According to a report from Buster Olney that is focused on where Manny Ramirez may end up, "The Cubs have maxed out their spending for the winter and in any event couldn't consider an outfield of Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano."
While Manny being Manny for the Cubs would be far fetched at best, the wording by Olney stating, "The Cubs have maxed out their spending for the winter" is more than concerning.
Yes the Cubs re-signed Ryan Dempster, but on paper they weakened their bullpen by letting Kerry Wood walk and trading a player with a ton of upside for a questionable bullpen arm in Kevin Gregg.
The Cubs also appear set to go into next season without Henry Blanco backing up Geovany Soto. An unsigned Paul Bako and Koyie Hill appear to be the options Lou Piniella will be given when camp opens in less than two months.
The other changes they have made since the conclusion of the season have been minimal at best....picking up Chris Snyder on a waiver claim in September, trading for Rule 5 pick David Patton and signing Joey Gathright. The Cubs also avoided arbitration with Reed Johnson, Neal Cotts and Chad Gaudin and tendered contracts to Ronny Cedeno, Kevin Gregg and Michael Wuertz.
Jim Hendry has not addressed his team's needs to this point. The Cubs are reportedly shopping Jason Marquis to free up at least half of the $9.875 million owed to Marquis. And while they are reportedly still interested in Milton Bradley, rumors on the Bradley front have been minimal at best for the last two weeks. Bruce Levine reported within the last two weeks that the deal for Bradley to the Cubs would be done around the first of the year.
This has been a slow off-season around baseball and the pending ownership change appears to be affecting the club more than anyone out of the office at 1060 West Addison....if Olney's statement is accurate and just not referring to the Cubs as being a possibility to sign Manny Ramirez.
While it will not be 2009 until Thursday, it is getting late in the off-season and Jim Hendry still has some "tweaking" to do....