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Baseball Wed Sep 23 2009
So with baseball season in Chicago officially over (OK, OK, ALMOST over, Mr. Sticker), the question now turns to who'll be standing on the field when the Cubs and White Sox start play in 2010. Free agency, arbitration, trades...you name it. Bottom line, there'll be some faces missing from the team picture on both sides of town next year.
Today we got word that White Sox reliever Bobby Jenks is shutting it down for the rest of the year due to an injured right calf muscle, which has given rise to talk of whether we've seen the last of the portly closer on the mound for the Sox for good. He's up for arbitration next year and the Sox aren't known for fighting hard to keep guys in that situation, so it could be the end of his career with the team.
Meanwhile, the White Sox have a number of other players on their squad that they must make decisions on, including free agent Jermaine Dye who had a great first half but slumped pretty badly during their half-hearted playoff push. The trade of Jim Thome opened the door on a possible youth movement. Could Dye and/or first baseman Paul Konerko be the next ones through?
On the other side of town, the Cubs-Milton Bradley wedding is apparently headed for divorce court. When you voluntarily shut down a $30 million player, it's never a good sign. A reconciliation seems out of the question after right-fielder Bradley not only bad-mouthed the team, but the fans as well.
On the other side of the field, third baseman Aramis Ramirez is contemplating the opt-out clause in his five year, $75 million contract. That may not seem like such a worrisom situation until you ask him whether he'll use the option or not. His answer? "I don't know." Uh-oh.
On the mound, the, um, effervescent Carlos Zambrano says he wants to stay with the Cubs but do the Cubs want him? Trade rumors are stuck to Zambrano like a Gatorade-soaked baseball bat to a sheet of paper.
Even management is not immune to speculation. Lou Piniella TALKS like he wants to come back, but he could just as easily change his mind after offering to take the hit for 2009. Or the Cubs could change it for him. Likewise with general manager Jim Hendry, whom many blame because he assembled the disappointing team. However there seems to be just as many people on the other side willing to give Hendry another chance.