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A Few Pre-Convention Notes

The Cubs have signed a number of players this week, including Corey Patterson, Michael Barrett (to a three-year contract), and Dr. Tightpants.

None of this is really news; it gets publicity now because the deadline for arbitration hearings is coming, and the Cubs pride themselves in signing all their players before it ever gets before an arbitrator.

Frankly, my eyes glaze over at the contract details and you can find most of those at other Cubs Blog Army sites.

The signing that intrigued me this week was Scott Williamson, former Reds and Red Sox reliever, who had elbow surgery last October and won't pitch till after the All-Star break this year.

This is a Ryan Dempster-like, low-risk signing. Williamson is 28 and should bounce back easily from the surgery, and if he does, could even contribute this year. He's been a closer before, also started some games, and costs almost nothing (just a little over the minimum, with more money if he pitches in the majors this year).

What puzzles me is the Cubs' seeming lack of interest in Magglio Ordonez. An article in today's Tribune quoted the Austrian doctor who operated on Maggs at length, and the gist of it is that he things Maggs is ready to go. So does USA Today Sports Weekly; in today's issue, there was a brief note that the Mets and Tigers are among the teams interested, and said further that Maggs has been "cleared to play".

Maybe Jim Hendry's talking to Scott Boras right now. Hendry doesn't like negotiating in the media. Maybe there's going to be a surprise announcement at the convention. The Cubs seem to have not made many moves this off-season, and it's not, of course, the quantity of the moves, but the quality of your ballclub, and if Jason Dubois appears to be the answer in LF, then so be it.

At one point or another, every superstar player in baseball was an unproven rookie. Maybe Dubois will succeed, maybe not. But that cannot be known unless he is given a chance.

Finally, the Cubs Caravan stopped at my son Mark's school today. He said it was "OK" -- he wasn't one of the kids chosen, one from each class, to ask a question of the assembled group. But even some of those kids didn't get to ask their question or get an autographed jersey, as the ballplayers ran out of time.

Well, you can't please everyone. But Nomar Garciaparra is sure trying to, saying all the right things, such as:

I understand there's a business part of baseball. I've never made my decision solely on money or based on money. There are other factors and intangibles involved, and I took those intangibles and discussed them with people I care about. We saw a place that I know I liked being in and I liked being a part of. This organization is so classy and this city is great, and these fans are unbelievable.

Nice to have you here, Nomar. He's talking like a team leader, and this team could use one.