Cubs' search for right match continues

Cubs' search for right match continues

DALLAS -- The Chicago Cubs are still looking for a leadoff man but not necessarily a shortstop, general manager Jim Hendry said Monday.

The Cubs had hoped to lure free agent Rafael Furcal to Chicago, but he has agreed in principle to a lucrative deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs' search continues, and Hendry said the team can fill its defensive needs with shortstops Neifi Perez and Ronny Cedeno.

"We'll try to find the best guy who fits," Hendry said Monday. "If they can hit in the front of the order, if they play short or second, it's a positive for us. If not, we'll look to the outfield for that."

Hendry would not discuss specific players mentioned in potential trades. Asked if he had talked to Cincinnati about one of its extra outfielders, Hendry said no.

"We have not met, but I'd certainly be willing to talk to anyone who had the possibility of being a trading partner for a productive outfielder," he said.

The Cubs have a vacancy in right field, and would like to add a left-handed bat. They're hoping to fill both spots with one player.

"For us to make a significant deal, it would certainly require some form of pitching going back, whether it was prospects or lower-level guys," Hendry said.

The Cubs arrived at baseball's annual gathering with plenty of work to do, and Hendry said there's no sense of urgency related to the Chicago White Sox winning the World Series or the fact that this is the last year of his contract.

"I don't remember ever going into the winter where I didn't feel we had to get a lot of things done," he said. "Some years in the offseason, the trades have worked out well and free agent signings have worked out better than others.

"My focus is we won 79 games. That's a bad year," he said. "Anybody who sits in this seat and thinks that's acceptable, that's wrong. The urgency for me is to rectify coming off a bad year. If the White Sox hadn't won, we still have 79 in the win column and that's never going to be acceptable as long as I'm doing it, and we have to try like heck to get it fixed."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.