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by Derek Smart
Those of you prone to squeamishness may want to look away:
The Cubs still need a right fielder. General manager Jim Hendry hasn't been able to swing a trade Milton Bradley from the Los Angeles Dodgers seems a dim possibility now so Hendry may turn to the free-agent market.
One name on Hendry's radar screen is Jacque Jones, who has spent his seven-year career with the Minnesota Twins. Jones made $5 million this year, and Hendry has had recent exploratory talks with Jones' agents.
That comes from Bruce Miles' piece in this morning's Daily Herald, and the idea is backed up in the Sun-Times.
In case I wasn't clear the first time, let me reiterate my position when it comes to Mr. Jones.
He might just be exactly the sort of player the Cubs cannot afford to take on. For a club that's already short on OBP, to bring in a man with a career .327 mark - who hasn't been at or above that level since 2003 - would be suicide. He has some pop and some speed, but not nearly enough to make up for his problems reaching base.
The bad news here beyond the mere fact that Jones is even being considered is that Hendry has been very vocal about his intention to fill the remaining position player holes via trade, and his turning to a free agent option, even as a bargaining ploy, indicates that not all is moving swimmingly on that front.
However, there is a bit of relief to be had from this statement in the Sun-Times piece:
Hendry won't offer Jones a long contract because he doesn't want to get tied up with anyone too far into the future with outfield prospect Felix Pie possibly a year away -- or less -- from being inserted into the Cubs' lineup.
Okay, so the idea that the club still thinks Pie is almost ready is troubling, but the thought that they're unwilling to go for a longer-term deal with Jones essentially takes them out of the running - or at least one would think so - and there's nothing but good in that.
Still, if you're like me, you're bothered by the implied lack of progress in acquiring players who could truly help this team, and nasty thoughts of Jones or not, that's what's really scary.