‘Tis the Season

With Christmas just right around the corner and today being the first day of Winter, most teams appear to be tying up loose ends at this point. The Cubs are no exception. They announced on Wednesday that pitchers and catchers will report to Fitch Park in Mesa on February 14th with the first full workout to take place on February 15th. Position players are scheduled to report on the 19th with the first full team workout on February 20th….less than 2 months away with the first Spring Training game to take place on March 1st against the San Francisco Giants at HoHoKam Park. The Cubs also announced the promotion of Randy Bush to assistant General Manager on Wednesday as well.

Here is the latest from around the league, updates on Cliff Floyd and Jacque Jones, more from the rumor mill and the first prediction for 2007 that includes the Cubs.

Teams are continuing to hand out contract after contract for record amounts of money. This off-season has seen the 5th and 6th largest contracts in the history of the game handed out, not counting the more than $100 million that was shelled out from the boys in Beantown and Houston. This off-season marks the 30th winter of free agency and the contracts keep getting larger and larger but what price tag can an owner or a GM put on a World Series title?

According to a report in the L.A. Times, Major League baseball teams have spent $1.2 billion dollars already this off-season. Baseball is flush with cash and revenue from MLB.com, XM Radio ($650 million dollar contract) and new TV contracts are providing teams with extra sources of income. While the NFL is apparently America’s favorite sport in the 21st Century, baseball is still America’s Past Time….that was evident last season by record attendance throughout the league, with a few exceptions. The average salary in 2006 was just under $2.7 million and in 2007 that number could easily be $3 million….up 9% according to a report on ESPN.com. Baseball players are making money hand over fist but the pressure to perform and win is greater than ever before. Baseball generated $5.2 billion dollars in 2006 and could increase their revenues even more in 2007.

The Assistant GM…. According to the report on Cubs.com:

“Bush will sub for Hendry on some of the Cubs road trips to give the GM more time to look at the Minor League teams, and also continue to do some scouting.”

An Interview with Lou Piniella from Baseball America

A Breakdown of what teams have spent so far this off-season from ESPN. The Cubs are by far the biggest spenders at $294,550,000 the closest is the Red Sox at $166,100,000.

The Cubs have had their injury problems in the past but nothing beats what the Red Sox are going through with J.D. Drew. 5-years and $70 million is too much to pay for Drew and he has not even signed a contract yet and he is already becoming a nightmare for the Red Sox. Just wait until he under performs and the Red Sox Nation becomes his worst enemy.

Former Cub, Rondell White, signed a 1-year, $2.75 million dollar deal with the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.

Pete Rose will have an exhibit in the Reds Hall of Fame this Spring.

Receipt Please?…. The Seibu Lions bank account received a nice addition this week with a Boston return address on the envelope.

Off-Season Analysis…. Everyone has their own opinion of the off-season to this point whether it is the mainstream media or sites such as this. Here is some of the latest from the guys who get paid to tell you what they think. All worth the read….

Big Spenders from NBCSports.com

Money to Burn from the Sporting News (this one “loves” the Marquis signing)

National League team reports from the Sporting News

Big Bucks for Free Agent Starters from USA Today.com

Top 10 Remaining Free Agents according to Dayn Perry on FoxSports.com (Aubrey Huff is number 1 on his list)

Baseball Off-Season field of green from USA Today.com (a great photo of the back of Soriano in his Cubs’ jersey)

The Best Off-Season signings from Jon Heyman on SI.com

The Rumor Mill….

Cliff Floyd and Jacque Jones…. According to a report on Wednesday night in the Chicago Tribune by Paul Sullivan, Hendry declined comment on the report earlier in the day that the Cubs were close to a deal with Floyd. Sullivan said there has not been a deal reached but that Floyd has told his friends he will be signing with the Cubs. Sullivan mentioned the Cubs could be waiting to deal Jacque Jones before signing Floyd.

According to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates are among the top suitors for Jeff Suppan. Dave Littlefield, Pirates GM, was on XM Radio on Wednesday morning and sung the praises of Suppan and hopes his club is able to sign him….can anyone say Kenny Rogers. The Brewers, Mets and Cardinals are also interested in signing Suppan and many think he will try to stay in the National League Central.

According to a report in the Boston Globe, Sean Marshall and/or Carlos Marmol could be packaged in a deal to land the Cubs an outfielder.

Predications for 2007…. SI.com became the first to chime in with his predictions for 2007….can the Cubs actually win the Central?

The Transactions Wire….

Daily Transactions from CBS SportsLine

Daily Transactions from ESPN.com

Well, that’s the news and Happy Holidays from everyone here at the CCO!!!

Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein