No real surprise here, but it's being reported on cubs.com
that the Cubs picked up the options on Todd Walker ($2.5 mil) and Scott Williamson ($2 mil) for next season. As previously mentioned, Burnitz's option was bought out for $500,000 and he's already filed for free agency.
Apparently ESPN radio in Chicago is also reporting that the Cubs are close to a 2 year/$6 million deal with Glendon Rusch. I'll spare you my opinion until I know if it's true or not.
As for Walker, that's awfully cheap for one of the better offensive second basemen in the league, even if his defense is a bit below par. But it's the sort of below par defense I can live with, in the fact that he he's not chucking the ball into the right field stands or letting balls go through the wickets. He mostly avoids the sort of heart-wrenching errors that deflate a ballclub. No, his defensive deficiencies are due to a lack of range and inability to turn a quick double play, which is more than passable when he carries a stick better than a good portion of the rest of the second basemen in the NL. Iíd be inclined to platoon him with a superior defensive second basemen on the days when the hurler on the mound is of the groundball variety, but I have serious doubts that our coaching staff possesses the forward thinking to make this even plausible.
Williamson was a no-brainer. He was signed for the 2006 season, last year was just the warmup, just as Hendry did for Ryan Dempster. Letís all hope for the same results. I wouldnít be too surprised if Hendry makes a run at Octavio Dotel for the same reasons this off-season, although itís rumored he may be ready to go by spring training.