Network Forums MLB Lilly gets $40 million offer, would follow...
Jump Menu:
Post Reply
Lilly gets $40 million offer, would follow Zambrano in rotat
14 years ago  ::  Dec 05, 2006 - 6:09PM #1
Posts: 0

Lilly gets $40 million offer, would follow Zambrano in rotation

By Paul Sullivan
Tribune staff reporter

December 4, 2006, 10:53 PM CST,1,1236144.story?coll=cs-cubs-headlines

ORLANDO -- The Cubs are one of the finalists for free-agent left-hander Ted Lilly, having offered a four-year deal worth an estimated $40 million, major-league sources said Monday on the opening day of baseball's winter meetings.

Lilly, 30, who went 15-13 with a 4.31 ERA with the Blue Jays last season and is 59-58 lifetime with a 4.60 ERA, would give general manager Jim Hendry a No. 2 pitcher to follow Carlos Zambrano in the rotation.

But Hendry denied a deal was done during a media briefing, saying widespread rumors of the deal were "completely erroneous." Lilly's agent, Larry O'Brien, was meeting with the Blue Jays late Monday and was to meet Tuesday with the Cubs, Giants and Yankees.

A rotation headed by Zambrano, Lilly and Rich Hill would leave Hendry with the decision of whether to add another starter, or leave the remaining two spots open for three candidates⁈”left-hander Neal Cotts, and rehabbing right-handers Wade Miller and Mark Prior.

"It's imperative we get one [starter] at least," Hendry said. "In a perfect world, I can paint a scenario where it would be very good to get two if it was two from a group that we would prefer. ⁈ ¦ We wouldn't rule out the possibility of Neal starting.

"We have some priorities. We're not going to just go get two to get two. There will be a line drawn, where if it's best suited for us to get a good one and work out what we have, then that's good too."

The Cubs also have had discussions with free-agent right-handers Jason Schmidt and Gil Meche, who reportedly has the Cubs at the top of his wish list. Left-hander Barry Zito remains a long shot, while the Cubs continue to pursue Rockies right-hander Jason Jennings. Meche and Lilly yielded the first- and third-most walks among American League starters per nine innings, while the Cubs staff yielded the most in the NL.

Cotts hasn't been a regular starter since pitching in the minors in 2003. Because he has only two pitches⁈”a fastball and slider⁈”some have wondered if he's more suited to a relief role.

The Cubs also are looking for another outfielder, possibly Julio Lugo. But according to Hendry, Lugo probably is "leaning" to a team that will use him as a shortstop. The Red Sox are looking at Lugo to play short, while the Mets want him to play second.

The Giants reportedly have inquired about right-fielder Jacque Jones, who was unhappy with the treatment he received at Wrigley Field in the first year of a three-year deal. Jones has $10 million remaining on his contract and the Cubs could use that money to help offset the deals for starting pitching.

The Cubs may sign left-fielder Cliff Floyd to platoon in left with Matt Murton, and may sign Kenny Lofton to a one-year deal to play center, leaving Alfonso Soriano to play in right. Floyd is believed to have the Cubs as his first choice, and Hendry is known to be interested.

With a potentially loaded lineup, the Cubs also could roll the dice and let Felix Pie or second baseman Eric Patterson vie for the center-field job. Both are left-handed hitters with speed, which is what manager Lou Piniella craves.

Patterson, who turns 24 in April, was an All-Star at Double-A West Tenn last season before being promoted to Triple-A Iowa, where he hit .358 in 17 games. The Cubs are asking Patterson to learn to play center because Mark DeRosa signed a three-year deal to play second.

"Eric is starting to get on a path of doing things he needs to do," said Oneiri Fleita, the Cubs director of player development. "He has learned how to bunt, he's running a lot more. He's a very good base-runner. And we've asked him to explore the opportunity to go take balls off the bat so it isn't foreign to him if he's asked to go out and play center field.

"Right now he's a second baseman, but he's a left-handed hitter who can do a lot of little things. We're going to try to make sure that if he's ready, if there is a spot that's maybe blocking him, he can go play another spot."

If Pie or Patterson can step up, the Cubs would have two players capable of stealing 40 or more bases, along with Soriano. No matter what the Cubs do, Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said their most important acquisition is Piniella.

"I said last year, if they're going to bring in somebody to replace Dusty [Baker], there's no doubt it has to be Lou," Guillen said. "There have been a lot of good people who've tried to manage that ballclub, but I think Lou is the right acquisition. No matter if they win or lose, he's a guy who can handle the media, can handle the fans and knows how to handle the players.

"It was the right acquisition. How's it going to work? Hopefully good."

Jump Menu:
Network Forums MLB Lilly gets $40 million offer, would follow...
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing

Yankees Forum