Major League Baseball's General Manager Meetings, taking place this year at the O'Hare Hilton, often mark the start of discussions for offseason maneuvers.
But as the general managers arrived in Chicago Monday, Cubs boss Jim Hendry made it clear how his team's controversial outfielder Milton Bradley doesn't necessarily have to be involved in those Hot Stove moves.
"He's still with us. He's on our roster," said Hendry, during a talk with the media on Monday. "And that's how you have to go into the offseason.
"Other people have had some major hiccups along the way and come back, and that's just how you have to look at it. He's on your roster until proven differently. That's how we go about it."
Much of Bradley's 2009 season with the Cubs basically stood out as a hiccup, after agreeing to a three-year, $30 million deal on Jan. 6. He hit .257 with 12 home runs and just 40 RBIs, and was far from a perfect fit within the team.
His season came to an end 15 games short of the official conclusion when the Cubs suspended Bradley after he took shots at the team during an interview with the Daily Herald. At the time, Hendry said that he wouldn't let the Cubs fans be used as excuses and wouldn't tolerate Bradley not being able to answer questions from the media in a respectful manner.
On Monday, though, Hendry certainly didn't talk about Bradley in the past tense. He also said that the ongoing Bradley saga, which brings along trade rumors regarding the right fielder, is not distracting to him or the organization.
"No, not at all," said Hendry, who has talked with Bradley's agent but not Bradley since the end of the 2009 season. "We got our plan for the offseason and obviously that takes its own twists and turns.
"Some of the best deals we've ever made have been the ones we didn't anticipate or prepare for. And some of the things that we've had our heart and soul set on and targeted haven't worked out as well as we would have liked.
"A lot of people have had worse exits at the end of the year than that and they return," Hendry said. "There will be a lot of things that change personnel-wise over the winter, I'm sure, and the goal is to do the best we can to put a good club on the field by Spring Training. Until people aren't here, as a general manager, I approach it like they are here."