Chicago native Floyd signs with Cubs

Cubs add Floyd to fold

CHICAGO -- Cliff Floyd can't wait to enjoy his mother's home cooking on a regular basis.

The Cubs completed their free agent acquisitions Wednesday, signing Floyd to a one-year, $3 million incentive-loaded contract with a mutual option for 2008. It's a homecoming for the outfielder, a Chicago native who was a three-sport star in baseball, football and basketball at Thornwood High School in South Holland, Ill.

"It's been a dream of mine for a long time," Floyd said about playing for the Cubs. "I wished I would've been drafted by them. My family's been behind me in every decision I've made, but they were definitely hoping this opportunity would present itself. I look forward to coming home and playing."

When Floyd was growing up, he would dash home after school to watch the Cubs' day games on television.

"The man upstairs put me here and I'm going to take full advantage of it," he said. "I've thought about it numerous nights. It's been a long time since my heart was pumping for a press conference, but it's pumping today."

Floyd, 34, batted .244 in 97 games with the New York Mets last season, hitting 11 homers and driving in 44 runs. He gives new Cubs manager Lou Piniella a much-needed left-handed bat and some balance. The Cubs outfielders now include Floyd, Alfonso Soriano, Jacque Jones, Matt Murton, Angel Pagan and possibly Felix Pie.

"It just gives us a lot of depth," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "It will enable us to survive if we have an injury. Obviously, our depth was a problem when [Derrek Lee] went down last year."

Floyd nearly played for Hendry at Creighton when the Cubs general manager was the coach there. In fact, Floyd still calls Hendry "Coach."

He has played for the Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins, Boston Red Sox and the Mets, and has a career .279 average. Floyd was limited to 332 at-bats last year because of an injured Achilles tendon but had surgery this offseason. The problem was a bone spur that was rubbing his Achilles. Floyd predicts he'll be nearly 100 percent by Spring Training.

"I'll be close," he said. "I'm working every day, Monday through Friday. They tell me I'm ahead of schedule. I look forward to being ready for camp. Anything less than that would disappoint me. I tried to play through it, which was probably the wrong thing to do. I feel good. I don't think they'll have to baby me. I want Lou to put me out there and help the team win."

Where will Piniella put Floyd? It depends. He played left field last season for the Mets, but has also played right, center and some first base. Is Floyd ready to platoon?

"I think everybody likes to play," he said. "I think the main thing is doing what the team needs me to do. I mean that sincerely. If you want to win, you do what the team needs you to do to win. If you talk about platooning and all this stuff, I don't think it becomes an issue. If I go out and play like I know I can play, you won't hear that word [platoon] the rest of the season."

Hendry said he's looking forward to a lineup with Floyd, Lee and Aramis Ramirez.

"This really helps balance our left, right situation," Hendry said.

Floyd said the move is a good challenge, and that he has "a little chip on his shoulder."

"The chip is when you're hurt, and it gives you that edge again -- that type of chip," Floyd said. "For eight years, you might have gotten complacent. You had a contract, and everything was cool. This gives me a chance to play for my hometown. I have a general manager I've wanted to play for since I was 17, 18 years old. I think I've got a lot to show."

Floyd is the sixth new free agent added to the Cubs for the 2007 season, joining Soriano, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis, Mark DeRosa, and Daryle Ward. The team has committed more than $300 million this offseason to players. Hendry may finally be finished -- sort of.

"I don't ever feel like you're done," Hendry said. "We're certainly not looking to sign any more free agents at this time. There's always spare parts and you can mix and match. I think we certainly have enough to go out and give Lou a chance to put a quality team together.

"Are we ever closed for business? I hope we never say that," Hendry said. "We'll keep the doors open. If we can tinker with the club, we'll do what we need to do to make it better."

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