Hendry busy building 2007 roster

Hendry busy building 2007 roster

CHICAGO -- Cubs general manager Jim Hendry appears to have both his infield and outfield in good shape. He'll head to Orlando this weekend and focus on the pitching.

"Obviously, we're going to be looking to add some pitching, and as we all found out, the market hasn't gone too fast, whether it's free agency or the trade market," Hendry said Thursday. "We've got a few balls in the air. We'll try to finish some business while we're down there.

"Hopefully, we're as fortunate in December as we were in November."

In November, Hendry and the Cubs went on a whirlwind spending spree, signing six free agents to more than $230 million, including the eight-year, $136 million package given outfielder and leadoff man Alfonso Soriano. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez signed a five-year, $75 million contract and second baseman Mark DeRosa agreed to a three-year, $13 million deal. Kerry Wood, Wade Miller and Henry Blanco also got new contracts, and the Cubs traded for lefty reliever Neal Cotts, and all of it was done within a week or so.

What's left to do? The rotation has some holes. Hendry denied an Internet report that he had offered free-agent pitcher Jason Schmidt a three-year, $44 million deal. He has talked to Schmidt's agents, but no offer was made. Hendry also said he has not talked to either Greg Maddux or his agents about the possibility of the right-hander returning to Chicago for a third time.

Hendry wouldn't specify which teams he has talked to, or what players they've discussed, but said it has been difficult to work out a trade for starting pitching.

"We've had a lot of discussions," Hendry said. "Some have led to closed doors and some have possibilities."

The Cubs would also like to get some help from the left side -- the lineup is very right-handed with the exception of outfielder Jacque Jones.

"Our priority might not be what position, but just try to get some left-handed hitting," Hendry said.

Hendry anticipated a busy week in Orlando at the Winter Meetings.

"I feel good about what we've done, but we have to get better still," Hendry said. "We had a good run for a couple weeks. I'd feel a lot worse now if a lot more pitchers had gone off the wall and we didn't have any. It's an important two or three weeks [coming up]."

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