LAS VEGAS -- I put a dollar into a slot machine last night and lost it. That'll be the extent of my gambling here since I don't even know how to play most of these games out here. And it is something to see people smoking cigarettes and cigars inside in this day and age. Vegas might out of business if they ever banned indoor smoking here.
The Cubs did not talk with the Padres Sunday about Jake Peavy. That should change today. The Cubs are very much alive for Peavy, as my Daily Herald colleague Barry Rozner pointed out 10 days or so ago, even as Lou was saying a deal was not going to happen. (Lou says a lot of stuff.)
First things first, though. The Cubs still need to get a left-handed bat, and they still need to clear payroll. That means moving pitcher Jason Marquis and most of his $9.875 million salary for 2009. With Marquis being a good fifth or even fourth starter, the Cubs ought to be able to find a taker.
As I blogged last week, the Cubs best bet for a bat, financially speaking, would be the mercurial Milton Bradley, who rejected the Rangers' offer of arbitration. He'd come a lot cheaper than Raul Ibanez or Bobby Abreu. But the market is slow, and it's possible the price could come down on either Ibanez or Abreu.
From what I've been hearing, the Cubs aren't looking to traded Mike Fontenot, despite reports to the contrary from out of town. Here's a team that badly needs left-handed bats _ one Cubs guy told me they like to have three lefty bats in the lineup for a good number of games next year _ so trading Fontenot makes little sense. He's a guy who gets on base and also stings the ball. The Cubs may try to trade Ronny Cedeno before they possibly non-tender him later this week.
Whispers out west indicate the Padres might be concerned about the hand/wrist of top Cubs prospect Josh Vitters, a third baseman. The hand has bothered him off and on. In other words, the Cubs may have to offer more in the way of prospects or get that third team involved in any deal for Peavy. Cubs GM Jim Hendry is pretty good at getting his guy once he focuses on him. I wouldn't bet (bad choice of words here in Vegas) against him, but it may take awhile.
We should hear soon on whether Ron Santo makes it into the Hall of Fame at last. The Hall was pretty embarrassed the last time the Veterans Committee whiffed. As Jack Brickhouse used to say, keep your fingers crossed, you Cubs fans.