The Cubs Off-Season Report – 01/04/06

More Cubs Rumors, News, Transactions and Interesting Information

The first Cubs Off-Season news report of the year….The long weekend ended VERY quickly on Tuesday. All of baseball is scrambling to make their teams as good as possible before Spring Training starts on February 15th. The Internet and the radio outlets across the country were full of baseball news….in January. No matter what you may think of Bud Selig, baseball is thriving under his watch. I am a HUGE football fan but to have this much excitement surrounding baseball in January is UNBELIEVABLE.

The Cubs were busy signing Minor League contracts on Tuesday. According to several reports and an article on the Cubs signed Marquis Grissom, infielder and former Cub (2000-2003) Augie Ojeda and outfielder Mike Restovich all to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training. The speculation on XM Radio is the signing of Grissom signifies the end of the Corey Patterson era in Chicago.

Billy Beane was on XM Radio, the Barry Zito rumors are heating up again and there were many articles posted on various websites on Tuesday, all with interesting information about the Cubbies.

Let’s start with the news and tidbits from XM Radio on Tuesday. It was really great to hear all of the guys back and talking current baseball news. Buck Martinez was very informative on Tuesday morning. There was one of his many statements that stuck in my mind. He was talking about team payrolls and he said, “just because a team has the money to spend, it does not mean that they have to spend it.” With all of the uproar over the Cubs not spending money, that one really hit home. Mark and Buck talked about the Cubs and the rumors surrounding Mark Prior. They both said they would not trade Prior and they feel he is on the verge of being a dominant pitcher in the Majors. Martinez thinks Prior is mechanically sound. Martinez liked the signings of Marquis Grissom and Jacque Jones. Martinez said the Cubs have made major defensive improvements and likes all the moves the Cubs have made. He said they have sured up the bullpen with the signings of Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre and is surprised that Corey Patterson has not been traded yet and expected Patterson to have been traded during the Winter Meetings.

Buck Martinez brought up the Pirates interest in Aubrey Huff but mentioned the Devil Rays are very difficult to deal with and that is the reason the rumored trades have not been done.

What is going on in Baltimore? Beside the continued rants of Miguel Tejada, they lost Jeromy Burnitz. I could not believe the report I read on Tuesday morning about the Pirates nearing the deal with Burnie. Jeromy Burnitz has apparently agreed to a 1-year deal with the Pirates with a club option for 2007 according to a report on There were several Internet and radio reports last week that reported Burnitz had agreed to terms with the Orioles, so let’s wait on buying the new Burnitz jersey until he actually signs a contract. ran an article on Tuesday with all of the projected starting lineups for the 2006 season. is projecting the following for the Cubs: Barrett, Lee, Ramirez, Todd Walker at 2B, Ronny Cedeno at SS, Matt Murton in LF, Pierre and Jacque Jones in RF.’s projected starting rotation for the Cubs is Zambrano, Maddux, Prior, Rusch and Kerry Wood.

Speaking of Kerry Wood, there were several reports on Tuesday that indicated Woody will start throwing this month in Arizona. posted an article on Tuesday, “The Top 20 Questions of 2006”. The first question is “Is it the Cubs turn?”….Great!?!?! Why number 1? Anyway, Derrek Lee is mentioned in question 2 and the article also asks “Will Barry Zito be traded?” It is a very interesting article and worth the time. I just wish the Cubs were not the first question on the list.

Speaking of Barry Zito….the rumors are beginning to surface concerning the Cubs interest in the Oakland left-hander. There was a report last week on WGN Radio and confirmed in the Chicago Tribune and according to Ronnie Lane on Tuesday the latest rumor is the Cubs sending Rich Hill and Felix Pie to Oakland for Barry Zito.

The Sporting News released its power listings on Tuesday. “The Power 100” does not mention a single Chicago Cub or executive but does list Bud Selig (#4), Arn Tellem (#41, the agent for Nomar Garciaparra among others) and Scott Boras (#56).

Billy Beane was on XM Radio on Tuesday night with Joe Castellano. Joe asked him about Barry Zito. Beane skirted the Zito trade question. Beane did say he has to be very aggressive and listen to every offer for his players. Beane said because of Zito’s talent the offer would have to be overwhelming. Castellano asked him about Zito being on the last year of his current deal and if teams are concerned about trading for a player with only 1-year left on their current contract. Beane said he couldn’t concern himself with a trade and sign. He said that adds to the frustration of the player and the A’s will not get involved with those kinds of trades.

If Tuesday was any indication, the next 6 weeks should be very interesting. Remember to check in with the CCO for your updated Cubs News, if it happens you will be able to read about your Cubbies here and in ‘Cubs News from the Wire’.

Well, that’s the news and I’m sticking to it!!

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver