Only 34 days until pitchers and catchers report…. All has been quiet for the most part on the North Side of Chicago the first 10 days of the New Year. There was an announcement on Tuesday about more non-roster invitees to Spring Training, but other than that….nothing much at all, not even the daily updates on Cliff Floyd. Some of the silence was broken on Wednesday from 1060 West Addison and around the league.
So, let’s play a little catch-up with news from earlier in the week…. possible arbitration problems on the horizon? Additions to the outfield? The return of a Cub favorite, an interesting anniversary in Cubs History and a few more odds and ends…. Bruce Miles had an interesting report in the Daily Herald on Wednesday. He brought up the fact the Cubs could have problems avoiding arbitration hearings with Carlos Zambrano, Will Ohman and Mark Prior. The Cubs have not had a salary arbitration hearing with a player in 12 years and Miles thinks that could end this year.
The Cubs are wanting to sign Zambrano to a new contract before the season starts but according to Miles they might agree to a 1-year deal to avoid arbitration, get him to Spring Training on time and take care of the contract before the season starts. Barry Zito’s contract will have an effect on Zambrano’s new deal and according to Miles the Cubs will try to get him to give a “hometown discount” and sign a contract in the range of the Roy Oswalt (5 years, $73 million) and Chris Carpenter (5 years, $63.5 million) deals.
The obvious doubt with Mark Prior’s health will play a role in the Cubs avoiding arbitration with him. Miles thinks they will offer Prior a similar contract to the one he received last year, $3.65 million. While the Cubs can decrease his pay by 20%, Miles does not think that will happen. Prior’s status for the season is very uncertain to say the least and on February 14th the Faithful will have a good idea if the very talented right-hander will be able to pitch and win games for the Cubs this season.
Will Ohman almost went to arbitration last year and according to Miles that is likely to happen this year. Ohman is apparently looking to break the million-dollar mark this season.
The 22nd Annual Cubs Convention is just over a week away and on Wednesday the Faithful found out that one of the Cubs icons, that has been absent at past conventions, will be in attendance. According to a report from Barry Rozner in the Daily Herald, Mark Grace will be in attendance for the first time since 2000. Grace and former Cub President Andy MacPhail have long been rumored to not get along….to say the least and Grace should be welcomed with open arms when the Convention starts next Friday.
Jacque Jones, Cliff Floyd and the Outfield…. According to the report by Bruce Miles there is nothing new going on with either player. According to a report by Ken Rosenthal on FoxSports.com, the Cubs are interested in adding two outfielders, Cliff Floyd and a stop-gap for Felix Pie. The names mentioned are Steve Finley and Darin Erstad. According to Rosenthal they are both on the Cubs radar along with a possible trade for Ryan Church…there is also a mention of Bernie Williams from Rosenthal but he states he is not on the Cubs radar.
The latest from around the league….
Mark Mulder resigned with the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday. Mulder and the Cards agreed to a 2-year, $13 million dollar contract. According to a report on ESPN, there is a club option for 2009 and if he makes 30 starts in 2007 and 2008 the deal could be worth $45 million. Mulder is not expected to be ready to pitch for the Cardinals until June.
Rafael Palmeiro is looking to play in 2007 according to a report on Yahoo.com. Apparently Palmeiro feels he can still hit and feels enough time has passed since the news surfaced in 2005 that he tested positive for steroids.
Javy Lopez signed a 1-year deal with the Rockies on Tuesday according to a report from the Associated Press.
Tim Worrell retired after 14 years on Wednesday. Worrell pitched one season for the Cubs back in 2000 and was 3-4 with a 2.47 ERA in 54 games with 3 saves.
Bobby Murcer had brain surgery last month to remove a tumor after ungoing an MRI on Christmas Eve. On Wednesday the announcement was made that the tumor was malignant. Murcer is currently a broadcaster for the Yankees and played for the Cubs from 1977 to 1979. He has won three Emmy Awards for broadcasting Yankee ballgames. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bobby Murcer and his family.
A Very Interesting Article from Scouts.com about Sean Gallagher from December 29th….well worth the read especially after the announcement of his invitation to Spring Training.
A Few Dates from Cubs History….
January 10, 1963…. P.K. Wrigley hired retired Air Force Colonel Robert V. Whitlow as the first “athletic director” of a Major League club. Whitlow left the Cubs almost 2 years later on January 7, 1965.
January 11, 1977…. 30 Years ago the Cubs traded Rick Monday and pitcher Mike Garman to the Dodgers for Bill Buckner, Ivan DeJesus and Jeff Albert. DeJesus has returned to the Cubs and was later traded to the Phillies for a little known third baseman by the name of Ryne Sandberg.
CCO News and Notes…. The long process of moving the site to a new server is almost complete. I would like to thank everyone for their patience. The site should load faster and those server errors will be eliminated. The new design is also well underway and we are doing everything we can to have it up and running before the convention but it will be a stretch at this point. The CCO will be at the Cubs Convention next Friday through Sunday and will have first hand accounts and photos of the events and meetings. Finally, look for an intriguing write-up that will run on Monday.
Well, that’s the news and I’m sticking to it!!!