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The off-season free agent frenzy officially began at 12:00am eastern this morning, so the 148 players that filed for free agency are free to negotiate and sign new contracts with other teams. Jim Hendry was unable to resign Kerry Wood before he lost exclusive negotiating rights with the club’s former ace. According to a late report in the Chicago Tribune, Hendry still thinks “a deal can be done.

The first of the post seasons BBWAA awards were handed out on Monday. Ryan Braun of the Brewers was named the NL Rookie of the Year and Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox was voted the American League Rookie of the Year. The American League Cy Young Award will be announced later today.

The biggest news from the North Side of Chicago on Monday was the trade of Jacque Jones and cash to the Tigers for Omar Infante. Here is the rest of the rumor mill, including an addition and a subtraction….

The Cubs….

More on Kerry Wood…. The late report on Monday night in the Tribune stated Hendry and Wood’s agent, Pat Rooney, have “been speaking.” The Cubs will have competition for the services of Wood, the Rangers are rumored to be very interested.

Hendry said the upcoming Mitchell Report will not have an affect on “the way he conducts his off-season approach.

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune late Monday night, Jim Hendry could “try to pull off a trade for Carl Crawford.” According to the report it “would probably take Rich Hill, Eric Patterson and a couple more prospects.

Steve Henson recently examined the Cubs off-season plans.

Felix Pie, Sam Fuld and Ronny Cedeno? Yes, Ronny Cedeno could join the mix of Pie and Fuld to fill the vacancy in the Cubs’ outfield with the trade of Jacque Jones on Monday. Apparently Cedeno has been working on learning how to play the outfield….Jerry Hairston, Jr. anyone?

Jim Hendry has a plan according to the Associated Press:

“We’d like to add some speed and more left-handed hitting in the outfield and keep an eye on pitching. It will be a daily stay-on-top-of it. We’ll try to show up in Spring Training with a lot better club.”

Dayn Perry thinks the Cubs should go after Francisco Cordero.

Kosuke Fukudome is everywhere….here is the latest from Dayn Perry. John Donovan, from SI.com, stated “the Cubs are going hard after Fukudome.” Donovan said there are “questions about his elbow” and Fukudome is not a “huge home run threat” but he could hit 25 a year at the Major League level. Donovan said Fukudome would “look good near the top” of a lineup that includes Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano.

The Cubs were rumored to be interested in reliever Hitoki Iwase. Iwase decided on Sunday to stay with the Chunchi Dragons for the 2008 season. The southpaw is off the market.

The Mariners will be “major players in the bidding for Hiroki Kuroda.” Kuroda has stated he will make the move to MLB next season but several reports are indicating Kuroda’s desire to play on the West Coast in a “warmer” climate.

Around the League….

The newly renamed Rays have made contact with Michael Barrett. And the Cubs’ former catcher is on the Rockies radar as well.

Miguel Cabrera could be reunited with Ozzie Guillen according to Ken Rosenthal.

SI.com, on the eve of free agency, mentioned the “Best Free-Agent Contracts of the Last 30 Years.”

Quote of the Day

"What scares me is what scares you. We're all afraid of the same things." - John Carpenter

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