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CUBS’ TO-DO LIST

Closer: The top two free-agent relievers (Troy Percival and Armando Benitez) are off the market, meaning a trade is the best hope. The Cubs still might take a chance on former Tigers closer Ugueth Urbina.

Second base: Part-timer Todd Walker has a deal on the table, but the Cubs continue to court Tony Womack. The 35-year-old is coming off a big season with the Cardinals and could fill their need for a leadoff hitter.

Shortstop: Interest in Orlando Cabrera has cooled. The Cubs still would love to sign Edgar Renteria (another leadoff possibility), but they most likely will settle for a one-year deal with Nomar Garciaparra.

Outfield: Carlos Beltran remains the biggest prize on the free-agent market. The Cubs might pull off a surprise and land the switch-hitting center fielder, but they must dump Sammy Sosa — without eating too much of his contract — to make it work financially.

Trade bait: Aside from Sosa, the Cubs would love to deal reliever Kyle Farnsworth, and the Braves are said to be interested. Don’t be surprised if failed closer LaTroy Hawkins also is dealt.

WHITE SOX’ TO-DO LIST

Starting pitcher: General manager Ken Williams still will hold on to his dream of acquiring left-hander Randy Johnson from the Diamondbacks, but he would be better off trying to steal away Cubs castoff Matt Clement from the Indians. Williams also is gunning for right-hander Jaret Wright.

Shortstop: Omar Vizquel spurning the Sox for the Giants still stings. Orlando Cabrera might be an option because manager Ozzie Guillen isn’t sold on Juan Uribe, prompting talk the Sox might pursue Nomar Garciaparra.

Right field: With the Magglio Ordonez era over, the Sox are targeting the oft-injured Jermaine Dye as their future in right field. If Williams can’t sign a free agent, expect him to trade for a new right fielder because Joe Borchard is not the answer.

Trade bait: The switch-hitting Borchard should bring interest from other teams and might benefit from a change of scenery, where his $5.3 million signing bonus won’t be an issue. First baseman Paul Konerko remains the Sox’ hottest bargaining chip. Don’t be surprised if he is traded before Opening Day. Jon Garland is the Sox pitcher most likely to be traded.

The Fighting Illini won again on Saturday afternoon, this time against unranked Arkansas. Don’t let that non ranking fool you though. Arkansas is a young team that features 3 freshman playing big minutes for the Hogs. I have to say, in the first half, Illinois looked decent. The looked about as good as I expected after using everything they had in the game against Wake. They had a nice lead at half. The second half however was a different story. They played incredibly sloppy and slow paced. It was not their style at all. In the end, Illinois pulls out the win. Look for them to be # 1 when the polls come out on Monday, ahead of Kansas.

Last Game: Illinois 72 – Arkansas 60
Next Game: Monday vs. Chicago St. – 8pm est
Season Record: 6-0

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail