It has been a slow start for the Chicago Cubs during the off-season. The Cubs are not expected to make any additions to the team until after they trade Kosuke Fukudome and his remaining $13.5MM that he has on his contract for the 2011 season. However, that has not stopped the rumors about the Cubs potentially being interested in making a blockbuster trade, or making a big splash in free agency.
After the first week of the Hot Stove Season, the hottest rumor involving the Cubs is their interest in trading for Adrian Gonzalez. Earlier in the week, I touched on the idea of what a possible proposal from the Chicago Cubs maybe to the Padres for Adrian Gonzalez. However, over recent days, belief is that the Padres will hold onto Gonzalez through the start of the season.
If the Cubs do not trade for Gonzalez, which appears likely, look for them to turn their attention to the free agent market for a first baseman. Leading up to Free Agency, the popular belief was that the Chicago Cubs were going to sign Adam Dunn to a contract worth 3 years and $40MM. But, it appears that the Cubs have moved on from Dunn, and turned their attention to Carlos Pena. The same Carlos Pena that hit .196 with the Tampa Bay Rays while hitting 28 home runs. Despite the low average, I think Pena brings a lot of good qualities to any team he plays for. He is one of the better fielding first basemen in the league, and is considered to be a team leader no matter what team he is on.
To provide a little clarity on what the Chicago Cubs plans for the off-season, new manager Mike Quade joined Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM radio.
Among the things that Quade mentioned, was the wealth of pitching the Chicago Cubs have. Quade told Duquette “We feel really good about our pitching, so we’d have to blown away to trade any of it.” I’m curious if this means that the Chicago Cubs are not willing to give up some of their young pitching prospects in order to get Adrian Gonzalez. If that is the case, then I find it hard to imagine the Cubs coming up with a better offer than the Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez.
The other thing Quade mentioned was that, “we’re looking at first base hard, it’s a priority but we’re leaving all of our options open to improve the team.” Besides stating the obvious, I think this statement also means that the Cubs probably will not acquire a first baseman any time in the near future. A lot of it depends on what happens with Adrian Gonzalez. If, the Padres are willing to move him, expect the Cubs to exhaust any and every resource available in trying to trade for him. For some reason, if the Cubs do not land Gonzalez, look for them to move their attention to signing a free agent baseman. As it stands right now, the Cubs top free agent target appears to be Carlos Pena.
I’m sure as we get closer to the Owners meetings next week, that the Cubs rumors will begin to pick up.