From Paul Sullivan on the Chicago Tribune baseball blog Wednesday afternoon:
Baltimore president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told reporters in Ft. Lauderdale Wednesday that a Brian Roberts deal with the Cubs is off the table.
From Jeff Zrebiec, writing on the Baltimore Sun Web site Wednesday evening:
Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail acknowledged today that it's unlikely that Roberts will be traded before Monday's season opener against the Tampa Bay Rays at Camden Yards.Sullivan's no-trade report sounds more definitive and final than the story in the Sun, but either way it looks like Brian Roberts will be a Baltimore Oriole on Opening Day and very likely, until at least mid-season, when the O's could start shopping him to any then-contending teams inclined to deal with Non-Trader Andy...the Cubs, perhaps.
MacPhail has been in trade talks with the Chicago Cubs about Roberts for several months, but the talks stalled over the past week or so and it's a long shot that they'll heat back up any time soon, according to two industry sources.
In other Cubs personnel news, Lou Piniella decided on the make-up of his bench: Mike Fontenot (884 OPS this Spring), Henry Blanco (912 OPS), Daryle Ward (10 RBI in 38 AB), Ronny Cedeno (14 hits this Spring; 6 for extra bases), and newly acquired Reed Johnson.
No, the name of Matt Murton is not on the list, and yes, the Cubs are hoping to trade him.
"Murton's had a good spring. We like him. But we're going to carry 12 pitchers... If Matt's not here with us, I hope we can find a major-league job for him."