A League of Her Own

Tuesday Cubs Headlines: The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year

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As if it wasn't enough that Kerry Wood is returning the Cubs, now the Bears have won the NFC North and Pat Hughes has been given a 5-year contract by WGN Radio.

Great day? Or the GREATEST DAY?

Play-by-play man Pat Hughes has agreed on a five-year contract extension to call Cubs games, WGN Radio announced Monday.

"Pat's voice on WGN has spoken to the legion of Cubs fans across the Midwest and beyond for many years -- and we're very fortunate to have such a great broadcaster behind the microphone for a long time to come," Tom Langmyer, the station's vice president and general manager, said in a statement. "We look forward to warmer weather and once again hearing Pat say, 'This ball's got a chaaaance ... GONE!'"

The 2011 season will be Hughes' 16th with the Cubs and 29th in major-league baseball (he spent 12 years with the Milwaukee Brewers before joining the Cubs).

Still to be determined is who will join Hughes as the radio color analyst replacing the late Ron Santo.

 

I'm sure WGN is kicking around the idea of having Dave Otto (who I like) or Keith Moreland (who I don't love in the booth) join Pat next season. But, like many of you, I would love to hear Pat call games by himself, a la Vin Scully. Let's be honest, as much as we loved Ron, Pat was carrying most of the weight in the booth by himself, anyway.

Need another reason to feel happy? Crazy Uncle Phil thinks the Royals got the better end of the Zach Greinke deal:

The Brewers sent 24-year-old shortstop Alcides Escobar, 24-year-old outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress to Kansas City for Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, both of whom are two years from free agency.

The only clear winner in the deal is Greinke. He gave the Royals six seasons, and they gave him the support to cope with depression and social anxiety disorder, which almost derailed his career as it was beginning. They didn't give him a chance to win, and that has become a top priority. He has that chance in Milwaukee.

Between the Royals and Brewers, I score the edge to the Royals. They have supplanted the Rays as the organization with the most 25-and-under talent and have given themselves a chance at a Twins-like run of contending for American League Central titles with an undersized payroll, beginning as soon as 2012 or '13.

And what, you ask, are the Cubs doing to keep pace with the Brewers? Well, mlbtraderumors.com will tell you:

8:54am: Webb is not in Texas and "other clubs are very much in play," a source tells MLBTR.  Sullivan now has an update saying Ron Washington has not met with Webb.  While the Rangers are in the mix, they have not met with the pitcher and have no plans to do so.

8:50am: The Rangers and Brandon Webb "could be getting close to a deal," reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  Sullivan hears Webb is in Texas and has met with Ron Washington and Mike Maddux.  Webb's agent Jonathan Maurer is expected to have further conversations with the Rangers today "to try to hammer out a deal."

The Cubs appear to be the Rangers' main competition for Webb, but Sullivan expects a deal with Texas to get done.

Oh.

I see.

I'm still trying to figure out if the Cubs think they can compete this season or not. If a Webb-to-the-Rangers deal happens, how the Cubs respond will tell the tale. Will they go hard after a Matt Garza or other hotshot young pitcher? Or will they stand pat and head into the season with what they have?

Only time will tell.

But for today, let's raise a glass (of something warm, beause it's freakin' freezing here in Chicago AGAIN), to the NFC North Champion Chicago Bears!

 

 

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89 Comments

Doc said:

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You would like Dave Otto. Blah!

JulieDiCaro said:

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I used to HATE Dave Otto, but he grew on me.

plamorte said:

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boo-urns.

gravedigger said:

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His slow-talking sort-of-annoying twang used to really bother me, but his slow and slacked speech belies the real insight he provides.

So, I agree.

Doc said:

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Grew on you like a tumor...and it's usually a good idea to have a tumor removed.

ZONK!!!!

Rich Beckman said:

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I would love to hear Hughes do it solo. He really was carrying the weight with Santo. Even when Santo contributed it was because Hughes would give him a verbal nudge "Ron, what about that..."

If the choice be Otto or Moreland, I would go with Moreland.

Doc said:

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I'd be all for Hughes going solo. That was pretty much what he did up in Milwaukee when he worked with Uecker. Uecker would do the first and second innings while Pat would do 3 through 6, and then Uecker would finish off the game.

