A slow MLB off-season heated up Monday, when the rich got richer, as the defending N.L. champion Phillies all but finalized a trade to bring them former Cy Young award winner Roy Halladay and the perennial World Series-contending Red Sox signed John Lackey, considered the best free agent starting pitcher on the market, to a five-year, $82.5 million contract.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Cubs GM Jim Hendry is eyeing 290 lb. former Pirates reliever Matt Capps, who is coming off a 5.80 ERA in ’09, and was non-tendered and released by Pittsburgh last week.        

“When I traded Jake Fox to Oakland for a bucket of ball a few weeks ago, I realized that we needed a new fat, funny guy in the clubhouse,” said Hendry. “Capps is fat, but I’m not sure if he is funny, but since he is a former Pirate and that’s where I get all our players from, he will have to do. A four-year deal for $52 million should be enough to lock him up I’d say.”

When asked if he was involved in any trade scenarios to bring Halladay to the Cubs, Hendry did say that he was close to landing the Blue Jays’ ace.

“We offered a straight-up trade of Mike Fontenot to Toronto, but they wouldn’t bite,” said Hendry. “When I spiced up the offer by throwing in Neal Cotts, it was already too late.”

By Jeremy Barewin