ORLANDO, Fla. _ Wrapping things up here at the winter meetings and we have a few updates at the bottom of the entry here. Everybody can rest easy. The Cubs did not lose third baseman Marquez Smith or anybody else in the major-league portion of the Rule 5 draft. They did select pitcher Mason Tobin from the Angels, but they turned around and traded him to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations. Didn't the Cubs do something like this a few years ago? Oh, yeah, Josh Hamilton.
The Cubs did lose pitchers Ronny Morla and Casey Lambert in the minor-league phase. Morla came to the Cubs from Oakland in the Jake Fox trade. Lambert has recovered from Tommy John surgery. He was a sixth-rounder in Tim Wilken’s 2007 draft.
Smith had a nice second half with the bat at Iowa. He’s done only so-so in winter ball and has gone home already. There also are some concerns about Smith’s defense, and teams also would like to see if Smith can sustain his offense. He’ll be 26 in March, and we may get a look at him in spring training.
As far as the final day goes, Cubs GM Jim Hendry left early to attend today’s services for Ron Santo. Assistant GM Randy Bush pinch hit for Jim and said it was another late night talking to teams and agents. I haven’t been too hot on the Matt Garza rumors. Writer Marc Topkin from St. Pete wrote that Rays manager Joe Maddon said, "Matt Garza will be pitching for us.”
Yes, the Cubs do have some interest, but the Rays may be asking too much.
UPDATES: Had a chance to talk with Oneri Fleita for a few minutes today at the Rule 5. Oneri said about 12 players are attending a strength and conditioning camp in Mesa. Fleita said big-leaguers Ryan Dempster, Jeff Samardzija and Darwin Barney also are at the camp.
"They're doing really well," he said. "It's called Camp Colvin. I asked Tyler if it was OK to name it after him. I thought anybody who could who can go and work out like he did last year and put on 25 great pounds and improve his flexibility and running speed...he looked great as we all know."
Oneri said pitcher Hayden Simpson, the Cubs' No. 1 draft pick from 2010, will report to Mesa Sunday. Simpson battled mononucleosis after being drafted and did not pitch this year.
Shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee is working with a personal trainer in Korea, and the Cubs want him to put on about 15 pounds. Oneri estimated Lee has put on about 10 of those pounds.
I’m clearing out this afternoon.