I'm doing this early because I have enough things to write about and I have a LOT of spare time at work right this moment. I'll probably update after some more Convention stuff comes out as the papers hit deadline.
Update [2008-1-19 1:19:24 by cwyers]:Gordon Wittenmeyer says Peter Angelos shot down a 7-for-2 swap. Bedard and Roberts would have been our two. Orioles sources deny this; although they confirm that Hill was made available in a Bedard/Roberts deal. Baltimore apparently likes Seattle's prospects better.
The Rangers and Cubs are discussing a Murton for Byrd swap; talks are still tentative at this point, so I wouldn't overreact to the news. Lou is quoted as saying: "I don't think we'll do anything, honestly, but if we do, it will be in the outfield." So he apparently doesn't think the Cubs are getting Roberts. Update [2008-1-19 1:9:51 by cwyers]:Expect DeRosa to be our second baseman. I know this will disappoint some, but I'm comfortable with it.
Soriano and Lou defend Soriano's leading off. Don't see that changing. Rodgers also says that Dempster hasn't been promised a rotation spot, and Dempster himself says "It's not easy. Not a lot of guys do it." He adds that he's improved his conditioning this offseason.
Muskat, on the other hand, says "there's no turning back for Dempster." I guess she means this metaphorically... or actually, I guess she doesn't mean it at all, because she says "Dempster now joins Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis, Rich Hill, Sean Marshall, Sean Gallagher and Jon Lieber in the fight for the five rotation spots." Notice how there haven't been any articles this offseason that say "Zambrano is expected to compete with six other pitchers for the five openings in the rotation." No word on what will happen if he can't win a spot - Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol and Bob Howry are supposed to be the candidates to close. Update [2008-1-19 1:9:51 by cwyers]:Howry, for one, would like to remind people that he's the experienced candidate. Campaign season has begun!
Muskat's Cubs Notes are full of gems.Zambrano says he's going to make Lilly pitch opening day. Perry says that Pie showed real progress in winter ball. Piniella says Neal Cotts is getting a shot at a bullpen job again. Gallagher is using Kerry Wood's diet service and has dropped 25 pounds.
Remember Omar Infante? Broke his hand during winter ball. I don't know if I'd say he was ever really a Cub, but it may be of some interest, so I pass it along.
I just have to add... this is great fun, reading through all of this. I feel real excited about all of it.