Matt Capps

Who do you turn to?

BRUCE LEVINE

It's been really slow in the Cub universe of news. The baseball winter meetings were a horror show as far as this Cub fan could tell.

I'm incredibly news starved when you consider that I took running notes on BL's "Talking Baseball" show on ESPN-1000 radio. This week, his 2 hour baseball gab session with sidekick Jonathan Hood covered three main Cub topics: CF, 2B and the bullpen.

So here's an IV dose of baseball, Bruce Levine "Talking Baseball" style. What follows are my notes and occasional commentary from the Saturday post-Christmas program. After the jump...

The anticipation has reached a fever pitch as Pirates closer Matt Capps is expected to make his final decision today. Take the main set-up role and back-up closing duties in Chicago for a team that shouldn't completely suck...on the sale floor they like to say they're a team in contention.

Or...

Close for a team that has been the worst in baseball over the last two years and big acquisitions so far have been signing Ivan Rodriguez about seven years too late and signing Jason Marquis (insert own joke here). It would stand that as a closer for the Nationals, he'll probably get even less chances than he did in Pittsburgh.

The money being rumored is in the two year, $7-8M range, basically Grabow money. I wasn't overly thrilled with what they gave Grabow or how quickly they gave it to him. On the other hand, I think Capps is a better pitcher despite the hiccup last season, so it certainly wouldn't be the worst middle relief contract Hendry ever handed out.

If Capps decides he wants to close and signs with the Nationals, the Cubs could move on to rehab projects like Kelvim Escobar or maybe hope they can find enough money in the Ricketts sofa cushions to sign Jose Valverde if his price drops after mistakenly not taking the Astros arbitation offer.

Nothing official yet, but it was just a matter of time that once the Cubs moved Bradley, they'd sign their center fielder and with Mike Cameron off the market, that meant Marlon Byrd.

Looking for confirmation on a deal, but Byrd does appear to be the next
domino to fall once the Cubs finalize the Bradley deal. The Rangers
will get a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds in next
year's amateur draft for Byrd. That will give them two first round
picks (one for not signing Matt Purke and their own) and two sandwich
picks (for Byrd and Ivan Rodriguez).

You can find my thoughts on Byrd from a previous post, but to sum up, frightening home/road splits, disappointing walk rate, probably better suited in a 4th OF role. I'd like to see the contract first though before I go too far off the deep end.

UPDATE: Levine has a post up and says Matt Capps may be the first priority. The Nationals are offering up to $4M on a one year deal and the closer job, the Cubs may have to go to a multi-year deal to get him as a primary set-up man. He also say Byrd is asking for a two year deal, although no amount is mentioned. Scott Podsednik is taking a drink from the delusions of grandeur fountain and is seeking 3/$12M.

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