Chicago Cubs: Rumblings and Grumblings on the Final Weekend of 2008

Neil FinnellCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2008

The last weekend update of the year and the baseball world is still debating the Yankees agreeing to terms with Mark Teixeira before Christmas. The Yankees have committed over $400 million on three players so far this winter and there has not been a word from Bud Selig and his office.

A different stance than he had when Jim Hendry opened the checkbook after the 2006 season. It will be interesting to see if the Commissioner of Baseball issues a statement on the Yankees spending spree.

On the Cubs front, news and rumors from the offices at 1060 West Addison have been few and far between since the Winter Meetings.

According to a report on Friday from the Rocky Mountain News, the Cubs are still shopping Jason Marquis and the Rockies could be a fit. XM Radio reported the rumor on Saturday and stated Jason Hirsh and another player might be involved.

Here's the latest after a Holiday week, including the A's and Bobby Abreu, more on Jason Marquis and two Japanese pitchers are on the Cubs radar.

Jason Marquis

The next move or moves Jim Hendry can make seems to hinge on whether or not he can trade Jason Marquis and a majority of the $9.875 million he is owed for next season. The report from the Rocky Mountain News indicated the Rockies are looking to add depth to their rotation and do not want to get "caught up in a bidding war for the likes of Tim Redding."

The Cubs and Rockies have been rumored, for the past several weeks, as a possible fit for Jason Marquis. The Rocky Mountain News mentioned the limited success at Coors Field as the reason for the Rockies interest in Marquis. He is 3-0 in 5 career starts with a 2.51 ERA.

At the height of the Jake Peavy rumors in November, the CCO pointed out Jason Marquis has good career numbers against NL West teams and in their home parks.

Marquis' Career Numbers versus NL West Teams:

  • Giants—3-1 in 6 starts, 7 games, with a 2.17 ERA and a 0.9 WHIP
  • Dodgers—3-1 in 8 starts, 9 games, with a 1.99 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP
  • Diamondbacks—2-5 in 9 starts, 10 games, with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP
  • Rockies—5-3 in 11 starts, 13 games, with a 3.98 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP
  • Padres—4-3 in 8 starts, 9 games, with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP

Marquis' Career Numbers in NL West Parks:

  • Coors Field—3-0 in 4 starts, 5 games, with a 2.51 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP
  • PETCO—1-1 in 3 starts with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP
  • Dodger Stadium—2-0 in 4 starts, with a 1.71 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP
  • Chase Field—0-3 in 5 starts, 6 games, with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP
  • AT&T Park—3-1 in 5 starts with a 2.21 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP

Tracy Ringolsby noted the Cubs are "anxious to move him to ease their rotation overload, they would seem likely to eat roughly half the $9.875 million he is guaranteed in 2009."

The report by Ringolsby did not mention what the Cubs might receive in return for Jason Marquis...and cash.

Lee Hamilton (XM Radio) reported on Saturday afternoon that the Cubs could receive Jason Hirsh and another player for Marquis. XM Radio is the only source reporting Hirsh and another player could be involved.

Jason Hirsh pitched only 8 2/3 innings in 2008 (four games and one start) and posted a 8.31 ERA and a 2.19 WHIP.

Juan Mateo

The Pirates signed Juan Mateo to a minor league contract last week. The deal includes an invitation to Spring Training. Mateo will be the second former Cub competing for a job on the Pirates staff in 2009.

The Pirates picked up Donald Veal in the Rule five Draft on December 11th.

Bobby Abreu and Garrett Anderson

According to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, the A's have had "preliminary conversations about free agent outfielders Bobby Abreu and Garrett Anderson." The report indicated Billy Beane "has had brief contact" with the agents for Anderson and Abreu.

The Cubs have been linked to both outfielders by the rumor mill this winter.

Relief Help from Japan?

According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs "are considering inviting two Japanese pitchers to Spring Training to compete for relief jobs." Ken Kadokura and Shigeki Noguchi were both released by the Yomiuri Giants after the 2008 season.

Ken Kadokura is a 35-year old right-hander and spent most of the 2008 season in the minors. Kadakura has posted a 76-82 career record with 10 saves and a 4.36 ERA.

Shigeki Noguchi is a 34-year old southpaw.

The Cubs tried last spring to bring in Shingo Takatsu to help Kosuke Fukudome with his transition to Major League baseball and a new culture. According to the report from the Tribune, inviting these two relievers to camp might help Fukudome "feel more comfortable."

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


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