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Cubs GM Hendry hoping trade trend continues
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/10/2009 12:03 AM | Updated: 11/10/2009 12:15 AM

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Cubs general manager Jim Hendry is an old-school type who'd love to see a return to the days of wheeling and dealing among baseball's GMs.

From the deals he has seen so far, maybe this winter will turn out that way.

"I think for baseball it will be a good off-season," Hendry said Monday as the GMs gathered at the O'Hare Hilton for their annual meetings, which often set the stage for the winter meetings in December.

"I think it's positive. From an outside GM looking at the other deals that have been made, all the clubs made deals that made sense for them so far.

"There's been some good, exciting trades already. I hope that's the kind of winter it is. I think that's good for the game. I've been saying that for years. Trades are really a great part of the game. I wish there were more of them, to be honest with you."

White Sox GM Kenny Williams made one of those trades last week, sending infielders Josh Fields and Chris Getz to Kansas City for third baseman Mark Teahen.

At the time he made the trade, Williams noted a flurry of talk this fall, but that perception may not be a widely held one around the game.

"I don't know," Williams said Monday. "I talked to a couple of general managers after I said that, and they asked me what the heck I was talking about, that it was as slow as it always is.

"Maybe it was just interest in our players or our understanding that we like to identify what we like to do early and get after it, and people are responding to us in that manner."

The GMs will spend today and a half-day Wednesday in business meetings, such as discussing the expanded use of instant replay in big-league games.

Hendry hopes to squeeze in a little time meeting with other GMs to continue trade talks, specifically as they relate to right fielder Milton Bradley, whom Hendry suspended for the final two weeks of the season for conduct detrimental to the team.

That suspension was cheered, literally and figuratively, by Bradley's teammates, some of whom were said to have broken out in applause after the announcement.

Although Bradley's contract has two years and $21 million left on it, the Cubs have no intention of giving the player away or just releasing him.

The Cubs are believed to have talked to three or four teams about Bradley over the past two weeks, and if Hendry can create a competitive market for a hitter of Bradley's caliber, a more even deal might get done.

One internet report said there had been discussion of a three-way deal that would send Bradley to Toronto, first baseman Lyle Overbay to the New York Mets and second baseman Luis Castillo to the Cubs.

That rumor didn't get overwhelming confirmation from at least two of the teams at O'Hare.

"He's on our roster," Hendry said of Bradley. "Until he's not on the roster, that's how you have to look at it.

"A lot of people have had worse exits at the end of the year than that, and then return. There will be a lot of things that change, personnel-wise over the winter, and the goal will be the best we can to put a good club on the field by spring training.

"Until people aren't here, then as a general manager I approach it like they are here, and that's what you deal with."

It appears that neither the Cubs nor the White Sox will be in line for a big-ticket free agent, such as infielder Chone Figgins for either team or DH Hideki Matsui for the Sox.

"I would imagine he's going to command more in salary than we can afford to pay," Williams said of Matsui. "But should he want what we have available, I don't know.

"The bottom line is, we're not going to spend more than we have. So whatever we have, we'll work with it and try to be creative, if necessary. You're asking today if we have those kinds of dollars, the answer is no."