Wanted: A Cost-Effective Innings Eater for the Chicago Cubs

Neil FinnellCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2009

Jim Hendry recently stated, "We're just trying to make the club better, which I think we are." Whether or not the team that posted 97 wins a year ago is better in the first week of January on paper is up for debate.

Reportedly Jim Hendry will look for another arm to add to the rotation at a lower salary than Jason Marquis' between now and Feb. 14 when pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park. Hendry could turn to internal options such as Sean Marshall or Chad Gaudin or to "long shot" Jeff Samardzija as he was described on Tuesday.

Here is a complete list of the starting pitchers still on the market and a few rumblings from the mill....


The Long, Cold Confusing Winter of 2008-2009

The Cubs have made several questionable moves this offseason, most notably choosing to let Kerry Wood walk and trading away Mark DeRosa. While both were fan favorites, once the fan-goggles are removed both players played big roles in the team's success last season and were leaders in the clubhouse.

The Cubs agreed to a contract with Milton Bradley on Monday and the terms of the deal and the signing are expected to be finalized later in the week. Jim Hendry made the Jason Marquis trade official on Tuesday.

And while Marquis drove many of the Faithful, and at times his manager, crazy...at least he took the ball every fifth day without fail.

Many think Luis Vizcaino could be flipped in another deal and will not throw a pitch for the Chicago Cubs. Again, Marquis and his robust salary should have been traded but what the Cubs received in exchange was a questionable reliever that might have trouble making the team.

  • Oct. 31 - Declined the 2009 option on Henry Blanco
  • Nov. 13 - Acquired Kevin Gregg from the Marlins for Jose Ceda
  • Nov. 18 - Re-Signed Ryan Dempster to a four-year contract
  • Nov. 19 - Added Mitch Atkins, Justin Berg and Marcos Mateo to the 40-man roster
  • Dec. 3 - Signed Chad Fox to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training
  • Dec. 11 - The Pirates picked Donald Veal in the Rule 5 Draft
  • Dec. 11 - Acquired David Patton from the Reds (Rule 5 Draft) for Cash
  • Dec. 12 - Avoided arbitration and agreed to one-year contracts with Chad Gaudin, Neal Cotts and Reed Johnson
  • Dec. 16 - Signed Joey Gathright to a one-year deal
  • Dec. 31 - Signed Aaron Miles to a two-year contract
  • Dec. 31 - Traded Mark DeRosa to the Indians for Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub
  • Jan. 5 - Agreed to terms with Milton Bradley
  • Jan. 6 - Traded Jason Marquis to the Rockies for Luis Vizcaino

A report from Dugout Central pointed toward desperation as the reason the Cubs have more than just 'tweaked the roster' this winter.


Available Arms

If the Cubs do not attempt to revisit the talks with the Padres over Jake Peavy once the ownership transition is concluded, Jim Hendry will either have to pick from the list below or try to swing a deal with another team. Here is a complete list from Cot's Contracts on the starting pitchers still on the free-agent market.....

  • Mario Alvarez
  • Matt Belisle
  • Kris Benson
  • Paul Byrd
  • Shawn Chacon
  • Bartolo Colon
  • Shawn Estes
  • Josh Fogg
  • Freddy Garcia
  • Jon Garland
  • Tom Glavine
  • Charles Haeger
  • Livan Hernandez
  • Orlando Hernandez
  • Chuck James
  • Jason Jennings
  • Byung-Hyun Kim
  • Jon Lieber
  • Esteban Loaiza
  • Braden Looper
  • Derek Lowe
  • Pedro Martinez
  • Mark Mulder
  • Russ Ortiz
  • John Patterson
  • Odalis Perez
  • Oliver Perez
  • Andy Pettitte
  • Sidney Ponson
  • Mark Prior
  • Tim Redding
  • Mark Redman
  • Kenny Rogers
  • Curt Schilling
  • Ben Sheets
  • John Smoltz
  • Josh Towers
  • Steve Trachsel
  • Jeff Weaver
  • Kip Wells
  • Randy Wolf
  • Jamey Wright


Brian Roberts

According to a report from Jon Heyman on SI.com, the talks between the White Sox and the Orioles over Brian Roberts have "stalled over Baltimore's request for at least one player in addition to Gavin Floyd." The Orioles wanted another player thrown in for one year of Brian Roberts as mentioned on Friday.

Brian Roberts is a tremendous leadoff hitter and would be great at the top of Lou Piniella's lineup. With that said, the Orioles and Peter Angelos have overvalued him. Their price tag will end up costing their organization young players that could help them build for the future.


Phil Rogers on The Baseball Beat

Phil Rogers joined Charley Steiner on XM Radio Tuesday afternoon.....here are a few of the highlights:

  • Rogers said Milton Bradley received a bigger deal than he thought he would receive
  • Not sure if it is a good deal for the Cubs
  • Rogers is concerned about Bradley's health and defense
  • Not sure if he likes the signing of Bradley but understands why the Cubs did it
  • Talked about "The Countdown to Miltdown"
  • The Cubs are counting on Gerald Perry's relationship with Bradley
  • The Cubs are not worried about his overall health but wants him on the field for the big games
  • Kosuke Fukudome and Reed Johnson will receive a lot of at bats
  • Sam Fuld could be a factor in the spring. Fuld had a huge winter.
  • The Cubs will be happy if Bradley plays 100 games and is healthy for the last two weeks of the season
  • Mike Fontenot will probably get more time at second than Aaron Miles
  • Rogers thinks the Cubs got caught up in balancing out the lineup
  • Alfonso Soriano would be the first player the Cubs would move if he did not have a no-trade clause. Rogers reminded Steiner that Soriano has six years left on his contract.
  • Rogers thinks the ball is in the Padres court concerning Jake Peavy
  • Peavy may go into the Padres front office and ask for a trade. But don't count on it.


Blog Maverick

Here is a link to Mark Cuban's blog on the sale of the Cubs...It is well worth the time.


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