Cubs turn focus to Roberts

After they were unsuccessful in their attempts to sign Kazuo Matsui, the Cubs have turned their attention to Baltimore’s All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts.

Roberts hit .290 with 12 homers, 57 RBIs and a .377 on-base percentage during the 2007 season. The switch-hitter would also give the Cubs another left-handed bat they had been seeking. The Orioles are seeking starting pitching and could go after a package that included one or more of the Cubs’ young arms, such as Rich Hill and/or Sean Marshall.

Braves talk to Miller

The Braves have been talking with the agent for free-agent catcher Damian Miller, though GM Frank Wren indicated Atlanta is more likely to find catching help via trade than free agent signing.

Mets eye Marlins utility man

The Mets are interested in Marlins infielder/outfielder Alfredo Amezaga, who hit .263 and scored 46 runs in 133 games during the 2007 season. Amezaga, who turns 30 next month, played all four infield positions and some outfield last season and is eligible for arbitration.

Headley on handGdjzqkjy

San Diego third base prospect Chase Headley was at the Winter Meetings on Wednesday and confirmed he’ll be in San Diego next month to get some time in the outfield. Headley, who makes his offseason home in Knoxville, has put on 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason, and is now up to 230.

Headley, the MVP of the Texas League, has been mentioned several times this week by other teams regarding trades. But the Padres are reluctant to move him in or second baseman Matt Antonelli in a deal.

Headley is blocked at the Major League level by Kevin Kouzmanoff but, if he takes well to the outfield, could make the 25-man Opening Day roster because the Padres feel his bat is Major League ready now.

Quick hits

? The Reds aren’t the only team trying to pry right-hander Mark Prior away from the Cubs. Prior, who made $3.575 million last season and is eligible for arbitration one last time before he can be a free agent after 2008, is also being pursued by the Padres, Phillies and Rangers. Prior, who is coming off shoulder surgery, isn’t expected to be ready to pitch until May at the earliest.

? The Dodgers are interested in free-agent center fielder Andruw Jones, but contrary to earlier reports, Jones was not in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Jones is also being pursued by Kansas City.

Apparently the sticking point is the number of years. Both the Dodgers and Royals are seeking short-term deals, while agent Scott Boras is seeking a longer deal for his client.

Asked if anything was imminent, Royals GM Dayton Moore replied: "Naw, I don’t know. There are some things that could happen, but I’m not holding my breath."

? The Reds have yet to enter into any talks with free-agent right-hander Brett Tomko, but they are interested in Glendon Rusch and Jon Lieber.

? The Rangers are looking at free-agent outfielders Milton Bradley and Corey Patterson, relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Eric Gagne and first baseman Sean Casey.

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