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
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
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