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Well, That Didn't Take Long - Howry Signed

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After reading this morning that the Cubs could sign Bob Howry "within a week", they announced this afternoon that that he had been signed to a three-year, $12 million deal.

Well, like the Scott Eyre signing, this appears to be a lot of money for a setup man. There will no doubt be a lot of gnashing of teeth that "there's no money left for hitters", but as has been speculated elsewhere, the Cubs probably are going to go higher than a $100 million payroll, and thus, there's still cash on hand. Of course, some of that will have to go for an extension for Derrek Lee and to perhaps sign Carlos Zambrano to a long-term deal.

This, believe it or not, pretty much completes the 2006 bullpen:

Closer: Dempster
Setup: Howry and Williamson
LOOGYs: Eyre and Ohman
Long men: Novoa and Wuertz

That presumes there's a seven-man bullpen again, something that's always driven me nuts. Perhaps one of Novoa or Wuertz will be traded; I'd much prefer the Cubs pick up an extra bat for the bench. But Howry has been an effective setup man for the last two seasons with Cleveland, and was rubber-armed last year too, appearing in 79 games. He seems to have completely recovered from the arm woes which caused him to miss almost the entire 2003 season.

The clock poll will still be available under the "Polls" link, but I'm going to post a Howry poll to gauge your reactions.

Jim Hendry can rest for a few days and enjoy his Thanksgiving dinner. So can all of you. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.