Back from the winter meetings and back after attending the very moving Ron Santo service of last Friday. Thanks to all for the posts on that blog. I’ll be off for Christmas vacation starting later this week, but we’ll get to a few things here today and see how the upcoming days shape up. Here are some thoughts to get us started:
--The Cubs continue to look at former Diamondbacks standout Brandon Webb, who has been beset by shoulder problems the last couple of years. To sign Webb, the Cubs would prefer a low base with incentives.
--Matt Garza is still very much in play for the Cubs, who are still trying to get a hand on the Tampa Bay Rays’ appetite for moving the pitcher. Last week at the winter meetings, Rays manager Joe Maddon said Garza would be pitching for Tampa next year. Of course, managers say a lot of things (as we know from the last couple we’ve had on the North Side) based on their own self-interest. It’s still a story worth following.
--As we wrote last week, the only prospects the Cubs won’t move are Brett Jackson and Chris Archer. All the others would be on the table in trade talks. That includes Josh Vitters and Jay Jackson.
--The Cubs should finalize and announce their minor-league coaching and manager assignments later this week. They’re in the final stages now.
--The winter meetings are but one way-station in the long off-season. It's always nice to get something done at the meetings _ it's good for publicity purposes, and heck, you might as well do something if all the teams are there. But most teams' business is far from finished after the meetings. Checking a couple of past deals, the Cubs traded Milton Bradley last Dec. 18. Heck, they signed Bradley a month after the 2008 winter meetings. Kosuke Fukudome signed Dec. 19, 2007, after the meetings. And the Cubs made it a mixed New Year's Eve in 2008, signing Aaron MIles and trading Mark DeRosa.
--Hall of Fame ballots have gone out. I’ll put up my annual Hall of Fame blog and let you know whom I’m voting for and why. Should be fun.