Illinois Governor Indicted on Corruption, Charges Include Tampering with Sale of Wrigley

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been arrested on corruption charges.  The most prominent charges involve allegations that he essentially tried to sell his pending appointment of a successor to the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Obama.

However, the indictments also include a charge that Blagojevich threatened to make assistance in the Tribune's efforts to sell Wrigley Field conditional on the Tribune firing members of its editorial board who had criticized his administration and even called for his impeachment.

Not wanting to pre-empt the winter meeting updates too much, the details are after the break.

Winter Meetings 2008 Day 2

9:32 PM CST Embedded in this non news worthy Jayson Stark report that the Peavy deal isn't imminent because blah, blah, blah... is a Sportcenter video of John Kruk waxing euphoric on what Jake Peavy would mean to the Cubs in Wrigley Field if he brought them a World Championship. Go Kruk Go! (Cubster)

8:32 PM CST Jeff Passan from Yahoo sports says the "lone holdup" in the Cubs getting Peavy is that they need to off-load Jason Marquis and his $9.875 million salary. (Cubster)

8:29 PM CST: Rumor has it that Towers and Hendry will be drinking single malt scotch whiskey and discussing whether they are close to closing the really closely guarded information regarding the now 32 player deal involving the entirety of all MLB clubs. Bruce Levine had his stealth listening device against the door of Towers' suite although the meeting apparently was in Hendry's suite. Once BL firgured this out it didn't matter anyway as even a juicy report on ESPN 1000 was going to be pre-empted by the Bulls game tonight. David Kaplan's WGN radio show had a scheduled interview with "the phenomenal" Mrs. Katie Peavy but was pre-empted by WGN's news analysis of the Governor Blajojevich scandal. (Cubster)

7:46 PM CST: New rule, if you use the word "close" to describe any potential deal, you will be arrested and publicly flogged. Cory Brock is the latest at comes four hours after he wrote talks were slowing and their was some reluctance on the Cubs part.

Nonetheless, the latest article has a quote from Towers that it "looks more
likely today than yesterday.
" and so on and so on. (Rob G.) 

7:24 PM CST:  Hey, the deal is close, no really, this is the one folks!!! Chuck Garfien at CSN Chicago is the latest to suck us in with that headline. He also said there was suppose to be a media appearance by Hendry at 6:30PM CST, but doesn't seem like that happened. (Rob G.) 

5:01 PM CST: More from Wittenmyer:

"One intriguing name on the Cubs' radar is Garret Anderson...."

Yes, that's very intriguing that the Cubs want to field an inferior team next season.

- Stark says the Cubs won't move DeRosa unless they sign a left-handed hitting outfielder first and that the Phils and Cubs are both very interested in Ibanez. (Rob G.) 

4:40 PM CST: Twitter post from Gordon Wittenmyer of the not-yet-bankrupt Chicago Sun-Times:

Cubs met with Randy Johnson's agent Monday night and sources confirm their plan to explore signing him if Peavy falls through.


4:20 PM CST: A summary just doesn't do this story justice...

I talked to a high-ranking Cubs official last night and ran that whole Carlos Silva-for-Kosume Fukudome trade rumor by him. He nearly choked on his beverage laughing. While the thing has a nice, symetrical feel to it, with both players owed three years and more than $30 million each, the official assured me he would "fall out of my (bleeping) chair'' if such a trade went through. And no, for the record, he has not heard that one is in the works. 

(Rob G.) 

2:39 PM CST: Yahoo has a story with a quote from Towers saying he doesn't believe the deal has "lost steam" in the last 24 hours (of course he doesn't, he needs the deal done more than the Cubs do). The article also says the four-team deal is a bit too complex for the Cubs' tastes and they feel they're giving up too much. Another Randy Johnson mention as well. 

Unfortunately, I'm gonna go radio silent for a few hours here myself. (Rob G.)

2:15 PM CST: Padres beat writer, Tom Krasovic throws some more cold water on the fire, saying the Padres aren't really interested in J.A. Happ or Chris Coste or Ronny Cedeno for that matter. (Rob G.)

2:00 PM CST: BP has a "crazy rumor" that the Cubs would try and move Carlos Zambrano if they landed Jake Peavy. In an earlier update, Perrotto says the Peavy deal would be:

O's: Felix Pie
Cubs: Peavy
Padres: Olson, Marshall, Hart, Cedeno & Vitters

He indicates the Phils might make it a 4-team deal and send Happ and possibly catcher Lou Marson to the Padres presumably for Mark DeRosa. 

- Indians are "close" to signing Kerry Wood to a 2-year deal. As Cubster pointed out, the Cubs play the Indians this season. (Rob G.)

12:58 PM CST: I love reports about deals that aren't happening. Stark says a Marquis for Aaron Heilman trade was discussed but the Mets wanted the Cubs to eat too much salary. (Rob G.)

12:15 PM CST: Stark says Mets, Phillies and Cubs are in the lead for Ibanez's services. 

