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Signed, Sealed & Delivered

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Aug 20, 2007 1:45PM

2007_08_sports_z_signs.jpgThey're Ours!

We were pleasantly surprised by signings announced on both sides of town in recent days -- the Cubs and Carlos Zambrano agreed to a five year deal worth $91.5 million on Friday, and on Saturday the White Sox announced a two year, $22 million extension for Jermaine Dye.

Zambrano's signing caught us by surprise for a number of reasons -- because of the impending sale of the Cubs, because of the dollars involved and because of Z's recent performance.

Rumors swirled through Cubs camp during spring training that Zambrano was close to signing a deal worth $75 million over five years. That got put on the back burner when Sam Zell bought the Tribune Co. and placed the Cubs up for sale.

Since the season's start, the Cubs' fortunes have risen and fallen with Zambrano. His mediocre spring mirrored the Cubs' slow start, while his hot June and July corresponded with their rise to the top of the NL Central. Like the Cubs in general, Z has been subpar of late. There had been a couple incidents that could make one questions his mental make-up.

Yet the Cubs realized that they'd spend more to replace Zambrano than to keep him, and he was willing to leave a substantial sum on the table in order to stay with the Cubs -- many thought Zambrano could have commanded as much as $140 million over seven years! Chicagoist hopes that John Canning, Mark Cuban, et al approve of the Trib spending their money.

2007_07_sports_tradingdeadl.jpgHaving already locked up their franchise pitcher for a hometown discount in July, the White Sox began firming up their outfield by re-signing Dye.

Dye, like Buehrle, was heavily shopped by GM Kenny Williams once the Sox season unraveled. While a number of deals were rumored to be close, Williams decided not to pull the trigger on any of them when he couldn't get the right combination of players back. Given that anything would be better than letting a player walk as a free agent, Chicagoist suspected that re-signing Dye wasn't an impossibility. Now, if only the White Sox can find a center fielder during the off season, because Williams is certainly signaling that the Sox expect to be back on top next year.

Photo via AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast,