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Cubs may be unrecognizable by spring training

They've already shed Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zabrano. But the Cubs don't seem to be done with the inventory reduction sale just yet.

According to reports out of Baltimore, the Wee Bears have offered to pay almost all of the $54 million remaining on the final three years of Alfonso Soriano's contract to make the always defensively challenged outfielder -- and lately offensively challenged -- off Chicago's hands.

It's figured that maybe Soriano could be a designated hitter in the American League to limit his liabilities in the outfield. But that doesn't change the fact that his bat has slowed and the guy has become a strikeout machine. Maybe there is a slight chance that Soriano would regain focus and be better rested as a DH and improve his offensive production. If the Cubs are willing to eat $45 million of the bad money they owe Soriano, Baltimore might be willing to give him a chance.

Rumors out of Philadelphia emerged over the weekend that another Chicago favorite might soon be wearing a different uniform.

The Wee Bears were initially thought to be willing to give Kerry Wood a one-year deal for 2012. Wood took a fraction of what he could have got on the open market to return to Chicago last season. But the new regime at Wrigley Field doesn't seem to be nearly as sentimental. Instead, talk is that the Phillies have jumped into the fray and Wood could help them as a set-up man in the bullpen.