In a lawyer's office somewhere, Cliff is bent over the contract, pen in hand. He has long dreamed of playing for his hometown Cubs, and he wants the flourish of his signature to reflect the depth of his desire. He labors over the turns and twists of each letter in his name with a concentration that would have given Michelangelo a migraine.

Floyd began the signing process Monday morning, when the Associated Press first reported that his Cubdom was imminent. Scribing the capital "C" consumed most of the morning. Following a light lunch, the veteran outfielder picked up speed, knocking off the "l," "i," and the first "f" before nightfall, at which point all agreed that Floyd should retire for the evening lest he risk injury or, owing to fatigue, a less than elegant signature.


Only the deadly quiet on the Cub front could explain why SO much attention is being paid to Floyd's POSSIBLY joining the team. As for his ability to contribute in '07 after an injury-riddled '06, The Hardball Times, relying on Tangotiger's Marcels projections, pegs Floyd for a 792 OPS with 18 HRs and 62 RBI in 451 plate appearances in the season ahead. Not terrible, though obviously, those numbers hinge on Floyd being a full-timer instead of Matt Murton's platoon partner, which would be his logical role on the North Side.

At the Cub Convention, Manager Lou talked about the importance of getting Murton lots of at bats. But if Piniella really does have platooning on the brain, Murton, facing lefties, would get a fraction of the number of chances that Floyd would facing righties. (Last year, for instance, Cub batters had 1,593 ABs against southpaws; 3,994 against northpaws.)

Of course, it's all moot until Cliff actually signs the deal. If and when he does, you shouldn't have any trouble getting the news.


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