Jim Hendry: "If we can make one or two moves in the next couple weeks, that would probably be helpful."
Daniel White | Staff Photographer
After being stuck at dinners and meetings for the first day-and-a-half of the general managers meetings, Cubs GM Jim Hendry was itching to do some business Tuesday.
Hendry had some late-night trade talks Monday, and he and assistant GM Randy Bush planned to make the rounds Tuesday night at the O'Hare Hilton.
"Randy and I are going to use tonight to meet with four or five clubs and try to get a feel for where they're at compared to where we might be," Hendry said.
Several rumors swirled about embattled right fielder Milton Bradley, whom Hendry will trade at some point this winter.
Here is a quick look:
• Hendry said he had not met with the Texas Rangers about a trade of Bradley for pitcher Kevin Millwood.
Bradley thrived in Texas in 2008, but ownership is in flux there, and it's not known whether financial details could get worked out even if talks progressed.
If there is any Texas connection to the Cubs' off-season, it could be free-agent center fielder Marlon Byrd, whom the Cubs have talked about in the past.
Byrd led the Rangers in RBI with 89 this year to go with 20 homers, a .283 batting average and a .329 on-base percentage.
• The Cubs have talked about New York Mets second baseman Luis Castillo this off-season, but a three-way trade involving Bradley, the Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays seems far-fetched.
"I don't like talking about guys that might be available, but I will be having communication with Jim on that," Mets GM Omar Minaya said.
• Tampa Bay remains another possible landing place for Bradley.
Rays GM Andrew Friedman didn't wish to talk specifics, but he indicated he'd be talking again to Hendry, who must establish a competitive marketplace for Bradley, who has $21 million coming over the next two seasons.
"If we can make one or two moves in the next couple weeks, that would probably be helpful," Hendry said. "Then it would kind of give you a little better direction of where you wanted to go. We don't need a lot of marquee-type guys. We've got a lot of good players.
"As we've been saying from Day One, we need them to play better. But you're also going to see good players available late. I'm sure there will be some quality non-tenders. There will be some free agents that will be available late in the year as it was last year, maybe even more so this year.
"I think it's going to be an important winter for us if we can pick up some pieces that are good, quality depth-type of guys or guys that can play a few positions."
Byrd, 32, is a right-handed batter who made $3.06 million this year and apparently wants a multiyear deal to stay in Texas.
If the Cubs can't land him, they'll keep looking for another hitter while trying to unload Bradley.
"The good thing about these meetings is you either leave here thinking some clubs you thought you might be able to do business with are out," Hendry said. "Then maybe three or four you thought you could do business with are possible. Then maybe one or two new ones.
"That's kind of how I anticipated the week going; not that there'd be any big deal made by noon (Wednesday), but I think that the path will get cleared, obviously, as it should week by week."