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What are the Cubs thinking?

Apparently, they're going to play hardball with Will Ohman in arbitration:

Cubs officials seem to feel strongly that Ohman overpriced himself from the team perspective of slotting salaries when he filed a salary arbitration number of $775,000. The club countered at the time with $500,000 and apparently may be willing to stretch that to $575,000 or so.

To go to a hearing over $200,000?

Perspective: At $40 per prime-date bleacher ticket, that's 5,000 tickets, or about 114 tickets (out of now about 5,000 total in the new bleachers) per prime date (44 total dates).

The quote from the Kiley article above implies that the Cubs have various salary "slots", and Ohman might not fit into their "slot". But if the Cubs come up to $575,000, and Ohman then comes down a bit, why not split the difference at about $625,000 or so, and avoid a messy and nasty arbitration hearing -- which would be the first in the MacPhail era?

I just don't get this. You're talking about even less than $200,000 -- maybe $100,000 -- and that's one-tenth of one percent of the total payroll.

And read between the lines here, in regard to Todd Walker:

Manager Dusty Baker has said he envisions Walker as his likely starter, but [GM Jim] Hendry views it as a decision that Baker will have to make in March.

"I spoke to Todd and we had a good conversation, and he realizes our situation has changed from last year," Hendry said. "Ronny is going to get a shot to play every day at shortstop, and that gives us three good candidates to play second."

It appears that Baker and Hendry are at odds on Walker, and that jibes with what we heard at the convention. I'm not quite sure what Walker did that pissed Hendry off so much, but he's probably going to have to hit .500 in Arizona to keep the starting job that ought to be his. On the other hand, if he hits that well, other GM's will be burning up Hendry's cellphone line trying to acquire him.

Not quite sure why this isn't as clear as it is to all of us: starting Walker every day, or nearly every day, providing good offense in the #2 lineup slot, is one of the keys to winning. Pretty obvious, if you ask me.

Finally, Happy 75th Birthday today to Ernie Banks. January 31 could be considered "Hall of Fame Birthday Day", as two other HoFers, Nolan Ryan (who is 59 today) and Jackie Robinson, were also born on this date.