There's some real quality here, kids. Let's kick it old school.
Is there news on Kosuke Fukudome? Yes! No! Maybe!
Gordon Wittenmeyer says the Cubs arethe frontrunners for Fukudome's services, according to sources on both sides of the negotiations. The other dailies strike slightly less bullish tones, with Bruce Miles highlighting the fact that Fukudome's agent isn't even at the meetings. This shoots down rumors from MLB.com's official rumormongering blog that the Cubs and Joe Urbon had met today. The Trib highlights Hendry's downplaying the subject.
Here's the gist, from my reading: The Cubs are trying to be respectful of the Japanese clubs that are still trying to negotiate with Fukudome, who is not technically a Major League free agent yet. The Cubs may be the front runners, but Fukudome's camp is still trying to narrow down the bidders to begin serious negotiations. The Cubs don't expect to land Fukudome until after the meetings, even if they do land him. And the general feeling is that the Cubs are serious about this and plan on blowing other teams out of the water early with a substantial offer.
On the other hand, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says the Padres have become a serious rival in the Fukudome negotiations. Ugh. Update [2007-12-4 10:29:49 by cwyers]: The NY Post says the Cubs have no interest in Wilkerson or Jenkins; also that an Adam Dunn deal fell through earlier this offseason, presumably before Dunn's option was exercised.
On most days, this would be enough grist for the mill. But today, this just gets us started.
More Plan Bs are leaking out. It's quickly becoming apparent that anyone who doesn't think Josh Hamilton is on the Cubs' radar doesn't know anything about the Cubs' needs this offseason or the way Jim Hendry thinks. P-Sully says the Reds have asked for Sean Marshall in exchange for him. Miles and Wittenmeyer also float the name. Update [2007-12-4 10:30:52 by cwyers]: Another article, from the Reds' side of things.They haven't decided to deal Hamilton yet; Sean Gallagher's name also floats up here. Of course, there's also the wild idea that they're trying to get Lincecum. Riiiight.
Sullivan also says the Cubs could swing a deal for Nate McLouth. I'm not sure how enthusiast I am about that idea, but Sullivan goes on to say that one of Ohman/Pignatiello/Cotts should do the trick. I choose you, Neal Cotts! Apparently the Braves and Rockies are also interested in Will Ohman.
Speaking of the Reds, apparently Dusty Baker feels like he hasn't shredded Prior's arm enough yet; they're asking after him. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says there's no love lost between him and the Cubs, making a trade more likely. San Diego is still the most-linked team to a Prior trade deal. The Union-Trib (already my least favorite newspaper) says that the Friars could be "dangling" Tim Stauffer and Paul McAnulty. Yay?
Sullivan also mentions that the Cubs seem to think that Tyler Colvin could be ready to play center as soon as 2009, and that he'll probably start the year at Iowa.
Oh, and if all this trade talk somehow bores you: Mark Cuban to the rescue! He's still interested, even if nothing's happening on TribCo's end. Jay Marriotti somehow turned this nugget of info into a column that twice crashed my web browser; if Mark Cuban is not enough gasbag for you, Google it yourself.