Out of options, out of town.
That's how it's been with the Cubs this year. Infielder Ronny Cedeno, center fielder Felix Pie, lefty Rich Hill and right-handed reliever Michael Wuertz all were out of minor-league options, and all found themselves traded by Cub GM Jim Hendry.
Hill went to the Orioles this morning for a player to be named later. Wuertz went a couple hours later to Oakland for a couple of minor-leaguers.
One thing I've learned about Hendry: He likes to keep the roster nice and tidy at spring-training time. Players out of options have to clear waivers if their club wants to send them to the minor leagues at the end of camp, and all of these now-former Cubs would have been claimed. By trading them, Hendry at least gets live bodies. He also saves a little more than $2 mil in salaries, and that's suddenly become important to the Cubs this winter.
Hill suddenly lost his command last spring training after walking no one in the entire Cactus League season in 2007. Maybe he'll find it with the O's. Wuertz spent about two months in the minor leagues last season after his slider flattened out. He's a good guy, and he carved out a nice little career for himself after going from starter to reliever in the minor leagues. In 2005, he led the Cubs in appearances, with 75.
Pitchers and catchers report at the end of next week. Great time to be in Arizona.