My guess is if by some odd circumstance the Cubs chose to let Pat go solo, is would be some similar arrangement and we would be stuck with 4 innings of Judd screaming into the mic all by himself.

flyball said:

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I would be on board with Pat by himself for the season, but long term I really like 2 people in the booth

I like Dave Otto, maybe its because he reminds me of people in my hometown

summerguy said:

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I liked Keith Moreland in the booth with Pat... had a lot of insight and was entertaining too. Loved Ron there but wanted him to only do home games with Keith doing away games.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I know everyone loves Keith Moreland, but I think he's so boring.

Doc said:

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I guess you don't like a smart, and informative color commentator who actually has a good idea of what he's doing in the booth then.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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That was just the opening salvo in Julie's campaign to become the next Cubs radio color person.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Ha. I would definitley be more interested than Keith Moreland. Snotty and inappropriate, but interesting.

sloan peterson said:

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RE:Pat- how about guest play-by-play announcers? Round up about 5 or 6 candidates, and have each call a game with Pat. That way Pat could see if anyone would mesh with him,and WGN could see if they even want a play-by-play guy.You could even have a panel of wacky judges....

Doc said:

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Should I shoot you now?

sloan peterson said:

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Violence is not the answer. Besides look what "Undercover Boss" did for the profile of the Cubs....

Doc said:

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Violence may not be 'the' answer, but it is 'an' answer and it makes me feel much better. :)

berselius said:

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The way the front office is running things, they'll give the job to Todd Ricketts.

Doc said:

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I know it's your birthday and all...but you should also be shot for even suggesting that. Don't give them any ideas, dammit!

JulieDiCaro said:

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Happy Birthday, Buddy! Hope it's a great one!

jarowcliffe said:

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Ricketts probably has this in the works already...he will put up a statue and have a special day at the ballpark.

flyball said:

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can they have some sort of lighting that turns off when the candidate is voted out, or a microphone that turns away

flyball said:

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sorry, I had an image of 5 statues one of each of the candidates ala Hells Kitchen photos

jarowcliffe said:

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Just joking about this but the more I think about it the more I think it is an actual possibility knowing the Ricketts...they would cash in on a reality show surrounding this

jarowcliffe said:

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I would hope they would...it will be sort of Cubs Radio Survivor

JulieDiCaro said:

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I hate to break it to all of you, but Pat does play-by-play. We need a new color guy.

jarowcliffe said:

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That is a true statement...but I think the correct term is "color person"

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Person of color.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I'd like someone that's able to out-talk Judd Sirott in the fifth.

Aisle424 said:

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Sam Kinison is dead.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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It's too bad we can't look forward to Judd getting picked up by another team à la Cory Provus or Andy Masur.

Doc said:

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There's always the Orioles.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I love this idea.

jarowcliffe said:

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I know a lot of you dont agree but I want Grace in the booth, I dont care which booth. I just want him back in the organization.

plamorte said:

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I'd take Grace even if his announcing skills are poor. But so were Santo's.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Grace will get old and drinky and eventually turn into Ronnie. I love this idea.

plamorte said:

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Yes. I reserve the right to still want someone in the booth I can complain about lacking basic color man skills but love at the same time. Moreland was a nice change filling in for Ron, but I don't want that permanently.

jarowcliffe said:

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Old and drinky is more of a Harry Caray quality than a Santo, I would have to say

jarowcliffe said:

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Listening to Grace on Fox Saturday when he does Cubs games, he really isnt that bad. You can tell when the Cubs do something good it is hard for him to hold back. I think with radio you need that "fan" to give the game some excitement, that is what Santo did so well. It isnt something that can be taught in broadcasting school. I think Grace would bring that to the booth.

Doc said:

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Grace isn't horrible as some people suggest...but I just think Moreland is superior. I'd be cool if they would decide to bring Grace back and hire him exclusively to sing the seventh inning stretch every game. Leave the color commentary to Moreland.

Teebob2000 said:

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Yes, he is. I eff-ing hate Grace. Couldn't even watch a half-inning of the D'backs broadcasts with him on there.

So, yes, he is.

