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Orioles Claim Novoa; More Ex-Cubs To Come?

As far as historians can tell, the Ex-Cub Factor curse was broken in 2001 by the Diamondbacks.  If you're not familiar, the Ex-Cub Factor says that a team with three or more ex-Cubs cannot win the World Series.  Regardless, the Indians are in decent shape as they have only two (Joe Borowski and Kenny Lofton).  I think the Rockies only have LaTroy Hawkins.

The Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan recently noted that the Orioles are stocking up on ex-Cubs, the latest being nondescript reliever Roberto Novoa.  Former Cubs president and GM Andy MacPhail has already added three to the four that were previously on the roster.

I mention all of this because of Sullivan's last line, that MacPhail might take a look at free agents Kerry Wood and Michael Barrett this winter.  Wood I can see - he fits in with most teams at the right price as an intriguing yet high-risk swingman.  As for Barrett - perhaps the O's would pursue him on a bargain one-year deal if they manage to trade Ramon Hernandez.  Hernandez makes $7.5MM in '08, $8MM in '09, and probably a $1MM buyout in '10.  So, $16.5MM over the next two years.  If the O's pay $5MM or so, teams like the Mets, Yankees, Rockies, or Marlins could be interested.    

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LaTroy Hawkins is still pitching in the majors?

Why wasn't I told?

Orioles hired Rick Kranitz as their pitching coach. he's an ex-Cub.

LaTroy who ?

Why wasnt M.L.B told

Is there a general sense around Chicago about whether Wood is going to return in '08?

I could see a MacPhail-orchestrated contract offer to Wood that would include heavy appearance-based incentives, including 9th inning appearances. My feeling is that Wood would love a chance at the spotlight again, and he's not getting a shot at the closer job for the Cubs, right? Chris Ray is gone for most of the year, if not all, Baez hasn't grabbed it by the horns, and there's no evidence that Hoey is ready.

Baltimore has paid a lot more for a lot less in their bullpen commitments. I say, why not?

As for Ramon Hernandez ... there's no way the Marlins take on $11M+ of payroll over 2 years for an over-rated catcher (or an under-rated catcher, or any catcher, or any other position). I don't see Colorado as a good fit, either. They're not giving up on Iannetta, and Torrealba is making some fans both in the stands and in the front office of the Rockies this postseason, and presumably would be cheaper that Hernandez. A nice playoff showing does tend to get a guy at least one suitor that is willing to offer a ridiculous contract, though. If Baltimore takes a bite out of it, I could see San Diego giving him another go 'round. He seems like a great fit for the Mets, Castro or no Castro. I don't see Oakland taking on $11M, but if the Orioles get desperate, I could see them taking RH back, too.

Is there a general sense around Chicago about whether Wood is going to return in '08?

I could see a MacPhail-orchestrated contract offer to Wood that would include heavy appearance-based incentives, including 9th inning appearances. My feeling is that Wood would love a chance at the spotlight again, and he's not getting a shot at the closer job for the Cubs, right? Chris Ray is gone for most of the year, if not all, Baez hasn't grabbed it by the horns, and there's no evidence that Hoey is ready.

Baltimore has paid a lot more for a lot less in their bullpen commitments. I say, why not?

Is there a general sense around Chicago about whether Wood is going to return in '08?

I could see a MacPhail-orchestrated contract offer to Wood that would include heavy appearance-based incentives, including 9th inning appearances. My feeling is that Wood would love a chance at the spotlight again, and he's not getting a shot at the closer job for the Cubs, right? Chris Ray is gone for most of the year, if not all, Baez hasn't grabbed it by the horns, and there's no evidence that Hoey is ready.

Baltimore has paid a lot more for a lot less in their bullpen commitments. I say, why not?

This just in the Orioles just released a series of transactions. The have fired mgr.Dave Trembly and replaced him with Gene Micheal. They also have announced the following signings.
1B Hee Sop Choi
2B Manny Alexander
SS Jose Hernandez
3B Mark Bellhorn
OF Rondell White
OF Micheal Tucker
OF John Mabry
C Paul Bako
Starting Pitchers
Matt Clement
Wade Miller
Steve Trachsel
Jon Lieber
Julian Tavarez
and 3 Relievers
Antonio Alfonseca
LaTroy Hawkins
Scott Williamson

So I'm not alone in assuming Shawn Estes and Augie Ojeda would be a great fit with the O's? Now that Tejada is on his way out, I'm sure Cesar Izturis will be looking mighty attractive, as well.

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