You Won't Believe This, But...
The Cubs have re-signed FA RHP Chad Fox to a 2009 minor league contract, and Foxy also gets an NRI to Spring Training. Because he signed his minor league contract prior to December 11th, he will be eligible for selection in next week's Rule 5 Draft, and I'm sure he'll be in great demand.
While the 38-year old righthander will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, he will not be eligible to receive the automatic "no trade" rights through 6/15 that an Article XX free-agent normally would get, because a player has to sign a major league contract in order to qualify for the automatic NTC.
Fox spent most of the 2008 season on the 60-day DL with some kind of necro-elbow problem (calling Dr. Cubster!), and in fact his presence on the DL gave the Cubs a post-season roster exemption they otherwise would not have had. So it wasn't like he was totally useless. Perhaps the Cubs plan to use him the same way in 2009, or maybe it's simply a matter of Fox having incriminating photos of Jim Hendry at the Tribune Company picnic.
But it's not like Fox spent the entire 2008 on the DL. He did manage to pitch in three games (3.1 IP) with the Cubs this past season, going 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA. And he spent some time on a rehab assignment at Fitch Park, too, where he threw in a couple of EXST intrasquad games.
Kerry Wood... eat your heart out!