No real on-the-field Cubs news to bring you this morning. The closest I could find was a rumor-ish note buried in this Nick Cafardo’s Sunday article about a potential deal for Alfonso Soriano. The gist of it is that last season really opened Theo Epstein’s eyes to Soriano’s full value, both on and off the field. If Cafardo’s to be believed, Soriano is–at least in Epstein’s estimation–a superb teammate and teacher in the clubhouse, and that, combined with his shorter, more potent bat, makes him worth at least “a player of note.” Cafardo also said Soriano will only wave his no-trade clause for an East Coast team, and says that only the Phillies, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, and Marlins look to be suitors. Take all that with the usual grain of salt required with any Soriano rumors, and don’t hold your breath. It doesn’t seem the Cubs are eager to unload Soriano, and might even see his value go up at the trade deadline.
Last season was the first time since 2003 that the Cubs saw their attendance dip below three million fans, and they’re already taking steps to make sure that doesn’t happen again in 2013. To entice fans to purchase the six- and nine-game mini plans that go on sale January 23, the team has announced they’re waving all service fees on mini plan purchases, allowing fans to secure their tickets well in advance of March 8–the day single game tickets go on sale–and save as much as $40 in the process.
Former Cubs outfielder headcase Milton Bradley faces up to thirteen years in jail if he’s convicted on domestic abuse charges. “Wow. Never saw that coming.” said absolutely no one.
And while we’re covering unsurprising news, Lance Armstrong recorded his interview with Oprah today and (spoiler alert!) reportedly confessed to using PEDs. No surprise there–it’s not like they were teaming up to give away cars or discuss his favorite things for the spring. Given their decades-long dogged pursuit to prove Armstrong was cheating, you have to assume the people of France will celebrate his confession like, well… come to think of it, is this the first time the French have ever won a fight?
Jim Bowden has an interesting article on five offseason moves that will backfire. (For non-Insiders, he’s critical of the contracts given to Angel Pagan, Nick Swisher, Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Blanton, and Marco Scutaro.)
Major League Baseball has tentatively made a few small rule changes. While they are unofficial until they’ve been approved by the players’ union, the league will now allow interpreters to accompany managers and pitching coaches to the mound to visit pitchers; a seventh coach 9usually a second hitting coach) can now be in uniform in the dugout; and the tiresome and almost never effective fake-to-third-throw-to-first will now be considered a balk.
Look, I don’t like it cleaning up after other people’s dogs any more than the next guy, but this seems like an awful lot of trouble and expense to go to, especially when the justice they’re meting out is so meager.