far the best natural hitter in the Cubs system.

Fleita briefly discussed the three pitchers they received from the Indians for Mark DeRosa. He said all three projects to be big league pitchers one day and added the Cubs needed to replenish the farm system after losing Sean Gallagher, Donald Veal and Jose Ceda in the last year.

Late Inning Defensive Replacements

The Cubs are concentrating on defense, as well as offense this winter. Many questioned the signing of Joey Gathright (and most still do) but Bruce Levine brought up an intriguing scenario on Talkin' Baseball.

The Cubs see Gathright being a late inning defensive replacement in centerfield which would allow them to move Kosuke Fukudome to right field on the days he is starting in center. The Reed Johnson-Kosuke Fukudome platoon appears to be the option the Cubs will go with in the early innings. Then Lou Piniella will turn to defensive replacements late in the game.

Will Alfonso Soriano be replaced as well by Reed Johnson?

Well, that's the latest....and I'm sticking to it!