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Monday, November 15, 2010
Hendry will have to be creative

By Bruce Levine

Andrew Cashner
Moving Andrew Cashner into the starting rotation could be an option for the Cubs in 2011.
ORLANDO -- The question of how the Chicago Cubs are going to be able to add a starting pitcher, reliever and run-producing first baseman is GM Jim Hendry's quandary going into the general manager meetings.

Hendry may have as little as $5 million in payroll flexibility going into this offseason. To Hendry's credit, he refuses to complain about payroll that may drop from $143 million in 2010 to $135 million in 2011.

"Tom Ricketts, Crane Kenney and I have had a few chats [on payroll]," Hendry said. "It's not a final number yet, but we've known for the last couple of months where we're going. The volume of payroll is not a negative or a detriment to winning. Other teams are winning with less.

"Payroll-wise we got ourselves into a spot where it went real high real fast. Sometimes those things lead to not being able to do everything you want to in an offseason. But it won't be a negative for us."

Hendry's creativity will be tested this offseason. Among the things they might want to do is trade Kosuke Fukudome, sign a Kerry Wood-type setup man and sign or trade for a starting pitcher. However with payroll constraints, the Cubs may decide to move Andrew Cashner from the bullpen into the rotation. Although Cashner is considered a two-pitch pitcher, he has a changeup that wasn't used during his time in the bullpen.

Without much money available, Hendry will have to be quick on his feet, possibly offering some of his minor-league talent to acquire a first baseman in a deal rather than spend the money on a free-agent first baseman. Hendry could also trade major league-level starting pitching for other teams' starting pitching.

  • My live chat from Orlando will start at noon CT Tuesday. You can submit questions here. Look forward to talking with a lot of you then.