It’s going to be another busy day ’round these parts, so, if you’re not a fan of tons of Chicago Cubs news and rumors jam-packed into one day, my apologies. The chips fell, as it were. But, first, the Bullets…

  • On his MLBN radio appearance late yesterday with Jim Bowden, Cubs’ GM Jed Hoyer discussed, among other things, the offer of arbitration to Carlos Pena. Surprisingly, it didn’t sound like he was even trying to keep up the appearance that the Cubs would be interested in having Pena back in 2012. That is to say, when asked about the offer and risk that it carries, you’d expect him to say something like, “we’re still figuring out what we want to do at first base, but you could do a lot worse than Carlos Pena, so we’ll see how things shake out.” But he didn’t. Instead, Hoyer rather candidly confirmed that the offer of arbitration was because the Cubs expect him to receive a multi-year offer on the free agent market, and thus, fully expected him to decline the offer of arbitration when they made it. They’ve heard great things about Pena, but it sounds like they just want the draft pick. Fine by me. (h/t CCO.)
  • The Chicago Cubs’ coaching staff is taking shape, after Jamie Quirk was announced as the team’s new bench coach yesterday (the news having been broken by Quirk, himself). Gordon Wittenmyer reports that now-former bench coach Pat Listach, who remains under contract through 2012, is expected to stay on staff as a base coach (first or third), and bullpen coach Lester Strode will stay on in that position. Chris Bosio remains the leading pitching coach candidate, and the full staff could be unveiled later this week.

  • Apparently Bryan LaHair’s Venezuelan Winter League season isn’t over, as he started playing there again a couple days ago (with a homer in his return game). I’m not entirely sure why he took a week off (holidays? talks with Japanese teams? injury?), but he’s back.
  • Phil Rogers discusses why Ron Santo should (finally) be selected for admission to the Hall of Fame next week.
  • The Red Sox yesterday selected veteran manager, and now formerly that-guy-on-ESPN-who-hammered-on-Starlin-Castro-and-Mike-Quade-just-a-little-too-long, Bobby Valentine as their manager. After Red Sox ownership nixed Ben Cherington’s preferred candidate – Dale Sveum, who ended up with the Cubs – they apparently insisted he rejigger his entire search list, adding veteran names, superseding the up-and-comers he’d been interviewing all along. What a fiasco. It remains thoroughly easy to see why Theo Epstein was ready to move on.
  • A fan of Weird Al-style parody, the Cubs, and the Cranberries? Check out this humorous “Zombie” parody, centered on Carlos Zambrano (use that link if the video doesn’t show for you):

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