In the AZ Instructional League, Chicago's "Crosstown Classic" is West-Side versus East-Side rather than North-Side versus South-Side, but it's still Sox versus Cubs, and such was the case today, as about 20 White Sox youngsters boarded a couple of maxi-vans at Camelback Ranch in Glendale and traveled 30 miles east down the Papago and Red Mountain freeways to meet the Cubs at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
UPDATE: MLB Trade Rumors and Eddie Bajek updated their reverse-engineered rankings from two days ago and don't ask me how they changed but they did. Gregg and Grabow as Type A, Harden and Johnson as Type B. For what it's worth, Chone Figgins has been dropped to Type B status by their rankings. Muskat says Gorzelanny and Fontenot will qualify as Super Two status and the Cubs have 10 arb-eligible players total (Arizona Phil also has So Taguchi in his list on the right sidebar). The official Elias Rankings will be out soon enough.
The Cubs will not offer arbitration to Harden, who was their top strikeout pitcher in 2009.
I had mentioned earlier in the week that it looks like Harden will be a Type B free agent meaning it wouldn't cost the signing team any of their own draft picks, but the Cubs would get a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. If Levine's statement turns true, the Cubs are betting that no team would offer more in a multi-year deal to Harden than he could get in a one-year arbitration case coming off an ERA above 4.
It's the first time in 2 years that the Cubs won't be influencing my bracket. The last time that happened was in 2006 and I had the A's winning it all and the Tigers and Cardinals losing in the first round. It's always important to remember when reading my entries that I'm an idiot. If you want, MLB is running a bracket challenge that you can enter, or throw your guesses in the comments. I haven't seen a neat and tidy place with official playoff rosters, so the ex-Cub factor below is a guess at this point and it's possible I missed a Cub connection.
Dae-Eun Rhee tossed three shutout innings as the Cubs took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 4th at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe, but the Angels came back to win this afternoon's AZ Instructional League contest by a score of 5-1.
The major league baseball owners have unanimously approved the sale of the Cubs to the Ricketts family. According to the Sporting News article, there are still a few hoops to jump through before the Ricketts officially take over day-to-day control of the team, which should hopefully happen before the end of the month.
The franchise still has to go through a 24-hour "pre-packaged
bankruptcy," which the Tribune reports will take place next Monday or
Tuesday. When that step is finalized, the banks financing the deal will
have a "10 day cooling off period" before they have to fund the deal.
When they do take over, Ricketts and Hendry will get to have this conversation (the following brilliance is from Andy Dolan at Desipio):
Hak-Ju Lee used his blazing speed to beat-out a routine grounder to second with the game tied, bases-loaded, and two outs in the bottom of the 9th, giving the Cubs a hard-fought 5-4 victory over the Brewers in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 this afternoon in Mesa.