Another day of nothing brewing, on either side of town. Last night, there were reports out of Denver that the Chicago Cubs have reached an agreement with 2B Kazuo Matsui, but as of yet, nothing has been finalized on either end. I'm still holding out hope that this deal won't get done, but I don't have much left. The Cubs are still in the hunt for P Hideki Kuroda and OF Kosuke Fukudome, but their are quite a few teams after the pair.
The Cubs also have a decision to make soon regarding P Mark Prior. They must decide whether they will trade him or tender him arbitration for next year. I'm still hoping that they will offer him arbitration and hope that they can come to some sort of agreement for 2008 with either a team option for 2009 or a player option for 2009 that becomes guaranteed after 175 innings or so. It doesn't look like they will non-tender him, as just about every team in baseball will likely want to sign Prior to an incentive-laden contract in the hopes that he can rebound from the injuries that have plagued him since 2004.
Of course, the Cubs did finalize a deal with P Kerry Wood over the weekend for one-year. Other teams out there were offering Wood a multi-year deal, so it's seems a little strange that he would settle on the Cubs for one year. I'm guessing that he thinks that he has a great shot at being the Cubs closer for 2008 and that if he has a great year doing that, then he can look forward to a big contract for 2009 and beyond from either the Cubs or someone else.
On the South Side, there have been numerous reports that CF Torii Hunter was plan B for the Chicago White Sox after their plan A, CF Aaron Rowand priced himself out of a job with the Sox by wanting a 6-year deal. Now, most everyone knows that GM Kenny Williams and owner Jerry Reinsdorf give out long-term contracts like Paris Hilton gives out celibacy advice, but Kenny has already been a hypocrite once this offseason, so I don't see why he wouldn't do it again. All during last year, he said it was the Sox philosophy not to give out more than 3 year deals for pitchers due to health concerns. That was a big sticking point in the negotiations with P Mark Buehrle and after caving on the 4th year, the deal got done. So, what does Kenny do? Gives relief pitcher Scott Linebrink a 4-year deal like it's nothing. Buehrle had a Cy Young type year in 2005, while Linebrink has a walk rate going up and a K rate going down. Oh well.
Anyway, if plan A isn't an option and obviously plan B no longer is, what is plan C? Trade 3b Joe Crede for a CF? Jerry Owens is still an option in CF, especially if the Sox can pick up a LF in a trade with someone, but I'm not sure that would be enough for Sox fans, nor enough to help the team get over the hump and make the playoffs. The front 3 of the rotation is firm, unless they can find a good samaritan to take P Jose Contreras off their hands, which is a tall task, since he's owed a lot and like a 100. They need more pitching and I don't think they have enough trade pieces to get another starter unless they use Crede to get the pitcher and some combination of OF Ryan Sweeney and P Lance Broadway to get a LF? Sweeney will go to spring training as an option to play LF but I don't think the Sox fans see that as a positive, despite being the top prospect in their organization. The winter meetings that start next Monday will hopefully shed some light on both sides of town. Should be a fun week.
On a final note, my condolences go out to the family of Washington Redskins S Sean Taylor. While not being a Redskins fan or a Miami Hurricanes fan, whenever someone dies tragically, it makes you take a step back and realize that sports are just a distraction for life and that anytime one is cut short, it is a travesty.