Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, appearing Monday night on WGN Sports Central with Dave Kaplan, said he expects the Cubs and Orioles to reach agreement on a trade involving Brian Roberts in "a week to ten days."
Zrebiec disagreed with Kaplan's suggestion that the talks have "heated up" in the past few days; he thinks the discussions have been on a steady, low simmer since they began. Bottom line: Zrebiec said he's confident Roberts will be in Cub blue by Opening Day.
As to who the Cubs might be shipping east or at least whom the O's might want, the usual names were brought up: Gallagher, Cedeno and/or Patterson, Pie, Ceda. (No mention of Donald Veal.) Zrebiec said the O's are especially high on Gallagher and see him as a potential #3 or maybe even a #2 starter. No such love for Matt Murton, however. According to the writer, the Orioles think Murton will require 400-500 at-bats a season to be an effective MLB hitter, which he won't get in Baltimore if he's part of a platoon arrangement with, say, former Astro Luke Scott.
On an unrelated front...
Kaplan also spoke tonight with Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin. In the course of that conversation, Kaplan said his sources tell him that the Cubs are talking deal with a major, Chicago-based corporation which would pay less than the $40 million bandied about for naming rights. The company would be paying for "significant" signage all over the ballpark but would voluntarily forego renaming the park and in a selfless gesture of corporate goodness, allow the place to remain "Wrigley Field."
Nice folks, those selfless, major Chicago corporate guys.