Aisle424 said:

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Any arrangement that gives Judd Sirott more time behind the microphone is the worst thing to every happen to Cubs radio.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I don't think my friends at WGN believe me when I tell them this is the general opinion on Judd. They think he's great.

plamorte said:

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I really do not understand how they could be so blind...well deaf rather. Do they really like Bob Sirott that much?

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU WOULD SAY THAT!

plamorte said:

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(routine flyball) "SORIANO BELTS ONE....OHH IT'S CAUGHT BY THE CENTER FIELDER!"

(Santo silent as the initial shock of Judd's scream has thrown him off his seat)

Doc said:

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If the Cubs hired Zonk, he'd keep Sirott in line.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Ha. I would love it when Judd would say something so stupid, Ron would be speechless. "Tell me something, Ronnie. Is it harder to hit a major league fastball as it looks? Because it doesn't look all that hard."

JulieDiCaro said:

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While making fun of a Blue Jays for signing Corey Patterson, I discovered Corey's lifetime OBP is .292.

This made me giggle.

gravedigger said:

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The Mariners as a team had an OBP of .298 this year. That's not a typo, and not a lie. First time a team has ever been under .300. Check out Jason' Stark's column on ESPN.

Doc said:

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And that's a team with Ichiro on it!

Milton Bradley did wonders for them. I guess I was wrong about him...I should have listened to all of you who wanted to keep him last year.

PsyMar1 said:

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I live in North Carolina, which somewhat by default makes me a Panthers fan. I also don't really like football *that* much, at least compared to baseball, so when the Cardiac Cats seem to be lacking a pulse, and the Bears are in the playoffs, I guess Bear Down.

(P.S. I'm mainly a Cubs fan because when I started liking baseball, the local minor-league team was a Cubs affiliate. Then they went Reds and White Sox but I stuck with the Cubs thanks to WGN and Harry Caray. I think it was probably Kerry Wood's 20-K game that hooked me for good, though.)

HackWilson09 said:

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Pat needs a sidekick, otherwise the best part of what he does will be lost. It needs to be a guy with a good sense of humor, and Pat needs to be able to get along with him well.

Grace could be all right but he probably thinks himself too good looking for radio. Ha!

I think he needs an older guy though. There's something about listening to a couple of older guys in the booth, each talking about how cheap the other one is, that makes listening to a game so enjoyable. How about Wally Backman? Jay Johnstone?

The Spaceman, Bill Lee???

All that being said, I also wouldn't mind a guy like Doug Glanville - he's really smart and funny.

gravedigger said:

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I've found myself agreeing with you a lot lately.

You should probably be concerned.

HackWilson09 said:

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Who is your favorite character in It's a Wonderful Life?

gravedigger said:

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Is that a movie?

sloan peterson said:

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Rex Hudler?

Doc said:

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If I can't get Zonk...then I want the Cubs to bring Ryne Sandberg back and work with Pat in the booth.

Doc said:

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sloan peterson said:

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Whom, I ask is Zonk?

Doc said:

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That's Keith Moreland's nickname.

jarowcliffe said:

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I hear Joe Morgan is looking for a job...

Doc said:

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What is with all of you here today...another person who needs to be shot. Geez...stop giving people with bad judgment (aka: the Rickettses) ideas like that.

jarowcliffe said:

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Thats for not telling me how to do the ñ yesterday!

I hate Joe Morgan more than anybody, trust me.

Doc said:

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Then don't mention his name. People will hear you.

Proggy said:

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Let Webb go to Texas. The Cubs should stand pat (no pun intended) at this point.

The NL Central, barring Biblical scale plagues upon the Reds, Cardinals, and the now Greinke-ful Brewers is simply not winnable for the Cubs. Webb is not going to change that.

Give Cashner every chance to succeed in a starting role instead.

JulieDiCaro said:

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It's a Christmas miracle!

Proggy said:

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What? Me showing up?

More like the Grinch just entered Whoville.

JulieDiCaro said:

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yes, you showing up.

clearly, you are not fimilair with Whoville. It's really gone grouchy since 2008.

Proggy said:

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Which it cannot be blamed for, there has been much for Whoville to get grouchy about of late.

JulieDiCaro said:

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of which "lack of Proggy" numbers near the top.

gravedigger said:

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I have a serious crush on proggy you know.

