News from Cubs Convention

The Cubs are holding their version of FanFest this weekend, with the catchy name “Cubs Convention,” and local reporters who cover the team were given an interesting story angle tonight, courtesy of manager Lou Piniella.

Piniella basically left the impression that trade talks for Brian Roberts are dead. He doesn’t expect the team to add another infielder and seems resigned to taking the current roster to spring training. His remarks were on the record.

But were they on the mark?

That assessment contradicts what Orioles president Andy MacPhail told me a few hours ago. He insisted that nothing has changed and nothing is dead, and labeled rumors of a proposed 7-for-2 trade between the clubs as “pure fiction.”

The two Orioles in this scenario are Roberts and Erik Bedard, and it’s conceivable that the Cubs inquired about obtaining both of them. If that’s true, it doesn’t sound like the talks progressed very far, judging by MacPhail’s reaction.

It now appears that the Cubs would be willing to part with Rich Hill if they could get Roberts and Bedard in return, but the Orioles haven’t shown a willingness to package their two bargaining chips in the same trade. And at least two people in the organization don’t believe the Cubs have enough to offer in such a blockbuster. It makes more sense to milk the Mariners’ roster in a Bedard trade.

That is, if the Orioles and Mariners could reach an agreement, one that still would have to include Adam Jones, and perhaps Brandon Morrow.

Are we having fun yet?