Lilly didn't know it at the time, but Cubs general manager Jim
Hendry got the deal done from a hospital bed while hooked up an EKG
"That's the kind of attitude that we players can take on the
field with us," Lilly said Friday. "Do whatever it takes and
whatever's necessary to win."
Lilly and Hendry met face-to-face at Wrigley Field, where the
free-agent pitcher's $40 million, four-year deal was formally
Last week, the 51-year-old Hendry checked himself into an
Orlando-area hospital during the baseball winter meetings and wound
up having an angioplasty. Lilly said he didn't know until the next
day that Hendry was hospitalized.
"I guess it was the scare of a lifetime that unfortunately
happened when it did," Hendry said. "It's kind of ironic that it
was just a week ago, eight days ago, and Ted's here. It's a good
The Cubs went 66-96 this year, the worst record in the NL. Since
then, they've been busy overhauling the team.
Lou Piniella was hired as the new manager and free agent Alfonso
Soriano signed a $136 million, eight-year contract. They also
re-signed third baseman Aramis Ramirez for $75 million over five
years, added free agent second baseman Mark DeRosa ($13 million),
acquired left-hander Neal Cotts in a trade with the White Sox and
re-signed pitchers Wade Miller and Kerry Wood and backup catcher
Chicago also finalized a $1.05 million, one-year contract Friday
with first baseman-outfielder Daryle Ward and is closing in on a
three-year contract with right-hander Jason Marquis worth about $21
"So far, it's been real good," Hendry said. "You don't want
to get too comfortable. Even if it's a minor move or two moves that
are left, I'm not comfortable that we're ready to go to camp yet.
But I'm very happy with the way it's progressed."
Hendry said he's still looking for another outfielder, perhaps
Cliff Floyd, but isn't going for anyone who could impede minor
leaguer Felix Pie's path to the majors.
Pie, the Cubs' top prospect, could be the center fielder this
season. While Hendry said he's done looking for pitchers, he
wouldn't say if the Cubs had signed Marquis yet.
As for his health, Hendry said he's on some medication and is
focused on exercising more and eating better, promising reporters
he'd be "a slimmer guy by the time we break for camp."
"I'm amazed at how much better I feel, compared to how I
thought I'd feel," he said. "I feel a lot better than I have,
really, for the past couple of years."
The 30-year-old Lilly receives a $4 million signing bonus,
payable next month, and salaries of $5 million in 2007, $7 million
in 2008 and $12 million in each of the next two years.
Lilly was 15-13 with a 4.31 ERA in 32 starts for the Toronto
Blue Jays last season. He had to pass a physical for the agreement
to be finalized.
"We're thrilled to have Ted," Hendry said. "It made perfect
sense as the guy to pursue. We feel like we have the perfect guy to
pitch behind Carlos [Zambrano]."
With only three starts as a National Leaguer, during his time
with Montreal, Lilly figured he would stay in the American League.
"It wasn't one of the teams I expected would come after me,"
he said. "Certainly it worked out very well."
Lilly broke in with the Expos in 1999 after being traded from
the Dodgers, the team that initially drafted him. He has a 59-58
with a 4.60 ERA in a major league career that also included stints
with the New York Yankees and Oakland.
Lilly said he's not worried about pitching at Wrigley Field,
where the wind can blow fly balls into the famous bleachers.
"Wrigley excites me," he said.
Lilly will wear No. 30. He said his previous jersey -- 31 -- was
going to be retired by the Cubs in honor of Greg Maddux.