Proggy said:

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aw shucks you guys...you're gonna make this wrinkled old heart grow three sizes...

gravedigger said:

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Exactly. And really, it is painful to watch Hendry make lurching moves that hint at half an expectation that they will compete, and on another day making moves that are a clear indication that expectations are low for this year.

Just admit it. This season is lost before it starts.

Proggy said:

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I don't know. It's hard to see how adding a heavily-flawed 1B coming off a simply godawful season with a diminished Kerry Wood is a front office thumbs-up for expected contention in 2011.

Seems to me everything Hendry has done so far has been an effort to cushion the blow that without a doubt this is going to be, at best, a 4th place team.

HackWilson09 said:

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But... The new manager... is BALD!

Proggy said:

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You know, Quade creeps me out.

Reminds me of this...

Doc said:

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Because the Cubs don't have a chance is exactly the reason the Cubs should take a chance on Brandon Webb. See if this guy actually has anything left.

If you want Cashner to have his shot, then dump Silva now since he will obviously not be on this team after the 2011 season.

Proggy said:

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Webb at a reasonable price, say Kerry Wood money, absolutely. At his rumored price of 7MM base salary (and I'm sure he's going to want performance escalators too), that seems a waste of resources the Cubs either don't have, or are pretending not to have.

Don't forget the A's did the same thing with Ben Sheets last year and essentially pissed away 10MM. Let the Rangers see if Webb has anything left at the higher price tag, and if he does, you can always sign him next offseason. Signing him now does not mean he'll be so gosh darned grateful that he'd give the Cubs a discount for 2012. And with the Cubs looking up at three other teams significantly better than them, even Webb at his best isn't going to be enough to vault them past everybody else.

Though I must say I do like your idea of dumping Silva.

Chances are Webb is

Proggy said:

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Also, if Cashner is in the rotation, hasn't Silva already been displaced?

Zambrano, Dempster, Wells, Sloth, Cashner.

No room for Silva as it stands as of now. Unless Cashner falls flat in ST, Silva's looking like one hell of an expensive long man.

So, really, it's Cashner or Webb, and I'm fine with the Cubs picking Cashner.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I will be surprised if they pick Cashner. Mostly because it's the right thing to do. They'll leave him to flounder in the bullpen and, if he's lucky, he'll be the next Sean Marshall.

Doc said:

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A couple of things here...

First...if the Cubs pay any more than $5 million for Webb, it's a bad move.

Second...I understand urge that people have to get Cashner to at least try out as a starter...but what I've seen of him, he doesn't seem to have the working set to be a starter. He needs at least one more pitch and from the reports in the minor leagues, he likely will have a hard time stretching out to pitcher more that 5 or 6 innings in even a good start (Rich Harden anyone?).

That being said, if Silva is moved, I have no problem with the Cubs giving Cashner a shot...I just don't think it's the best position for him.

Proggy said:

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As I already said though, as of right now, Silva doesn't appear to factor into the 2011 rotation plans, unless it's ahead of Cashner.

Proggy said:

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You could very well be right that Cashner doesn't have what it takes, but it's worth it imo to see whether or not he does.

Proggy said:

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I also think his minor league numbers show more promise than you give them credit for. Even taking into account small sample size, he was averaging over 6 innings per start his last 9 in the minors, and his performance in those 9 was very encouraging.

Proggy said:

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From what I understand lurking on ACB, Randy Bush said via ESPN radio on Saturday that the Cubs are planning on Cashner starting 2011 in the rotation.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Yabbut at what price? I don't want to get into a bidding war with the Rangers for a guy who hasn't pitchedin 2 years and whose arm has been sewn back on. We may as well have just gone after Prior.

Doc said:

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As I stated in another branch of this thread...the price can't exceed $5 million. If the Rangers give him more...more power to them. Reports indicate that the Cubs probably have about that much left to spend...and if they can get him in here on a contract of about that value and he is able to return close to the form he had 3 or 4 years ago, the Cubs will have a great chance to trade him at the deadline in July for some prospects or have a leg up on everyone else to re-sign him to a longer term deal.

But I wouldn't spend more than $5 million (plus incentives). Ideally I'd want him for about $4 million.

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