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All Eyes on Jim Hendry: Chicago Wants Depth, Cubs Turn to Free Agency
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The relatively quiet offseason is beginning to warm up just a bit in Chicago as The Boys in Blue continue their quest to acquire a fourth outfielder, and a quality middle reliever.

At the moment, the need for a fourth outfielder outweighs the need for a late inning man just a bit, considering the depth in hitting isn’t as deep as the pen.

Currently, there have been a total of five possible candidates the North Siders are looking at: Xavier Nady, Jermaine Dye, Reed Johnson, Fernando Tatis, and Johnny Gomes.

For the sake of futility, we will forego Dye because of the obvious financial issues in Chicago, Johnson because of better options on the table, and Tatis because the word is now that Carlos Delgado is washed up and the Mets are looking to cover first base with a merry-go-round of players.

That leaves us with Xavier Nady, and Jonny Gomes.

Xavier Nady enters any realm of negotiation with a smidgen of baggage following his TJ surgery, but his numbers still show him to be as strong of a hitter as he ever was. Nady was running on a one-year deal in NY (Yanks) roughly worth $6.5 million, so the Cubs have some bargaining room should they decide to bring in Nady, even if it is for a year or so.

Jonny Gomes is considered to have a slight inside track taking into account his days in Tampa with Piniella. Gomes is a reliable, consistent producer, and while his numbers don’t quite measure up to Nady’s, his willingness could be a deciding factor should it come down to an eleventh hour decision.

The Cubbies have more issues to deal with than just a cavernously empty wallet, they also have to make sure that whomever they do bring in understands what they are getting themselves into; asking for everyday play and a bloated two year deal is certainly not in the realm of possibilities.

Nady wants to play period, Gomes is willing to take “whatever the Cubs want to give me .”

Here are the comparison numbers for both players.

Player

AVG

OPS

HR

RBI

Hits

DBL

SO/BB

AB

Nady

.305

.867

25

97

169

37

103/39

555

Gomes

.267

.879

20

51

75

17

85/26

281

 

The second issue left on the table for the Cubbies is the need for a late inning reliever, and if everything goes well, the Cubs will probably land their man.

As of recent, there were two names floating around the media: Chan Ho Park and Kiko Calero. Park is definitely out of the mix and Calero is pretty much in.

One of the major factors that kept Calero on the market for this long was the fact that most teams were worried about signing a 35-year-old reliever who tore his rotator cuff back in 2008.

His performance last year was more than enough to convince the Cubs to take a hard look at him.

Calero finished strong in 2009 posting a 1.97 ERA, with a 1.10 WHIP, and an impressive 69/30 SO/BB ratio while going 2-2.

Add in Calero’s 10.4 K/9 and you have yourself a very intriguing prospect.

It could be sometime before we hear any news about Nady, Gomes or Calero, but with Spring Training about a month away, the Cubs are looking at some very interesting players who could have a big impact on the team in 2010.

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