Wanna know how bad the baseball playoffs were this season? So bad that the Hot Stove League actually got going in the seventh inning of the final WS game when Boras announced that his client would be opting out of his contract with the Yankees. At that point the Red Sox, who were in the process of winning their second WS in four seasons, became the second baseball news item. Strange days indeed. The Red Sox were still a day away from their parade when the Braves and Tigers made the first trade of the offseason, which happened to take an All Star shortstop off the market. Yep, the hot stove is pumping out. Where do the Northsiders fall in all of this? Well they are installing a new field at Wrigley Field. So far on the roster front: nothing but the occassional free agent filing and a bunch of rumors coming out of the offices at Clark and Addison. It's been awhile though, so here we go:
Barry Rozner claims the Cubs payroll will be $115 million. That my friends represents a real nice increase. You can count me among the surprised at hearing this. Unlike Barry, I suspect the ownership change will have an impact. But hey, he's closer to this than I am (and Barry is close to John McDonough). If the 15% payroll increase is true the Cubs have some legit options heading into 2008 to make this team better.
Kerry Wood, Jason Kendall, Cliff Floyd and Steve Trachsel have already filed for free agency. Kendall is as good as gone. According to some reports there is some interest in Woody on the free agent market. Some rumors even have him going back to starting. IMO that would be career suicide for Kerry at this point. Wood has the opportunity to save his career coming out of the bullpen as a setup man or even a closer. I think it's laughable that a team would even consider that. Cliff Floyd wants to return to South Florida to end his career. All the best to whatever team take a flyer on the great Steve Trachsel. LMAO.
Bruce Miles reports the Cubs have interest in Japanese star Kosuke Fukudome. Left handed hitting outfielder and no posting process! What's not to like. Check out the video below of Fukodme in action. (Notice the bat flip and after he rounds the bases the stuffed pig he gets at homeplate--think McDonough can get a sponsor for that at Wrigley Fd.?)
The Cubs may have interest in another Japanese import pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. They tried to get him last season but personal reasons kept him in Japan. Sounds like those reasons have cleared up and Kuroda is heading to the states.
Curt Schilling on his Official Blog has named the Cubs as one of twelve teams that he would consider pitching for next season. Probably some of the most interesting news so far. Paul Sullivan discussed this on the Trib's Hardball blog yesterday. My quick take on this is: how much does Schilling have left? I imagine a move to the NL Central would probably be of benefit to "Red Light Curt". If the Cubs can get Schilling on a short (1 or 2 year) deal filled with incentives, I say give it a whirl.
Most of the rumors heard at this time are just that. Still it will be interesting to see how Hendry addresses the Cubs needs this offseason.