- The Cubs maintain that they are not all that close on a Peavy deal according to Rosenthal and are considering Randy Johnson as a back-up plan. Rosenthal is sticking with the story angle that the Cubs need to identify their new owner first before any deal for Peavy is completed and have to move the contract of Jason Marquis. They also want their left-handed hitting corner outfielder signed first. (Rob G.)

11:50 AM CST: Rogers calls the deal for Peavy "close", which is always a good time to remind everyone that Phil Rogers is a nincampoop (yeah, I'm bringing it back). Rogers indicates it's a four-team deal with the Cubs giving up DeRosa (to the Phils), Pie (to the O's), and Sean Marshall (to the Padres) and O's give up Garret Olson and the Phillies give up J.A. Happ, both of which go to the Padres. That deal doesn't sound too unreasonable actually, in my humble opinion.

- Roman Modrowski claims to have a friend that spotted Peavy at a bar in Vegas singing "Go Cubs Go!". He also says the Cubs may have to pay as much as $6M to move Marquis and his contract and the Cubs would try to sign Rich Aurilia if they move DeRosa.(Rob G.)

Winter Meetings 2008 Day 1

Bumping this back up top as I think we all know that they've crushed Santo's little heart again.

10:34 PM CST UPDATE: Bruce Levine was on ESPN-1000 AM, from his hotel room (soaking his feet) at the Bellagio. All he added was that any Jake Peavy deal might include either the Orioles or Marlins as the additional teams to make the deal happen but he didn't sound like he had info that was recently updated on this. --Cubster

10:04 PM CST UPDATE: Corey Brock on says the Peavy trade legwork is done. "There's a package there that will satisfy us. There's a deal in the way of names. It comes down to does Jim (Hendry) have the wherewithall to make it happen?" said Towers. It could be as extensive as a 3 or 4 team transaction possibly including one or both of the Phillies/Orioles. Not much in terms of specific names other than Peavy but at least there are some quotes from Kevin Towers that sound like a transaction is possible, at least meeting the Padres threshold for a deal.  --Cubster

8:53 PM CST UPDATE:  Last one before I call it a day, Scott Miller at CBS also talks about the Phils being involved in the Peavy talks.  Miller says Vitters, Hart and possibly Marquis would go to the Padres with Phillies prospect, J.A. Happ going as well and possibly catcher Chris Coste. What the Phils would get is unclear, although they do apparently like Mark DeRosa and are interested in an established veteran starting pitcher which makes you wonder if Miller misheard about Marquis going to the Padres instead of the Phils in this deal.

Miller states the obvious that the Padres wouldn't be thrilled with getting Marquis in the deal but the Cubs would have to pay almost half the contract and I assume the Padres would look to move him eventually. The Padres and Cubs have also talked about Cedeno and Angel Guzman and Miller says the Cubs are "leaning against" moving Sean Marshall.

8:27 PM CST UPDATE: More from Stark that the Padres are only talking to the Cubs and that progress needs to be made by Thursday or Towers is pulling the plug. Stark mentions it possibly ending up being a three-team, 10-player "extravaganza".

7:55 PM CST UPDATE: ESPN saying the Cubs met with Milton Bradley on Sunday.

6:53 PM CST UPDATE: Rosenthal says the Phillies "have emerged" as the possible third team in the Peavy to Cubs trade talks.

The Denver Post says the Rockies don't have the cash to trade for Marquis.

5:49 PM CST UPDATE: O's are interested in Felix Pie and if I read it correctly, it sounds like the Cubs will only trade him for Garrett Olson if they can immediately flip Olson as part of the deal for Jake Peavy. As has been discussed, Lou isn't too keen on Pie's strike zone judgment.

5:33 PM CST UPDATE Lou is in Vegas apparently, showing off that he's still got his pulse on the game asking a group of Seattle reporters if Ibanez can play right field? Shouldn't Lou be answering that question? Lou seemed intrigued that J.J. Putz is only making $5.5M next season.

5:00 PM CST UPDATE: MLB Hot Stove Blog also talks about the Rockies, Marquis and Jeff Baker and makes it sounds like there isn't much of a match at the moment.

No Hall for Santo

12:18 pm Update: From the Baseball Hall of Fame Web site:

Fans wishing to voice their opinion in support of
their favorite candidates may do so in two ways. By sending a single
letter to the address below or by clicking here and sending an e-mail.

Hall of Fame Veterans Committee
25 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY 13326


The Hall of Fame Case for Ron Santo (Part 3 of 3)

On Monday December 8th, the Baseball
Hall of Fame will
the voting results of the Veterans Committee
In a three part series, guest columnist and reader, “Dying Cub Fan”
takes a look at the candidacy of former Cubs third basemen, Ron
Santo. We ran this piece two years ago, but it's lost in Internet limbo
and well, Santo deserves it, so we're running it again. Plus,
the voting process has changed this year, as there are only 10 players for the committee to consider, so here's hoping this is the year.  You can join the revolution on Facebook as well.


