Clement Could Be South Town Bound

Matt Clement remains one of the most sought after free agent names on the market this off-season. But which teams are in the bidding for the right-hander's services?

After he spent the past three seasons with the Cubs, Clement was offered a reported three-year deal worth between $21-24 million by the Cleveland Indians.

However, if White Sox GM Ken Williams can't land Arizona's Randy Johnson, he has several names he's willing to fall back on for his starting rotation, and one of them is Clement. Another will be RHP Jaret Wright from Atlanta.

Wright recovered from myriad injuries to finish 15-8 with a 3.28 ERA for the Braves in 2004, while Clement has always pitched well against the Sox in interleague meetings.

In two starts at U.S Cellular Field, Clement, 30, is 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA while averaging just short of eight innings in both starts. He struggled against left-handers last season, allowing more homeruns and issuing almost twice as many walks in seven fewer innings.

NO NEW NEWS

SS Nomar Garciaparra's agent, Arn Tellem, and the Cubs have been trying to hammer out a deal to keep the free agent in Chicago for another season.

2B Todd Walker reportedly is mulling offers from the Cubs and Texas Rangers. An announcement is expected soon.

Tony Womack fills two needs - second base and leadoff - and the Cubs might take a run at him.

The Toronto Blue Jays hired Dave LaRoche and John Valentin for Double-A New Hampshire to coach under manager Mike Basso. LaRoche, the new pitching coach after three seasons with the Kansas City Royals' minor league system, pitched 14 seasons in the majors with the Cubs, Angels, Twins, Indians and Yankees. His son, Adam, plays first base for the Atlanta Braves.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: 177 -- The win total the last two years for the Cubs. It is the best two-year stretch by the organization since winning 180 games in 1945-46.

GOOD TO HEAR:: "Both sides want to get something done." --Jim Hendry on trying to re-sign Garciaparra.

ROSTER REPORT

The Cubs, whose post-season expectations fell short thanks to a 3-7 finish to the 2004 season, will be looking for a closer, shortstop and second baseman. They will try to get into the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes if they can unload RF Sammy Sosa, but it appears the Mets have backed off in their pursuit of the 36-year-old slugger.

ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES: None to date.

BIGGEST NEEDS: With the shoulder injury to Joe Borowski and the struggles of LaTroy Hawkins (nine blown saves), the Cubs are keeping an eye open for a reliable closer for 2005.

FREE AGENTS: LF Moises Alou, C Paul Bako, RHP Matt Clement, SS Nomar Garciaparra, OF Tom Goodwin, 2B Mark Grudzielanek, OF Ben Grieve, OF Todd Hollandsworth, INF Ramon Martinez, LHP Kent Mercker, 2B Todd Walker.

The Cubs are considering bringing back Garciaparra and Walker, but other teams will be bidding for those two as well. The Cubs would love to bring back Alou at around $6-7 million for 2005, but he is seeking a two-year deal. Grieve and Bako could also be returning candidates, but Goodwin, Grudzielanek, Hollandsworth, Martinez and Mercker appear to be gone.

ARBITRATION ELIGIBLE: C Michael Barrett, RHP Kyle Farnsworth, INF-OF Jose Macias, OF Corey Patterson, 3B Aramis Ramirez, RHP Carlos Zambrano.

The Cubs have never gone to arbitration since Andy MacPhail took over as team president in 1994, and are considering pinning down Ramirez to a long-term deal. Farnsworth could be trade bait, while Barrett, Patterson and Zambrano will be tendered contracts. Lastly, the versatile Macias could be brought back as well.

IN LIMBO: Sammy Sosa left the team without permission during the season finale against Atlanta on Oct. 3 and the Cubs were looking to unload him. There are reports that RHP Kyle Farnsworth left that game early as well, and the Cubs also might be dangling him out there. Farnsworth can throw 100 mph, but his consistency has always been a problem. RHP LaTroy Hawkins could also be mentioned in some trade proposals.

MEDICAL WATCH: RHP Joe Borowski (torn right rotator cuff) hopes off-season surgery is not needed and that a few months off will help strengthen his arm for 2005.


Northsiders Report Top Stories