It was on this day in 1982 that the Cubs acquired Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa from the Phillies in a trade for Ivan De Jesus. The Bowa-for-DeJesus component ended up being pretty even, but needless to say, Chicago won that trade — Sandberg went on to a Hall Of Fame career as one of the greatest Cubs of all time. Sandberg eventually returned to the Phillies organization in 2011, managing the team's Triple-A affiliate to an 80-64 record.
Here are some news items as we enter the last weekend of January…
- Bud Selig told reporters (including Ronald Blum of the Associated Press) at the Chicago SoxFest event that he believes baseball will add a second wild card team for 2012. "Clubs really want it. I don't think I've ever seen an issue that the clubs want more than to have the extra wild card this year," Selig said, adding that each league's two wild cards would compete in a one-game playoff to advance to the LDS. Blum reports that MLB and the Players' Association have agreed that a tie for a division lead would be settled by a one-game playoff, rather than a tiebreaker formula.
- The biggest obstacle standing in the way of an expanded postseason for 2012 would be finding room in the schedule for the extra wild-card game and potential tiebreaker games, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. “It’s going to be hard to do…but it’s still possible,” a source informs Rosenthal.
- At least eight potential owners looking to buy the Dodgers have advanced to the second round of the bidding process, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Among those making the cut were Steven Cohen, Peter O'Malley and Stan Kroenke, as well as the groups fronted by Magic Johnson, Joe Torre and the Stanley Gold/Disney family group. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and a group led by White Sox executive Dennis Gilbert were among the bids that didn't make the second round, Shaikin adds.
- More than one ownership group has expressed an interest in the Padres if the team's sale to Jeff Moorad can't be finalized, reports Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. None of these groups are any of the prospective Dodgers buyers, however, as those would-be owners want to specifically buy the Dodgers, not just any team.
- Also as part of Center's online chat with fans, he reports Padres GM Josh Byrnes is looking at signing a starter with big league experience to a minor league contract.
- Gavin Floyd tells Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times that he's trying to block out trade rumors, but says that he wants to remain with the White Sox. "I love Chicago, I want to be here,'' Floyd said. "I've been part of this organization for four or five years. I feel like I've grown and gotten better every year and established relationships I'll cherish the rest of my life."
- The Astros' hiring of Sig Mejdal as the director of decision sciences indicates a new, analytical direction for how Houston scouts and evaluates players, writes Zachary Levine for Baseball America.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a quick rundown of the American League's "super six" teams.