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Large ticket hikes coming for 2008?
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/6/2007 12:18 AM

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Will it cost you more to watch the Cubs in 2008? Probably.

Will it cost you substantially more? Possibly.

Internet chatter Monday was rife with speculation that the Cubs will raise ticket prices by large amounts next year in the wake of a playoff season in 2007. The team, which figures to be sold within the next year, also has a player payroll with contracts back-loaded to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

The Cubs usually inform season-ticket holders of prices for the following season in the fall. Cubs president John McDonough was not immediately available for comment Monday. A team spokesman said he had no knowledge of ticket-price increases for 2008.

Ticket increases, especially after successful seasons, are the norm these days.

Three for one: The Cubs said goodbye to veteran pitcher Steve Trachsel last week, declining to pick up his option for 2008.

Over the weekend, general manager Jim Hendry said he had no regrets about trading young players Scott Moore and Rocky Cherry to the Baltimore Orioles at the end of August to get Trachsel, who went 1-3 with an 8.31 ERA with the Cubs.

It turns out the Cubs have given up three players to get Trachsel for short-time duty. The front office confirmed Monday the Cubs have sent minor-league pitcher Jacob Renshaw to the Orioles to complete the deal.

Renshaw, a 21-year-old right-hander, went 12-8 with a 4.33 ERA in 23 games (22 starts) at Class A Peoria. He was the Cubs' 10th-round pick of the 2006 draft, the first draft conducted by highly regarded scouting director Tim Wilken.

Milling about: Jim Hendry is jumping into the fray at the GM meetings in Orlando, Fla.

Early reports and whispers center on the Cubs looking at Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford, who batted .315 with 11 homers, 80 RBI and a nice .355 on-base percentage this year. The OBP is 24 percentage points above Crawford's career mark.

Crawford is a left-handed hitting outfielder, something the Cubs are actively pursuing. Over the weekend, Cubs insiders confirmed to the Daily Herald they're looking seriously at Japanese star Kosuke Fukudome, who can become a free agent this winter.

Tampa Bay will be looking for pitching, and the Cubs have pitching to offer. However, the Rays have been known to be slow to pull the trigger on deals, and the Cubs will watch Fukudome's situation carefully.

Cubs insiders said Monday that they've had no conversations with the Devil Rays since the end of the season. That could change this week.

Hendry did say he will talk as early as this week with the representatives for free-agent pitcher Kerry Wood, a Cub since being drafted in 1995 and a major-leaguer since 1998.

"We'll talk to Woody's people soon," Hendry said by telephone Monday.