7/30 Cubs/Pirates discussing lefties
The Cubs have reportedly stepped up their discussions with the Pirates regarding two left-handed pitchers, John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny. Grabow could provide some help in the bullpen, which now has only one lefty in Sean Marshall. Gorzelanny was 4-3 with a 2.48 ERA in 15 starts at Triple-A Indianapolis.
— Carrie Muskat
7/30 Cubs update
With outfielder Reed Johnson sidelined for at least three weeks with a fractured foot, the Cubs are in the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder. Maybe. GM Jim Hendry says they don’t want to commit to someone long-term who could get in Johnson’s way upon his return. If nothing is done by Friday’s deadline, the Cubs will likely recall left-handed hitting Sam Fuld from Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs’ primary goal heading into the deadline was to find another lefty who could help in the bullpen. That was before Johnson was hurt. Hendry said his cell phone has been ringing more than usual in the last 12 hours.
“[Wednesday night], some of the people I’d been calling all of a sudden called back and maybe they were looking at things a little differently,” Hendry said. “So, from an optimistic side, we might be able to do something by [Friday]. Some of the people we inquired about, unfortunately, are people other people also want. So we’ll see.”
There isn’t a push to find someone to help in the outfield.
“The way we’re going, Reed was starting less than 25 percent of the time anyways,” Hendry said. “To be honest with you, off the top of your head, name me all the right-handed hitting center fielders who can really help who would be better than what we have right now who are available? Willie [Mays] is not playing anymore.”
— Carrie Muskat
Bucs still open to potential deals
Hours after trading Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to the Mariners and Freddy Sanchez to the Giants, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington was asked if the organization — which has also already dealt Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett and Adam LaRoche this summer — was finally done dealing.
Huntington downplayed the necessity of making any more deals. But at the same time, he didn’t close the door.
“We continue to have ongoing dialogue,” Huntington said. “We’re not looking to make any more trades. We weren’t looking to make these trades. We don’t need to make other trades. But if the right baseball opportunity presents itself, it’s certainly something we take a look at. Again, if it’s strong enough, we move forward.”
At this point, lefty reliever John Grabow would seem to be the most likely left to go. He’s the only player remaining on the roster who is set to be a free agent at season’s end. And as prompted the decisions to trade LaRoche, Wilson and Sanchez, the Pirates don’t like to lose players to free agency without getting something in return.
The Marlins and Cubs are known to have interest in Grabow, though it may take Orioles lefty reliever George Sherill being dealt before the Pirates get substantial offers from teams looking to add a veteran lefty in the ‘pen.
7/28 Cubs wait and see
Cubs GM Jim Hendry says he’s been busy talking to other teams, but wasn’t sure if the Cubs will add any players by Friday’s trade deadline. The team should get a “new” player when catcher Geovany Soto returns from his oblique injury sometime in early August. Soto was taking batting practice and expected to get into a game this week. Ted Lilly (inflammation shoulder) also will rejoin the team in mid August. That’s two.
However, the Cubs could use some left-hand help in the bullpen. Sean Marshall is the only southpaw.
“I have no idea if we’ll do anything by Friday,” Hendry said.
The Cubs players have said they feel all the pieces are in place. Hendry appreciated that they feel they’re good enough to three-peat in the NL Central.
“I think they know how we do our business,” Hendry said. “If we find something by Friday, that’s what we’ll do.”
Some long-rumored deals are never consumated. And, Hendry said he’s completed transactions with Oakland GM Billy Beane in five, 10 minutes. Who knows?
“I think some of the best trades we’ve made, I’ve put the least amount of time into them,” Hendry said.
— Carrie Muskat
7/27 Cubs talk
The Cubs currently have one lefty in the bullpen in Sean Marshall and wouldn’t mind adding another. Two pitchers the Cubs’ radar are Washington’s Joe Beimel and Pittsburgh’s John Grabow. The Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald reported Monday that Beimel and Grabow have drawn interest from the team. Left-handed hitters are batting .233 against Beimel, while Grabow has fared better against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .243 average.
Several of the Cubs say the team doesn’t need to make a move. Lou Piniella deferred to GM Jim Hendry.
“That’s Jim’s department,” Piniella said Monday. “He always likes to do something if he can at the trading deadline. I know he’s been talking to quite a few teams but that’s his area. I get paid to manage.”
— Carrie Muskat
Tigers not looking at Bradley
The Cubs might like to find a new home for Milton Bradley, but it won’t be Detroit.
The rumor of Tigers interest in the gifted but much-maligned outfielder began with a Twitter from White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone, then picked up steam quickly with a report from a Chicago web site.
That was news to the Tigers. A source with knowledge of the team’s plans said Bradley’s name hasn’t come up in organizational discussions all year. For a team that has been searching far and wide for offensive help, that speaks volumes.
The reasons are numerous. Though the Tigers lost out on Matt Holliday, there remain several outfield/DH types on the market with better numbers and contracts than Bradley, who entered Saturday batting .242 with six home runs and 22 RBIs and is under contract through 2011 with $21 million over the next two years. Even with money kicked in, it would still be a big commitment for a player who would probably be a full-time DH again in the American League.
While manager Jim Leyland has a reputation for working well with players who have been labeled as difficult, he does not like issues that distract from the team. And Bradley, justifiably or not, would have the potential to be a major distraction.
— Jason Beck