There's no place like home for the holidays, and that's where I'll be the next couple of weeks as I use up my remaining vacation time. But I will be checking in from time to time. We better clear the decks anyway since that last blog is getting a little lengthy, as much fun as it's been.
Anyway, I've talked with a few people about the New York Post story that had the Yankees interested in Carlos Zambrano. One Cubs guy said something to the effect of "the price is too high for the Yankees even though we've never talked."
For the record, Z's agent, Barry Praver (who is always accessible), sent me an e-mail saying: "Jim (Cubs GM Hendry) has not approached us about Carlos waiving the no-trade provision of his contract nor is Carlos interested in waiving it."
As you know, teams can talk about and ask about and dream about players all day long, but that doesn't mean there is a trade happening. Such is the case here. And as you further know, I think it would be a huge mistake to trade Zambrano. He is his own worst enemy at times, but the Cubs are better off with him than without him. As of now, the rotation has three sure things: Z, Dempster and Randy Wells. Carlos Silva now is in the mix as are Jeff Samardzija and Tom Gorzelanny. Take Z out of that mix and you've really got a potential mess on your hands.
Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all. Thanks for making the blog so much fun. Some of my faves from 2009:
--Ice skating with Ryan Dempster Saturday at the new rink at Wrigley. Demp took time out to talk with my daughters along with every kid who came by. Demp threw out a "first pitch" to Stan Mikita to open the rink. Owner Tom Ricketts wanted a "nice slow pitch." And Demp was on ice skates when he delivered the pitch to good old No. 21 of the Hawks.
--Watching Derrek Lee have the great year he had.
--Talking with Koyie Hill every day. Koyie is a guy who knows all the reporters' names and uses them. It was great to see him put in a full year in the big leagues.
--Watching Ted Lilly compete.
--Watching Aramis Ramirez hit. You don't think the Cubs missed this guy?.
--Talking with Big Z. You never know what he's going to say.
--Dealing with the Cubs' media-relations staff. They run a nice operation and provide help at a moment's notice. Kudos to Peter, Jason, Dani and the rest.
--Working with baseball ops. Jim Hendry takes his fair share of criticism here and elsewhere, but he's always accessible. His staff of Randy Bush, Chuck Wasserstrom and the crew always help me look before I leap in print. Sometimes I listen.
--Interviewing Milton Bradley in St. Louis. 'Nuf said.
--Eating dinner at Vito's in Mesa during spring training.
--Talking ball with Pat, Ron, Len and Bob.
--Seeing Alfonso Soriano's smile.
--Watching Carlos Marmol, when he's in the strike zone.