Arbitration is Going to be the End of Jim Hendry
UPDATE: MLB Trade Rumors and Eddie Bajek updated their reverse-engineered rankings from two days ago and don't ask me how they changed but they did. Gregg and Grabow as Type A, Harden and Johnson as Type B. For what it's worth, Chone Figgins has been dropped to Type B status by their rankings. Muskat says Gorzelanny and Fontenot will qualify as Super Two status and the Cubs have 10 arb-eligible players total (Arizona Phil also has So Taguchi in his list on the right sidebar). The official Elias Rankings will be out soon enough.
The Cubs will not offer arbitration to Harden, who was their top strikeout pitcher in 2009.
I had mentioned earlier in the week that it looks like Harden will be a Type B free agent meaning it wouldn't cost the signing team any of their own draft picks, but the Cubs would get a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. If Levine's statement turns true, the Cubs are betting that no team would offer more in a multi-year deal to Harden than he could get in a one-year arbitration case coming off an ERA above 4.
There's obviously a few criteria that have to hit first, Harden would need to officially be labeled a Type B free agent and the Cubs would officially have to not offer arbitration, but if that scenario does play out where Harden is a Type B free agent (hell a Type A free agent even) and the Cubs don't offer arbitration, well let's say I won't be a happy. The Type A status would make it a little sketchy, since teams would certainly hesitate a bit more if Harden cost them a first round pick, but considering John Lackey is the only other talented starting pitcher on the market, I think Harden will still get a few decent offers.
The article also states that the Cubs would like to sign John Grabow to a 2-year deal. Earlier it was mentioned that Grabow wants a 3-year deal. Chances are that means the Cubs would offer arbitration and be content if Grabow accepts for one year. If Grabow gets Type A status as expected, I see little chance any team would sign Grabow and cough up a first round pick. The Cubs could get lucky and a team with a protected first round pick or one that already signed a higher rated free agent would sign Grabow and not worry as much about losing a second round or lower draft pick, but it's a far more unlikely scenario.
There's some Milton Bradley talk and Levine also believes the Cubs won't have to pay as much of the $21M+ of Bradley's contract as many people believe...which is all of it. One deal discussed was a disgruntled Bradley to the Rays for the statuesque Pat Burrell who was a major disappointment for the Rays this year. At least it would be a helluva bench bat for the Cubs.
There's some talk about Chone Figgins although no whispers of the Cubs interest level. And Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson should be back at the right price.