While, we are still in the early stages of Free Agency, the Chicago Cubs for the most part have been off to slow start. But surprisingly, the player that the Chicago Cubs are commonly linked with is Cliff Lee. Sports Illustrated writer Jon Heyman tweeted today that the Cubs were a wild card team for Lee. However, with the Cubs payroll expected to remain flat, there is no financial way the Cubs can afford Lee. While, the Cubs intend to add a starter this winter, do not look for Cliff Lee in a Cubs uniform anytime soon. With that being said, Bruce Levine had his weekly chat today at ESPN Chicago, lets take a look at the latest.
- The Chicago Cubs have no interest in Dan Uggla, who could be traded by the Marlins this winter. Uggla, rejected a 4 year/ $48MM contract extension from the Marlins this month. The Cubs are not a match for Uggla, considering that Uggla has notoriously struggled on defense.
- The Chicago Cubs top choice for filling their first base vacancy is trading for Adrian Gonzalez. However, Levine notes that it may not be realistic that the Padres trade Gonzalez this winter. Levine also notes that the Chicago Cubs are willing to include Hak-Ju Lee in a trade for Gonzalez. But like I mentioned yesterday, Levine believes that Gonzalez will probably end up with Boston.
- Look for the Chicago Cubs to go hard after Carlos Pena, assuming they do not trade for Gonzalez, according to Bruce Levine. The Chicago Cubs really like Pena as a power hitting first baseman, who is a great fielder, and essentially a team leader. While Pena finished the season hitting .196 with 28 home runs, the Cubs are confident that Pena would hit around .250 for them, and continue to be a good power hitter. Honestly, I do not know what to think about Pena. Because, he is a very good power hitter and an even better fielder, but his .196 average this past season is what scares me. But, considering that Pena will come at a reduced rate, he may be a good fit for the Cubs on a short term deal.
- The Chicago Cubs will most likely add a mid-rotation starter this winter. Jake Westbrook, as well as Jon Garland are the two names that Levine mentioned by name. Of the two, Garland probably brings the most stability to the Cubs. As Garland had 14 wins and an ERA of 3.47 this season, while Westbrook had 10 wins and an ERA of 4.22.Though, Westbrook had an ERA of 3.48 in the National League in 12 starts with the Cardinals after he was traded from the Indians.
- Levine also thinks that Kerry Wood would probably want to come back and end his career with the Chicago Cubs. There have not been much talks between Wood and the Yankees, which probably means the Cubs have a strong chance of re-uniting with Kerry Wood.
To be honest, I would not expect the Cubs make any moves in the near future. I think once they are able to move Kosuke Fukudome, that will probably put a lot of things in motion for the Cubs. It almost seems like the Cubs are rebuilding on the fly, while still trying to contend in the National League Central. That method worked for the San Francisco Giants last year, as obviously they won the World Series.