Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Jones remains with Cubs -- for now

The Cubs and Marlins had agreed on a deal that would've sent outfielder Jacque Jones to Florida for a low-level minor leaguer.

The Cubs tried to get the deal done before Tuesday's game so that a roster spot could open up for right hander Billy Petrick. Instead, the team had to send Ryan Dempster to the disabled list, a move that put the Cubs' closer out for the rest of the first half. To make room for Petrick on the 40-man roster, Wade Miller was transferred to the 60-day disabled list, despite the fact that Miller had started 2 games with Iowa (AAA).

So why did the deal fall apart? According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Sam Zell, who had agreed to purchase the Tribune Company, blocked the deal thirty minutes before Tuesday's game, because he disagreed with sending nearly $7 million to the Marlins to complete the deal. Cubs' GM Jim Hendry, however, denied those allegations.

"At the end of the day, I just wasn't going to be rushed into it and make a deal that I didn't think was good for us," he said. "We just couldn't kind of round it off and finish it."

Lou Piniella, when asked about the trade, even started talking about Jones' tenure with the Cubs in the past tense.

Jacque Jones was ready to leave, as reporters gathered around his locker less than 45 minutes before first pitch. But when Jones was approached by reporters after the game, the troubled outfielder insisted his main concern was the Cubs. "Unless you want to talk about the game, I got nothing I want to talk about," said Jones. "I'd like for this team to keep playing how they're playing, winning games."

One thing is for certain though, after the position that Jim Hendry put Jacque Jones in, it would be best to try to trade Jones immediately. This means that his value has dropped considerably on the market and getting Eric Gagne from Texas is now highly improbable, though the Rangers, along with the White Sox, are expected to be the teams most interested in Jones. Designating him for assignment might be best as this would open up his roster spot and give the club ten days to either trade him or expose him to the waiver wire.

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