While innocently reading Ken Rosenthal’s rumor column today, I came across this little nugget:

The Cubs are talking about re-signing infielder Neifi Perez to a two-year deal even after exercising second baseman Todd Walker’s $2.5 million option for 2006. If the Cubs sign Furcal, they can trade Walker and allow Perez and Ronny Cedeno to compete at second base next spring. Perez, 32, sports a paltry career .301 on-base percentage, and he grounded into 22 double plays last season, third most in the NL. His nine homers and 54 RBIs, however, represented his highest totals since 2000, when he was with the Rockies

No, no, NO! Why on Earth would Jim Hendry even consider this scenario? Give a 2 year contract to a guy the Cubs pulled off the scrap heap in 2004, and then hand him the starting job (yes, I know it says compete, but who do you think is going to win that competition with Dusty Baker at the helm?) despite the fact that he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he should not be a starter (.681 OPS, including a laughable .298 OBP)? If this is a part of Jim Hendry’s master plan, then I don’t want to see the rest. Hopefully, this is nothing but speculation that Rosenthal came up with to scare Cubs fans during the down period between the World Series and the start of free agency.

Incidentally, there’s another item in that column that caught my attention:

The White Sox could shift Jermaine Dye to first and play rookie Brian Anderson in right field if they lose free-agent first baseman Paul Konerko. Anderson, 23, also is an option in center field, giving the White Sox the flexibility to trade Aaron Rowand …

Now that’s interesting. If the White Sox are seriously considering trading Rowand, the Cubs need to give Kenny Williams a call. Rowand’s not great offensively, but he’s light years ahead of the guy we had in CF last year, and his defense is outstanding.

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