INDIANAPOLIS - The Cubs never were interested in bringing pitcher Rich Harden back, even at a lower, incentive-laden deal.
Harden and the Texas Rangers reportedly have agreed on a one-year deal worth $7.5 million with an option for 2011 worth $11.5 million. The Cubs did not offer Harden salary arbitration after he made $7 million this year, so they will not get draft-pick compensation.
Apparently, there was enough concern about Harden's troublesome right shoulder for the Cubs not to bring him back.
"Rich did a great job for us," said Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. "I think we were all pleased that we gave us a real good year and a half. There was a lot of skepticism when we made the deal (with Oakland in July 2008) that he wouldn't do that, and he did. My hat's off to him. All the things that were speculated negatively before we got him, he dispelled that for us. I'm sure he wasn't feeling fresh as a daisy every day, but I thought he gave us a great effort."
Feeling a draft: It's possible the Cubs will be active in Thursday's Rule 5 draft. Last year, they took pitcher David Patton, who wasn't much of a factor. The Cubs can send Patton to the minor leagues next year.
"We had a meeting this morning," Jim Hendry said. "Our scouts did a real good job. We're going to meet late tonight or early tomorrow. My gut feeling is that we have a few people that we would consider. We won't draft somebody just to draft someone, but if we feel like we have someone who has a realistic chance, then we would certainly consider it."
Another honor: Gary Hughes, special assistant to Jim Hendry, received scout of the year honors Wednesday from a scouting group. Hughes has received several such awards over his career.
"Gary adds to his long list of national accolades, well deserved," Hendry said. "He's a special guy. A lot of people in baseball, we love the game. He takes it to a level of he loves all the people in the game, the good ones. He's spent his life helping people get better, on and off the field. That's Gary Hughes."