After a relatively quiet first day of the Winter Meetings for the Cubs and GM Jim Hendry, things picked up today as Hendry stepped up his pursuit of a first baseman.
First, Hendry met with Carlos Pena's agent, Scott Boras, according to Carrie Muskat, but salary figures were not discussed.
Then, Hendry reportedly was targeting free agent Adam LaRoche, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports, and wanted to "close the deal soon."
Finally, Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse reported that Hendry was working on a multi-player deal with the Rangers involving Chris Davis and reliever Darren O'Day. According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, the Cubs are interested in Davis, but don't want to part with much.
It appears that Hendry wants to get his first baseman before the Winter Meetings end. This makes sense in that, it is the Cubs' biggest need and his salary will determine what they have left to spend on a starter and a right handed reliever.
If Hendry can trade for Davis and O'Day, he will fill two of the holes at low to moderate salaries. Davis will not be arbitration eligible until after the 2011 season, whereas O'Day is arbitration eligible for the first time this year and should see a significant raise over the $400K he earned last year.
Although I have my concerns about Davis and his high strikeout rate, I think that a trade for Davis and O'Day would be a good move for Hendry. O'Day is an excellent reliever, posting ERA's right around 2.00 the last two years. If Hendry can land both of them while only giving up a catching prospect (Welington Castillo or Robinson Chirinos seem to be on the table) and one or two other lower prospects, I'd say go for it.
In other news, Hendry was to meet again with Jonathan Mauer, Brandon Webb's agent, this afternoon, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, after meeting with him last night (according to Troy Renck). It appears to be a 3 horse race for Webb, according to Jerry Crasnick, with the Cubs, Nationals and Rangers all in the hunt.
If the price is right, Webb could be a good high upside acquisition for the Cubs. However, I cannot justify giving more than $5 million of guaranteed money to a pitcher who has made only one start in the last two years, even if he's a former Cy Young award winner.
Finally, the Cubs have apparently put Tom Gorzelanny on the block, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Tigers have asked about him per Steve Kornacki of MLive.com.
At first glance, this does not make a lot of sense, as the Cubs would be trading a cheap, left handed and proven starter. However, Hendry may be trying to sell high on Gorzelanny. Gorzellany's numbers look pretty good at face value, with a 4.09 ERA and 119 K's in 136 IP. But his 4.5 BB/9 IP is troubling as is his 1.50 whip for the year.
Not sure what kind of return to expect for a player like Gorzelanny, but perhaps Hendry is trying to use him to acquire a reliever.
I will continue to keep tabs on these and other rumors involving the Cubs as the Winter Meetings wind down over the next couple days, as well as providing you will the results of the Rule 5 draft on Thursday (will Marquez Smith be taken and who will the Cubs pick). Stay tuned....