- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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As a sidenote to the Adrian Gonzalez trade debacle between the Padres and the Red Sox, one major league source told ESPNChicago.com that the Cubs did more than kick the tires when inquiring about the availability of the San Diego All-Star first baseman over the past few months.
The source said that there were conversations between the two teams, but it never got to the point where the Padres asked for specific Cubs prospects.
The Cubs were led to believe that San Diego was going to hold on to Gonzalez until at least the early part of the 2011 season to market the San Diego native in order to sell tickets after another solid season by Gonzalez and his team in 2010.
Super agent Scott Boras, the agent for first baseman Carlos Pena, has said that he’s had conversations with the Cubs and numerous other teams about Pena’s availability as a free agent.
“He’s a Gold Glove caliber first baseman,” Boras said. “He’s a guy that gives you power and run production.”
I asked Boras if he has had any recent conversations with the Cubs about Pena.
“There’s a guy in Chicago [general manager Jim Hendry] that you should talk to about that,” Boras said.
The Cubs are among three teams in the bidding for fomer Cy Young award winner Brandon Webb. The Washington Nationals, who made the first big splash here at these meetings, signing Jayson Worth to a $126-million contract, are also said to be interested in signing Webb.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo originally signed Webb with the Arizona Diamondbacks when Rizzo was the team’s scouting director. Webb has not pitched competitively in the major leagues since opening day 2009, when he developed shoulder problems.
The Cubs had a scout watch Webb pitch in the Arizona Instructional League in early November.
Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman expressed sadness at the passing of Ron Santo. Riggleman managed the Cubs from 1995-99 and appeared on a radio show that Santo hosted for the Cubs manager before every game.
“Ronnie loved the Cubs,” Riggleman said. “That was the great thing about him, Ernie [Banks] and Billy [Williams]. They loved the team, even after they left. They always supported the Cubs. They never complained about how they were being treated. He was a legend. He was a great guy to be around. I’m just glad he’s not in pain.”
The Cubs talked to the Padres about Adrian Gonzalez, according to a source.