Hello and how are ya, Cubs fans. Another Thursday has arrived with much ballyhooing and brouhaha. Actually, it’s rather quiet at the moment as most baseball fans mull their teams off-season moves and countdown the days ’til pitchers and catchers report. (Or, as I call it, PCR Day.) Here are a few Cubs-related stories* to get you in the mood for…something:

Arb-down at the OK Corral.  As I reported a couple weeks ago here at VFTB, Jim Hendry and Ryan Theriot appear to be headed for a straight-up throw down as the two sides cannot agree on a salary figure for the scrapacious shortstop. Bruce Levine reported yesterday that talks have ended so, unless a last-minute deal is brokered (Mike Fontenot! Where are you?!), Hendry and Theriot will sit with an arbitrator and hash the whole thing out death-match style. (Theriot wants $3.4 million; the Cubs are offering $2.6 million.) Want to read a couple good takes on the situation? The check out Bruce Miles blogpost on it as well as the Another Cubs Blog guys‘ stats-based assessment.

I was somewhat on Theriot’s side at first, based on his undeniably (and perhaps inexplicably) strong WAR showings the last two seasons as well as the fact that he’s been paid very little (relatively speaking). But I’m now thinking he shouldn’t be quibbling over the $800,000 difference – especially if, as it’s been reported (uh, somewhere, can’t find it at the moment) that the Cubs did up their offer to a flat $3 million. Much of Theriot’s value as a player is based on the fact that he’s played solid defense at a premium position. ((I know the defense thing is hard to believe but, if you buy into UZR, he’s done it.) Problem is, well, he’s just not a very good overall hitter and, assuming Starlin Castro is for real, Theriot won’t be playing shortstop for the Cubs for too much longer. (Uh, though if he could hold down the position for 2010, that’d be great.)

UPDATE:  The Cubs and Carlos Marmol have agreed to a $2.125 million dollar deal. That leaves Theriot the only remaining arbitration-eligible player to have not settled.

Kevin Gregg likely to dodge draft unemployment by heading to Canada.  I don’t believe it’s official yet, but reports are coming in that former Cubs closer – and prodigious giver-up of the home run ball in 2009 – Kevin Gregg is closing in on a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Implications for the Cubs: The, ahem, BJ’s may be willing to trade away one of their decent bullpen arms for (let’s hope middling) prospects. Chicago-area native Jason Frasor, for example, had strong numbers last season out of the pen and would probably make a good addition.

Lame MSM article alert!  Although I generally enjoy and appreciate Yahoo! sports’ MLB coverage, this “Hot Stove Daily 2010″ piece by Steve Henson contains a blatant inaccuracy and is lamely snarky. (So why am I passing it along, you ask? Eh, slow news day and it’s kinda like finding spoiled milk in your refrigerator. “Ugh, you gotta smell this!”) The inaccuracy: He writes, “Nady is recovering from a shoulder injury…” BUZZ! Wrong answer! He had Tommy John surgery on his ELBOW.

And then Henson insists on ending the article with a mega-lame goat/Bartman joke. Are mainstream writers contractually required to bring that crap up in every freaking article? All that said, I can’t really argue with Henson’s overall thesis. Yeah, the Cubs gotta stay healthy. (So does, like, every other team.) And, yeah, we’ve got a lot of expensive, long-term deals on the books. (But, psst, many of them are coming due soon.) Anyway, enjoy. Or don’t. Just wanted to vent.

Lou Piniella wins an award.  No, he wasn’t recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for his use of the word “look.” He won a Thurman Munson Award at a gala to benefit the AHRC-New York City Foundation, which assists children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Cool.

Andrew Cashner, you are so money.  Are you familiar with the name Andrew Cashner? You should be. This right-handed fireballer (with a reportedly devastating slider) is among the Cubs top prospects. We may even see him pitch out of the pen in ’10. (Hey, that rhymes.) Minor league pundits are currently debating whether the Moneyman should focus on starting or relief (he’s got closer stuff) so, while they do that, check out this nice profile.

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UPDATE:  The Kevin Millar minor league deal and spring training invite is now official.

*Bolded phrases leading off paragraphs are hyperlinks. Click.

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