INDIANAPOLIS _ It's been a busy early morning of lobby mingling here at Indy. Walked over from my budget hotel to the big Marriott through a dusting of snow. One of the first guys I ran into was Jim Riggleman, the former classy manager of the Cubs and now the boss of the Nats.
Here's what I've heard so far:
--The Mets might be the elusive third team interested in Milton Bradley. We've all heard the rumors of the Cubs trading Bradley to the Rays for Pat Burrell and then flipping Burrell to the Mets for Luis Castillo. I've heard the Cubs have talked about Castillo, but word around the lobby is that the Mets might be interested in having Bradley themselves and putting him in their outfield. Stay tuned.
--Realistically, the Cubs are looking at May 1 for lefty Ted Lilly as being ready. Lilly is coming off shoulder surgery, and the Cubs may want to avoid pitching him in the cold weather of April. Of course, Ted will say he's ready by income tax day.
--The Cubs are mulling over seven or eight veteran right-handed relievers, according to one lobby-sitter. I talked with a Padres guy about Heath Bell. The Pads might want to move him and make Mike Adams their closer. But Bell is probably too rich for the Cubs' blood, as he'll seek a big raise in arbitration.
--As talked about before, the Cubs will try Jeff Baker some in the outfield in spring training. Lou seems to like Baker, and he could fill the old "Mark DeRosa" role of second baseman, third baseman, first baseman and outfielder.
We meet with both Lou and Ozzie this afternoon. More to come later.