As we enter our last day of Baseball Christmas, it looks like the Cubs may come out of the Winter Meetings having laid the groundwork for quite a few deals, but without having landed any big fish. I'm comfortable with this.
Same deal as yesterday: I want to see a good, clean fight. No hitting below the belt. Everybody stops when the bell rings. More than ten rounds and it's judges decision. Both of youse got that?
On to the rumors!
The big news today is Brian Roberts. P-Sully probably has the most sober and detailed view of the deal. The gist (from several sources): essentially a young starter (likely Marshall or Gallagher) and a young position player (Murton, Patterson and Cedeno have all been mentioned). Sullivan adds this could move Soriano down in the batting order. Gordon Wittenmeyer says Donald Veal is another possiblity. ESPN's blog is a source of endless, contradictory rumors on the subject. Hint: There's a reason Steve Phillips isn't a GM anymore, and Brian Sabean still has a job!
Also from Sullivan: Dempster isn't guaranteed a rotation spot, and will have to battle whoever survives the trade market of Hart, Gallagher and Marshall for a job. If he fails... back to the bullpen where you belong, Canadian interloper! Also, Hendry hasn't spoken to Fukudome's agent today. I guess that's news; either side could be using intermediaries, however. Sully says the Cubs are still the frontrunners. Oh, and the hidden bombshell: Hendry is expected to make a Rule V selection.
Chris DeLuca seems to think Dempster-to-the-rotation is about keeping Dempster happy, and that he'll be returned to the bullpen after he gets his chance.
Seemingly Lou Piniella doesn't speak Japanese. "I've picked up a little saki once in a while." I don't know if I'd touch saki with a 10-foot pole; I saw a bottle of habu saki in a liquor store in Japan with a perfectly-preserved deal lizard floating in it. Kinda soured me on the experience. Still probably better than Suntory liquor.
Ken Rosenthal says the Cubs aren't close to dealing Prior, and talks with the Padres have cooled. He may stay a Cub yet. Rosenthal also revies Nate Mclouth rumors that I thought had died yesterday.
Piniella gave a nice press conference; we get a full transcript. The highlights:
Dave Kaplan says the Cubs are interested in Chone Figgins in center field. Um, 'kay?