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12/04/08 10:00 AM EST

Cubs will eye lefty hitter at Meetings

Hendry could look to unload a big contract for flexibility

A concise look at the Cubs' agenda for next week's Winter Meetings.

Club needs

Left-handed-hitting outfielder: In the Cubs' 10 games against the Dodgers, including the National League Division Series, they never faced a left-handed pitcher. Lou Piniella wants a left-handed bat to slide into the middle of his right-handed-heavy batting order. The only real opening is in right field, and that's only if the team decides to move Kosuke Fukudome to center.

Bullpen: With the addition of Kevin Gregg, the Cubs hope they can make up for the loss of Kerry Wood to free agency. Gregg isn't projected as the full-time closer, but he can sub for Carlos Marmol when needed. Bob Howry signed with the Giants on Tuesday, and GM Jim Hendry would like to add some experience to the 'pen, especially a lefty.

Trade possibilities

IF Ronny Cedeno: Cedeno batted .378 in the first month but couldn't maintain that the rest of the year, batting .214 in June. He can play short or second and even the outfield if needed.

RHP Jason Marquis: The Cubs wouldn't mind finding someone to pick up Marquis and his $9.875 million owed in 2009. The right-hander is healthy and can be effective in spurts. It's the mental part of the game that he seems to struggle with.

OF Felix Pie: Pie has the speed that Piniella covets and brings a lot of excitement to the game, but he hasn't been able to make the transition at the plate in the Majors. Once considered untouchable, the Cubs may part with the left-handed-hitting outfielder in the right package.

Top prospects

OF Tyler Colvin, 3B Josh Vitters, RHPs Angel Guzman, Mitch Atkins, Justin Berg, Rocky Roquet and Marcos Mateo: Atkins, Berg and Mateo were added to the 40-man roster. Guzman may finally be healthy and ready for a full season. Colvin had Tommy John surgery but was expected to be OK for 2009.


Big contracts they might unload: Marquis (owed $9.875 million in 2009) and, if anyone is interested, the final six years of OF Alfonso Soriano's $136 million deal.

Arbitration eligible: Cedeno, LHP Neal Cotts, RHP Chad Gaudin, Gregg, OF Reed Johnson, RHP Michael Wuertz.

Summary: The Cubs' ownership situation is still in flux. Even though management says it's business as usual, they do have a limited budget. Plus, the team has several long-term contracts that bump up in 2009. Expect the final payroll to be slightly higher than the $120 million spent in 2008.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.