Why has
Santo been overlooked?

Santo did not do
well in BBWAA voting when he was eligible for consideration by the
writers. He was considered by the BBWAA 15 times, and his best
showing came in 1998 (his last year on the writers’ ballot), when
he received 204 votes (43.13%, well short of the 75% needed for
election).14 He was removed from the ballot after the
1980 election (the first time he was eligible for BBWAA
consideration) for failing to receive the required 5% vote; he was
reinstated to the ballot in 1985. Under the selection process of the
reconstituted Veteran’s Committee (which has elected no one since
being reconstituted in 2001, following the former Veteran’s
Committee’s pick of Bill
, and which now considers players every two
years), Santo received 56.8% of the vote in 2003 and 65% in 2005,
each time short of the 75% vote needed. The former Veteran’s
Committee did not publish their voting results.

The Hall of Fame Case for Ron Santo (Part 2 of 3)

On Monday December 8th, the Baseball
Hall of Fame will
the voting results of the Veterans Committee
In a three part series, guest columnist and reader, “Dying Cub Fan”
takes a look at the candidacy of former Cubs third basemen, Ron
Santo. We ran this piece two years ago, but it's lost in Internet limbo
and well, Santo deserves it, so we're running it again. Plus,
the voting process has changed this year, as there are only 10 players for the committee to consider, so here's hoping this is the year.  You can join the revolution on Facebook as well.



In 1964, third
basemen won the MVP award in both the American League and the
National League. Brooks
won in the AL, playing for an Oriole team
that won 97 games and finished third, and Ken
won in the NL, playing for the Cardinals, who
won 93 games and the pennant. The Cubs won 76 games and finished
8th. Santo had a better year than either Robinson or Boyer and
finished 8th in MVP balloting. 6

Cubs Sign Three Minor League Free-Agents

Besides re-signing free-agent RHP Chad Fox to a minor league contract, the Cubs have signed three minor league free-agents in recent days, including one player who (as things stand now) actually has a legitimate chance to make the Cubs 2009 Opening Day Roster.

The Hall of Fame Case for Ron Santo (Part 1 of 3)

On Monday December 8th, the Baseball
Hall of Fame will
the voting results of the Veterans Committee
  In a three part series, guest columnist and reader, “Dying Cub Fan”
takes a look at the candidacy of former Cubs third basemen, Ron
Santo. We ran this piece two years ago, but it's lost in Internet limbo and well, Santo deserves it, so we're running it again. Plus,
the voting process has changed this year, as there are only 10 players for the committee to consider, so here's hoping this is the year.

Sox Nation: In your opinion, who’s the best player not in the

Bill James: Ron Santo”

Interview with Bill James on RedSoxNation.Net,

has a meritorious case for election to the
Baseball Hall of Fame. There are currently thirteen third basemen2
in the Hall of Fame: Frank
“Home Run” Baker
, Wade
, George
, Jimmy
, Ray
, Judy
, George
, Freddy
, Eddie
, Brooks
, Mike
, Pie
and Jud
(who was inducted in 2006). When compared to
the ten major league third basemen currently in the Hall of Fame
(leaving aside, for purposes of this discussion, the three Negro
League players, Johnson, Dandridge and Wilson), Santo’s offensive
numbers fit squarely in the middle of that group. The offensive
numbers demonstrate that Santo was better than five of the major
league third basemen currently in the Hall of Fame. The numbers
indicate that Schmidt, Mathews, Brett, Baker and Boggs (in roughly
that order) were better than Santo. Santo has a clear edge on
everyone else.

During his
career Ron Santo was a nine-time All-Star. He finished in the top
ten in MVP voting four times. He had the fifth highest RBI total of
all major league players during the 1960s (topped only by Willie
, Hank
, Harmon
and Frank
). During that period no player in the
National League drew more walks. 3 He won five
consecutive Gold Gloves at third base, and led NL third basemen in
putouts, assists, chances and double plays in many seasons. He was
among the league leaders in on base percentage and slugging
percentage throughout the 1960s; he finished in the top 10 in both
categories in his league in every season from 1964 through 1967. He
hit more home runs in his career than any third baseman currently in
the Hall of Fame other than Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews. He
combined power and defense to a degree that was unprecedented for
third basemen. He coupled that with an ability to draw walks that
added value in a manner that has often gone unappreciated.

AFL Review of Cubs' Pitchers

Joe Aiello from The View From The Bleachers has graciously written a piece for us taking a look at how the Cubs fared in the Arizona Fall League.


I am admittedly stealing this idea from Brew Crew Ball, but if you're not stealing, you're not really trying. Let's take a look, now that the fall league is over, at how our representatives performed and see what we can glean from it, if anything.


Recent comments

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  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.

  • As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?

  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.

  • Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.

    Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.

  • Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.

    Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.

  • that game sounds fun as hell.