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Both the Tribune and the Sun-Times report in today's editions that the sale of the Tribune Company may not be as close as some believe:

The company that owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Cubs said Tuesday it would extend its review period from the end of this year until the first quarter of 2007.

"This process has generated strong interest from a number of parties," said Dennis FitzSimons, the Tribune's chief executive officer. "Advisers to both the company and the independent special committee of the board have recommended that the review process be extended to ensure thorough consideration of all proposals." (from the Sun-Times)

The Sun-Times article also reports that:

Media analysts say that the sum of the Tribune's parts might be worth more than the whole. The company is currently valued at nearly $7.7 billion.

But the company does not appear ready to consider bids for individual properties, according to the leader of a group of Baltimore businessmen that wants to buy the Baltimore Sun.

I'd agree with this, based further on the Broad/Burkle offer to buy the entire company. That seems the most likely scenario -- and if it's those two, they'd probably select a local figurehead to run the Cubs as a subsidiary.

This means, I think, that the spending spree that Jim Hendry has begun this offseason is borne by a genuine desire to improve the team and win, not just to window-dress the franchise for possible sale.

Further upgrades may happen starting Friday at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida, according to Bruce Miles in today's Daily Herald:

Hendry will talk trade with other teams in Orlando, and he will keep an eye on the free agents during what should be a busy week.

"I expect the pitching market to pick up in Orlando," Hendry said Tuesday.

Have at it. As usual, there will be another top 100 profile posted in a couple of hours.