Will the ex-Cub factor--which dictates that the performance of ex-Cubs will always be greater than, and never equal to or less then, their performance while with the Cubs--work for Will Ohman?
The lefty reliever who left the Cubs back in 2007 via trade, and was probably better known for whining his way out the door than for anything he did on the field, has been signed by the White Sox. This seemed at first like an odd move by GM Kenny Williams, who currently has at least two lefties--Matt Thornton and Chris Sale--in his bullpen. Ohman also seemed like sort of a character risk, the type of player Cubs GM Jim Hendry would sign again even though he bitched and moaned his way out of Chicago the first time.
But, consider the likely possibility that Thornton will be the first choice to set up Sale as the new closer, and the Sox still need a southpaw specialist they can bring in to face one or two left-handed batters, and save Thornton and Sale for prime time appearances. Also, Ohman sounds more mature than when he left town, and has generally been more effective the last few season than he was with the Cubs, so maybe it will all work out.
Speaking of character, the Cubs have brought back Reed Johnson in a minor league deal. (Does the ex-Cub factor work for ex-Cubs who come back to the Cubs?) The scrappy outfielder was a fan favorite, hustling on the bases and playing the field with no concern for life or limb. But, he was a marginal hitter whose .303 average in 2008 was out of the ordinary, and that was when he was 31. He's now 34.
It's a low-risk deal and if he makes the team out of spring training, he'll get a nice hand when he returns to Wrigley. But, consider him the new Sam Fuld (though I guess you could also call him the old Sam Fuld, for multiple reasons)--that is, a guy who will make a few tumbling, diving, jumping catches, hopefully as a late-game replacement for Alfonso Soriano, and may collect a clutch hit or two, but probably won't have much impact overall.