Cubs

Hendry Feels No Pressure to Get Deal Done

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Hendry Feels No Pressure to Get Deal Done

Monday, December 7th

5:05 pm

No trades yet, and Jim Hendry says that he feels no pressure to get something done by the end of the Winter Meetings in Indy. With that said, sources close to the situation say the Cubs talked with 5 or 6 teams about possible deals on the first day of activity here. Several of the teams in discussions are new to the mix. Most likely, Hendry will have to move Milton Bradley before he can add that new piece to the lineup and centerfield.

Lou Piniella talked a lot about team speed at the end of last season. The Cubs didn't have a legitimate base stealer or a true leadoff man in 2009. He still wants both of those things, but admitted that adding team speed will not likely be a part of this offseason. The Cubs established bigger priorities in their organizational meetings in Mesa after the season. Adding an RBI bat, right or left handed is the key. Centerfield is where they want to do it. So, circle Mike Cameron and Marlon Byrd as tops on their wish list. The Cubs also want to add a veteran arm to the bullpen with Carlos Marmol ready to take over as the everyday Closer in 2010.

What to watch for:

1. The Bradley Trade. Once it happens the Cubs will have a much better idea of what they can do. As of 5pm Eastern nothing is imminent.

2. Fontenot in deals? The Cubs would like to have a backup infielder who plays 2nd and shortstop. Fontenot played some 3rd base in addition to 2nd base last year but he struggled at the plate. Don't be surprised if Mighty Mike ends up in a trade.

3. Roy Halladay. Nationally, he is the story here. Everybody is waiting to see if the Blue Jays can move their ace this week. Somebody is going to land one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball.

3:16 pm

I'm down in Indy for the MLB winter meetings. Things are off to a great start with a stop at the local Chick-Fil-A around Lafayette. It's amazing what a chicken biscuit can do for your day. I had two.

Hardly recognized Lou Piniella in the lobby. The Cubs manager has a personal trainer and has trimmed down the last two months while fishing in the Keys.

No secret what the Cubs want to do here...trade Milton Bradley. Lou Piniella says its one of the things they'd like to accomplish here. Once the Cubs find a trade parter, look for Mike Cameron to be a guy on their radar. The Cubs want a centerfielder who can not only hit but play solid defense. Cameron is also a solid clubhouse leader. Texas and Tampa Bay remain possible trade candidates along with Kansas City. Jim Hendry will address the media at 5pm ET tonight.

Also from Lou, a challenge for Carlos Zambrano! More on that, plus the latest trade info coming in my live report from Indy on SportsNite tonight. I'll keep you posted the minute anything breaks right here on the Bricks and Ivy blog.

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

There are 162 baseball games in a season and some days, you’re just not going to have it. On Sunday afternoon, in a 10-2 loss to the Reds, the Cubs just didn’t have it. 

“It’s already in the trash can...” Maddon said. “... so let’s flush it out and move on.” 

Things were bleak from the very first at-bat of the game, when Kyle Schwarber took a 3-2 fastball looking for one of his three strikeouts on the day. Anthony Rizzo was the only starter not to strike out at least once, as the Cubs’ finished with 11. Reds starter Tanner Roark was responsible for 9 of them, his season-high. 

Things weren’t much better on the basepaths or in the field. Besides making two errors, Anthony Rizzo was thrown out at the plate in the 2nd inning and David Bote got doubled-up at first after drawing a walk in the 6th. The Cubs were playing playing their 13th game in 13 days, and it showed.

“I feel really good about how we’ve been playing until today,” Maddon said. “This whole month we’ve been in almost every game except for this one, and maybe the [7-0 loss on May 10th] against Milwaukee. There’s not a whole lot to be upset about, and I’m not. I just want to make sure everyone’s well moving forward.” 

There was a scary moment in the 6th inning, as Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward collided in the right field gap while trying to make a play on a fly ball from Eugenio Suarez. Bryant was slow to get up and eventually had to leave the game. He’s still being evaluated for a head/neck injury, and the Cubs don’t yet know if he’ll go into concussion protocol. For what it's worth, Bryant was cleared to fly with the team. 

“He’s doing okay,” he said. “He’s still under evaluation. We don’t know exactly what we’re doing with this whole thing yet, but we’re trying to talk with the doctors and find out exactly where we’re at.”

“We collided, and I called for the ball,” Heyward added. “We were both going hard to make a play and ran into each other.”

The loss dropped starter Jose Quintana to 4-4 on the season. Quintana went 5.1 innings while allowing six runs on 12 hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Despite relatively weak contact, the Reds hit well all weekend. Their 42 hits over three games was the most for them in a three-game series at Wrigley since 1976, and they finished the weekend with a .404 BABIP. 

“Yeah, I just had to keep pitching, you know?” Quintana said. “Keeping my focus. It was really tough - too many base hits. In some contests that happens. I just try to stay close in the game.” 

The Cubs finished their 7-game homestand at 3-4, and now hit the road for a two-city trip. Up first comes the 35-19 Astros, who are 20-7 at home. This season Houston ranks first in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and third in home runs. Their closer, Ryan Pressley, has the lowest ERA of all qualified relievers and is fresh off a streak of 40 straight scoreless appearances.

“I’m excited,” Joe Maddon said before Sunday’s game. “Let’s get by today, but I’m excited for the whole week. Look at our schedule - it’s been pretty firm, and it continues to be pretty firm. And that’s the way it should be. I’m looking forward to it.” 

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

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Scott Chagnon/NBC Sports Chicago

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

Add injury to insult for the Cubs. 

In the top of the 6th inning, with the Cubs already down 6 runs, right fielder Kris Bryant left the game after colliding with Jason Heyward in the outfield.

You can check out the video right here. 

It's possible that the move was simply precautionary. The Cubs are on their 13th game in 13 days, and being down six runs in the latter half of a getaway game isn't the time to roll the dice. That said, Bryant missing time would be a significant blow, as the Cubs' star is in the midst of a stellar season. Through 49 games, Bryant's slashing .288/.411/.576 with a .987 and a 160 wRC+. As of Sunday afternoon, only Javy Baez has a higher WAR (2.5) than Bryant (2.4). 

There's been no further announcement on the extent of Bryant's injury.