First off the Cubs are going to eliminate the names on the back of the home jerseys. There's no word on whether or not they will drop the red piping around the names. I hope so. I'd also love to see them lose the alternate blue jersey but that won't happen. If you're a uniform geek like I am you may enjoy Baseball Almanac's review of Cubs uniforms.
The Cubs avoided arbitration with three players on Tuesday. They inked backstop Michael Barrett to a three year $12 million deal.
Corey Patterson signed a one year $2.8 million contract.
In one of the funnier deals you will ever see the Cubs signed middle reliever Kyle "Sleepy" Farnsworth to a one year $1.975 million dollar deal. That money will buy a lot of drinks at Tai's 'til 4. If Farnsworth returns to his odd year form the Cubs will have gotten a deal.
On the Cubs two other arbitration eligible players the Cubs exchanged offers with Carlos Zambrano's and Aramis Ramirez's agents.
Zambrano asks for: $4 million
Cubs offer: $3.3 million
Ramirez asks for: $10.25 million
Cubs offer: $8 million
As most of you know, the Cubs have never allowed a player to go to arbitration since Andy MacPhail arrived from Minnesota. Reports have the Cubs agreeing to a one year deal with Ramirez before his arbitration hearing. The Cubs will follow that up by signing him to a multiyear deal, just like they did with Derek Lee and Kerry Wood last year. The Cubs should be able to find a resolution with Zamrano who was the Cubs best starter in 2004. Arbitration hearings get ugly, I have to hand it to MacPhail and Hendry for avoiding these hearings through the years.
In other news Jim Hendry added Scott Williamson as a minor league Free Agent. Williamson will not participate in Spring Training. The Cubs hope he will progress from October "Tommy-John surgery" and join the Cubs bullpen in July or August, just like Ryan Dempster did this past season.
The Bulls have given us plenty to cheer about the past few weeks. I had forgotten what it was like to watch professional sports in the winter. Great job Johnny Pax.