The Week Ahead

Updated – 3:34pm CT – Yankees Exercise Option on Sheffield
Updated – 8:49pm CT – Sosa May Try a Comback – Not with the Cubs

This week there should be some actual news come from the Northside of Chicago. The Cubs’ organizational meetings start on Tuesday (November 7th) and last until Friday (November 10th). The free agent filing period ends on Saturday, November 11th and the free agent signing period begins one week from today. Many rumors are floating around baseball right now, some may turn out to be true but as one respected columnist said this week, “Sometimes we just make stuff up and when in doubt we say a player will be heading to (insert New York team here).” The General Managers meeting in Naples, Florida is from November 13-November 17….so the eerily quiet Cubs should be making some noise very soon.

Tickets for the 22nd Annual Cubs Convention go on sale at 10:00am CT on Monday. MLB.com has introduced this year’s “Free Agent Frenzy” contest, more from the rumor mill, a possible return for a fallen hero and changes here at the CCO….

2007 Cubs Convention…. Tickets for the 22nd Annual Cubs Convention go on sale Monday morning at 10:00am CT. The convention will be held at the Hilton in Chicago from January 19th – January 21st and the 3-day weekend pass will sell for $50 per ticket. Proceeds from the Cubs Convention goes to Cubs Care. The CCO spoke with John McDonough and Joe Rios last year about the history of the Cubs Convention and the annual event always sells out….have fun in the virtual waiting room.

Juan Pierre…. The Cubs centerfielder is starting to make his rounds this off-season. The Miami Herald reported that Pierre would like to return to the Marlins because that is where his family is but the Herald doubts the Marlins can afford him. The Sun-Times mentioned Pierre could end up with the Sox. Pierre has taken the backseat so far this off-season to Gary Matthews, Jr.

Gary Matthews, Jr. …. The Sun-Times feels that Matthews could be too expensive for the White Sox but mentions that his OBP is much better that Pierre or Scott Podsednik. The Sun-Times states that Podsednik is all but gone from the Southside and if he is still on the roster in February than something went wrong. The Sox are looking to replace Brian Anderson who struggled in 2006. Matthews has garnered a lot of attention so far this off-season from many teams. Matthews had a break out season for the Rangers last year and has become a human highlight reel….ala Jim Edmonds.

Carl Crawford…. The Sun-Times also mentions that the Sox might have enough to pry the very talented outfielder from the Devil Rays.

Nomar Garciaparra…. The Boston Herald thinks that Nomar could end up back in Chicago at 3rd base if Aramis Ramirez leaves. The Dodgers have expressed interest in having him back but resigning Nomar could hold back progress of the Dodgers’ prospects….James Loney and Andy LaRoche. Speaking of Nomar coming back to Chicago….has anyone noticed the online poll on Chicago Sports.com? Who will play 3rd for the Cubs in 2007? Check it out.

Greg Maddux…. After winning his 16th gold glove last week Maddux’s future with the Dodgers is uncertain according to a report in the L.A. Times. Ned Colletti stated before the season ended that he wanted Maddux back and Maddux said he wanted to return. But the Dodgers have decided to spend their off-season money on a front-line starter, a big bat and bullpen help. Eric Gagne’s days in Dodger blue looks to be all but over (they paid the $1 million dollar buyout and declined his $12 million dollar option) and Colletti is looking to spend Maddux’s money elsewhere. The future Hall of Famer is looking for a 2-year contract and according to the L.A. Times he is not expected to take much of a pay cut from the $8 million per year he averaged over the past 3 seasons. Colletti has not spoken with Scott Boras since the end of the season but a meeting has been planned for this week.

The Dodgers…. According to the L.A. Times, the Dodgers are expected to make a big push for Barry Zito, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee and Aramis Ramirez.

Gary Sheffield…. The Yankees are expected to pick-up Sheffield’s option today and according to a report in Newsday they are looking to trade him to a National League team. The Cubs, Giants and Phillies are among the rumored destinations for Sheffield in the NL and the Indians, Orioles, Rangers and White Sox are among the AL teams rumored to be interested in the disgruntled, but talented outfielder. The Yankees are rumored to be willing to pay at least $4.5 million of the $13 million Sheffield is owed next season if he is traded. Sheffield as stated that any teams interested in him should talk to him directly first and he is wanting a contract extension to play anywhere else but New York next season.

Vernon Wells…. According to a report in the Metro, the Cubs are planning a big trade pitch to the Blue Jays for Wells. If the Cubs pull off the trade, they must lock him up and not allow another Juan Pierre situation to develop.

Sammy Sosa…. Several reports on Saturday, including one from the Chicago Tribune, has stated that Slammin’ Sammy is looking to return to baseball next season. The former Cub is just 12 home runs shy of 600 and a report on ESPN stated that is his prime reason for a comeback. Sosa declined an invitation to Spring Training last season….a non-guaranteed offer from the Washington Nationals for $500,000.

Off-Season storylines…. The CCO’s favorite off-season grader, Dayn Perry of FoxSports.com, has a report about the top storylines of this off-season. Like most of Perry’s work….it is a good read.

Marcus Giles…. Most have a lot of respect for the scrappy 2nd baseman of the Braves, Ken Rosenthal thinks he could end up with brother Brian in San Diego this off-season. The Braves are interested in Scott Linebrink, and tried to acquire him last year. The Giants, Reds and Cardinals have also shown interest. If Giles ends up in San Diego Rosenthal feels he will play 3rd base.

Adam Dunn…. According to Rosenthal, the Astros are no longer interested in trading for the left fielder. The Astros have turned their attention to Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee.

MLB.com Free Agent Frenzy…. MLB.com is running a contest for their readers to pick the destinations of this year’s free agent class….the winner gets Opening Day tickets to their favorite team.

Additions to the CCO…. As many of you may have noticed….the changes to the CCO have begun. The new message board, the CCO Forum, is up and ready to use. Plus we have added the “Feedburner” function to the site. If you want the latest from the CCO emailed to you….that is your option. The Feedburner will email you a notice of all new articles published to the CCO as soon as they are posted. Another addition is the email function at the bottom of all articles, if you know a Cubs fan that has yet to be a regular here at the CCO….you can email them links to the articles that might interest them the most. There are several other additions and design changes in the works….just keep an eye out.

Well, that’s the news, rumors and additions and I’m sticking to them!!!!

Update - According to a report on ESPN.com as expected the Yankees have exercised the option on Gary Sheffield in order to trade him.

Update – According to a report by Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune, Sammy Sosa may play in the Majors in 2007 but it will not be for the Cubs. Sullivan explained that Sosa did an interview for the Vineline recently but a meeting between him and Jim Hendry is not going to happen anytime soon. If Sammy get to 600, it looks like it will be for another club.

Quote of the Day

"The struggle you're in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don't give up." - Robert Tew
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