Hotel Arizona, made us all wanna feel like stars

Rental cars and tinted windows, leave another number for me

~ Wilco, “Hotel Arizona”

Good day, Cubs fans. There’s not a lot going on news-wise – well, except for one big story that relates to something that’s probably on all of our minds and, thankfully, edging ever closer. Yes, I’m talking about spring training. Stuff is happening! Let’s get to today’s stories*:

Mesa City Council pitches shutout. In a 7-0 vote, the City Council of Mesa, Ariz. approved the deal that would build a new Cubs spring training city as well as a shopping district to be dubbed “Wrigleyville West” in that wild and crazy town. All that’s left now is for the Cubs to sign off, which apparently they’ve already agreed to do. As someone not really able to attend spring training games, I’ve had no great stake in this drama. But I’m happy for the City of Mesa and pleased to see the Cubs will likely honor their long history in that region.

Chan Ho Park on the Cubs’ radar. As this MLBTR post elucidates, Jon Heyman tweeted yesterday that the Cubs and Rays are looking at former Phillies reliever Chan Ho Park as a (presumably) bullpen addition. Park looked pretty good in the postseason last year and was better in relief than as a starter. I guess the Cubs could do worse than sign him to a relatively cheap one-year deal. He seems like a good guy.

Mr. Jonny Gomes, please take your place in line. Because I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the ongoing search for a fourth outfielder, the (relatively) latest name to enter the fray is free agent Jonny Gomes, last seen slugging for our division rival Cincinnati Reds. He put up some pretty fine offensive numbers for Dusty’s boys last season and would definitely bring the scrap factor that the Cubs would be losing with the departing Reed Johnson. Downside: His defense is apparently not too good, and he couldn’t spell DLee at first base.

UPDATE:     Bruce Levine reports a decision regarding the Cubs’ fourth outfielder is “imminent.” Gomes, Nady, Johnson and Dye are the reported frontrunners.

UPDATE:       Yahoo!’s Tim Brown just tweeted the Cubs have come to terms with Xavier Nady, pending a physical!!! Multiple sources have confirmed the prospective deal. Jon Heyman just tweeted dollar amount: “$3.3 mil guaranteed plus $2 mil in incentives based on games played.”

Ben Sheets update. Looks like the Oakland A’s are closing in.

UPDATE:       SI.com’s Jon Heyman just tweeted that the A’s have indeed signed Ben Sheets for $8 $10 million.

Mr. Cub is lookin’ for Sammy. In a somewhat odd story revealed this week, Ernie Banks went looking for Sammy Sosa in the Dominican Republic last year. Mr. Cub wanted to personally ask Sosa to come clean on his alleged steroid use in hopes of returning to Wrigley as a sort of Prodigal Son. Sammy was out of the country at the time, so the meeting never happened. But Banks is sticking to his call for Sosa to clear the air regarding his ‘roid usage.

The USA Today Team Report is out! (Repeat.) The lead section discusses the Cubs’ prospective 2010 lineup. It seems pretty certain at this point that Kosuke and Theriot will be at the top; DLee, Aramis and Byrd in the middle; and Soriano, Baker and Soto rounding out the bottom. Although I still have concerns about batting Theriot that high in the order, I can accept that lineup to start off with.

*As always, the bolded phrases leading off each paragraph are hyperlinks to be clicked upon with great relish.

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