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12/11/08 4:33 PM EST

Cubs ready to move on after Peavy

Trade talk dominates Hendry's Meetings; lefty bat sorely needed

LAS VEGAS -- Cubs general manager Jim Hendry came to the Winter Meetings wanting a left-handed bat for his lineup but ended up spending most of his time considering whether he should bolster the pitching staff.

It was no deal for Jake Peavy, and even though adding the 2007 Cy Young Award winner would've made the Cubs' rotation stellar, it's still pretty darn good heading into the 2009 season. Hendry decided the price of personnel and the additional payroll was too high and bowed out. He entered the discussions feeling that adding Peavy would've been more than winning a hand at the blackjack table -- it would've been hitting the mega jackpot.

After telling the Padres "no" on Thursday, Hendry now can focus on finding an outfielder who will make Lou Piniella happy. Milton Bradley appears to be the front-runner among the free agents available, and that will be explored further.

There was some good news: The Cubs won't have to face CC Sabathia, who left the Milwaukee Brewers to sign with the New York Yankees.

Perhaps the strangest rumor of the week -- and there were several -- was one that speculated the Cubs were going to deal Carlos Zambrano. That's not going to happen either.

Deals done: The Cubs' potential deal with the Padres for Peavy was dismissed on Thursday after a lot of talking and walking by Hendry. The Cubs GM decided the price was too high to sign the right-hander and that the team already had a very good rotation without him. The Cubs did get a head start by acquiring Kevin Gregg from the Florida Marlins, and he will be a key part of the bullpen.

Rule 5 activity: The Cubs did not make a pick but did acquire a pitcher in a trade as they picked up right-handed reliever David Patton, who was selected by the Reds in the first round. Patton was 4-5 with a 3.54 ERA in 50 relief appearances and will be looked at for the bullpen.

The Cubs did lose left-handed pitcher Donnie Veal in the first round to Pittsburgh and lost two players in the Double-A portion in Yusuf Carter and right-handed pitcher Mark Holliman.

Goals accomplished: Hendry got the impression from representatives of free-agent outfielders available that the Cubs were their top choice. That should help in negotiations. He also talked to reps for Randy Johnson, who could be a part of the rotation, and catcher Paul Bako, who could return to the team as backup to Geovany Soto.

Unfinished business: Piniella left Vegas without a left-handed bat for his lineup, and that's a priority.

GM's bottom line: "We feel confident that before we get to camp, we're going to have a better baseball team than we had when the season ended. That's our goal."

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