Archive for Friday, July 13, 2001

Cubs still waiting on McGriff decision

Tampa Bay native must choose between playing for struggling hometown team or first-place Chicago

July 13, 2001


— Fred McGriff hasn't said yes. Then again, he hasn't said no yet, either.

McGriff was in Tampa Bay's lineup Thursday against Montreal. But he is still trying to decide whether to waive his no-trade clause and accept a trade that would send him to the Chicago Cubs.

"I've got a contract, I've got a no-trade clause that's about it," McGriff said. "Nothing's ever dead. We've got until July 31st, or whatever. I've got to do what I've got to do, everybody else has got to do what they've got to do."

Cubs president and general manager Andy MacPhail said he was still waiting for an answer from McGriff. There's no deadline, and MacPhail said he'll give the first baseman the time he needs to make up his mind.

The Cubs and Devil Rays have agreed to a trade that would give Tampa Bay two prospects in exchange for McGriff. But McGriff has a no-trade clause and must approve the deal.

"It's just going to take Fred a couple of days to work through things, and I certainly respect that," MacPhail said before the Cubs 5-1 victory over the crosstown rival White Sox. "He had the no-trade provision in there for a reason. That's his home and he wanted to stay close to his family," MacPhail added. "There are certain elements that are unique to Wrigley Field, particularly this summer, which I think are very attractive to him. So we will be patient and give Fred the time that he needs to make his decision."

Going from Tampa Bay, baseball's worst team in the first half, to the Cubs, who have the NL's best record, might seem like a no-brainer. McGriff could be part of a pennant race and play home games at a ballpark that's always packed instead of toiling for a struggling team that has the worst home attendance in the AL.

He's also having one of his most productive seasons, hitting a team-high .330 with 53 RBIs and 15 home runs.

But going to a playoff contender might not be enough for McGriff. Tampa Bay is his fourth team in 16 years. McGriff, 37, is a Tampa native who wants to be close to his family. He and his wife, Veronica, have two young children.

MacPhail said he'll continue to explore other possible deals as the Cubs try and bolster their offense for the second half.

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