2.) Lou Piniella is a good fit in Chicago, and the rumors of an A-Rod trade deserve to be true because they make so much sense. Also, I'd much rather see A-Rod on the North Side than on the South Side come the start of 2007.
3.) Upon hearing that Art Howe was hired by the Phillies as a coach, I wondered why no one has hired him as a Manager since he left the Mets in 2004. Then I looked at his managerial record, and realized that in 14 seasons, his teams have a .498 winning percentage. He had a couple of good seasons with the A's, a couple of terrible seasons, and mostly mediocre seasons. This is why he is now a coach and not a manager.
4.) Here's a REALLY random thought that is extremely unlikely to come into play: assuming the Collective Bargaining Agreement remains in effect as is, with draft pick compensation for free agents who leave, is it possible that Shannon Stewart could remain a Twin?. Here's the scenarrio: To get the compensation, a team has to offer arbitration to the player (unless he signs before the deadline to offer arbitration, which is fairly common). If Stewart doesn't sign before the deadline, the Twins would have to decide to either NOT offer arbitration, and thus receive no compensation for losing Stewart, OR offer him arbitration and risk him accepting. If Stewart wasn't getting any really good offers, he could take the Twins to arbitration and probably make better money for one year than he otherwise would have on the market. I think this is unlikely, but it is something to think about as we prepare to head into the Free Agent stretch of the post-season.