Cubs shopping for corner outfielder
December, 8, 2008
By Jayson Stark
Even though the Cubs have payroll issues as they wait for the naming of their next owner, a variety of sources indicate they've begun moving forward on acquiring a lefty-hitting corner outfielder. They've checked in on free agents Raul Ibanez, Bobby Abreu, Milton Bradley and Adam Dunn, although Bradley and Dunn rank much lower on their radar screen than Ibanez and Abreu. The Cubs have also talked to the Marlins about Jeremy Hermida. But Florida is reluctant to move Hermida just for prospects, and the Cubs aren't interested in trading players who would leave holes on their big league roster. The Cubs' baseball people have been instructed that they need to move money before they can add any significant contract. But they've told agents for players they're pursuing that their payroll hasn't been "frozen." So if they need to make a move because the market on those players is heating up, they believe they could have the flexibility to acquire that player with the understanding that they would subtract payroll later. Asked if the Cubs have gotten some nibbles on the player whose contract they're trying hardest to subtract, Jason Marquis, a major league source said the club has "had some interest -- but I don't know that I could even describe it as being in the 'nibble' form yet." • Why did the Tigers deal for Gerald Laird as opposed to signing Jason Varitek? It wasn't just about dollars. Tigers sources said they went into the winter with a list of available catchers -- and actually had Laird ranked higher on that list than Varitek.