Well, not quite. There was a bit of Chicago Cubs news today as Team President John McDonough stepped down today to take over as the new Team President of the Chicago Blackhawks. John was with the Cubs for 24 years and was responsible for the Cubs love fest that is known as the Cubs convention. With the pending sale of the Cubs, they are not expected to announce a replacement. Moving on.
There was a report over the weekend that the Cubs were close to a 3 year deal with Free Agent 2B Kazuo Matsui for around $15 million or so, but nothing has come of that, thankfully. Though the deal could happen still, it's rumored that the Houston Astros are hot after him too. As a Cubs fan, I can only hope. I know that Lou Pinella wants to add speed to the lineup, but I don't think that Matsui is the answer. He was serviceable at best in his time with the New York Mets a few years ago and has revived his career after spending a couple of years in the offensive heaven that is Coors Field. The Cubs have enough middle infielders with the most recent trade of Omar Infante and they are running out of room to put them. Even if they move Ronny Cedeno this offseason as expected, they still have Ryan Theriot, Michael Fontenot, Mark DeRosa and the aforementioned Infante. That's 4 players, two spots. DeRosa could be penciled in at RF if the Cubs don't find someone else, but let's hope that isn't the case. DeRosa played ok last year for a 2B, not good enough for a corner OF.
Speaking of RF, OF Kosuke Fukudome is apparently mulling over a deal from the Tokyo Giants to play baseball from them and might be having second thoughts about playing overseas. While there is little doubt that he would be paid more to play in the United States, nothing can really make up for the comfort of playing in a country your are already familiar with and not having to learn new customs. My hope is that he still comes to the states, the Boston Red Sox offer him the most money and the benefits of playing with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima and the Red Sox promptly put JD Drew on the market with some cash to help pay for his contract. Of course Drew has a limited no-trade clause, but I doubt that the Cubs would be on that.
On the South Side of town, the Chicago White Sox moved one of their yearly trade pieces in SP Jon Garland to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for SS Orlando Cabrera and 1.5 million in cash. The deal saves the White Sox $4 million in payroll for the next year and gives them some money to throw around to another team to take SS Juan Uribe out of town. Some speculation is that the White Sox are clearing room to afford CF Torii Hunter but a more likely scenario is that Hunter will be going to the Rangers and the White Sox will be bidding on CF Aaron Rowand against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Some Sox fans have hopes of landing one of the biggest fishes (pun intended) of the offseason, Florida Marlins 3B Miquel Cabrera. Unfortunately, for Sox fans, not having Garland limits the number of components you can throw into a trade for Cabrera. The Marlins are trying to save some payroll, so they wouldn't want Garland. But if the Sox could have spun Garland for a prospect instead, they could have used that to help bolster their trade. Right now, Josh Fields, Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Sweeney alone are not going to do it. And besides, trading Fields makes absolutely no sense because he is your long-term solution at 3B right now, not Joe Crede, who will bolt after this year and not Cabrera, who even if acquired, would probably be your starting LF. Gm Kenny Williams has said that the Garland for Cabrera trade is step one, so I won't judge the trade just yet. However, unless the Sox land the other Cabrera because of this, or they do end up signing Hunter with the saved money, it looks like a loss so far. Oh, and by the way, the White Sox have designated Scott Podsednik for assignment, so that's a win, though a year too late.