It Wasn't a Total Wash

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry insisted his time at the winter meetings in Las Vegas wasn't a disappointment.

"We didn't get off the plane and say, 'This is Jake Peavy week,'" Hendry said. "Nothing's changed."

In other words, the Cubs' top priority remains getting a left-handed-hitting right fielder, either through the free agent market or a trade. As of now, Milton Bradley, a switch hitter, and Raul Ibanez appear to be the top two targets ahead of Bobby Abreu, though Hendry wouldn't rule out a trade, saying he has had discussions with several clubs.

The Cubs never got as close as some reports said they were to completing a trade with the San Diego Padres for Peavy. In the end, Hendry said the price the Padres were asking was too high for him to add to a rotation that he already likes. Even without Peavy, the Cubs have Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden and Ted Lilly to go along with Jason Marquis and Sean Marshall.

Hendry felt he had leverage over the Padres, who need to dump payroll. He didn't relish the idea of giving up prospects, picking up the $63 million left on Peavy's deal and then having to spend money on replacements for the other players he might have traded.

Moving forward, the Cubs said they would continue talks about signing veteran Randy Johnson, who is five wins shy of 300 for his career. Of course, if a more attractive deal for Peavy comes down the line sometime between now and the July 31 trading deadline, Hendry said he would look into it.

NOTES, QUOTES

--RHP Chad Gaudin, acquired by the Cubs in the Rich Harden trade last summer, avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2 million contract. The Cubs weren't happy with Gaudin, who hurt his back at the end of August and pitched poorly upon his return in mid-September.

--OF Reed Johnson avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3 million deal. The contract includes an additional $800,000 in incentives.

--LHP Neal Cotts and the Cubs agreed on a one-year, $1.1 million deal, avoiding arbitration.

--INF/OF Mark DeRosa had his name come up often as possible trade bait at the winter meetings. DeRosa is coming off his second solid year with the Cubs, and he has one more year and a reasonable $5.5 million left on his deal. The Cubs need left-handed hitting, and DeRosa is really the only right-handed hitter they can trade. The Phillies reportedly had interest in DeRosa as insurance for 2B Chase Utley as part of a three-way deal with San Diego that would have sent Peavy to the Cubs.

--Marquis has drawn interest from other clubs, but the Cubs would have to pick up much of the $9,875,000 he has left on his heavily back-loaded three-year contract. The Cubs wanted the Padres to take Marquis in a possible trade for Peavy. Marquis is the Cubs' fifth starter, but he could probably be a fourth starter for many clubs. He also is durable. The bugaboo throughout his whole career has been inconsistency. He was 11-9 with a 4.53 ERA this year. The Cubs will continue looking for trade partners willing to take Marquis.

--Marshall was called a "hugely valuable guy" by Hendry after Hendry called off trade talks with San Diego for Peavy. Marshall figures heavily into the Cubs' plans for 2009, either as a starter or as a long man. He split time between the Cubs and Class AAA Iowa this year, and the Cubs said they were happy that Marshall never complained about what his role was or where he pitched. He was 3-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 34 games (seven starts) with the Cubs this year. He has made 50 starts lifetime in the big leagues.

--LHP Donald Veal was the Cubs' most notable loss in the Rule 5 draft. The Pirates took Veal in the major league portion of the draft. Veal, 24, was 5-10 with a 4.52 ERA this year at Class AA Tennessee before performing poorly in the Arizona Fall League. He once was a highly touted prospect. In the minor league draft, the Cubs lost RHP Mark Holliman to the Brewers and OF Yusuf Carter to Oakland.

--The Cubs obtained RHP David Patton from the Reds, who took him in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft from the Rockies. Patton, 24, is 21-25 with eight saves and a 4.46 ERA in 180 minor league games. The Cubs say his fastball hits the mid-90s (mph) and that he also has a curve and a slider.

INSIDE THE NUMB3RS: 6 -- Positions played by DeRosa, giving the Cubs an attractive selling point if they want to trade him. DeRosa logged time at second base, shortstop, third base, first base, left field and right field in 2008.

HE SAID IT: "As much as it would have been a great acquisition, for the good of the organization, I didn't think today moving forward it was the right thing to do." -- Hendry, on deciding not to pursue a trade for Peavy.

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