News from the Trib owned Newsday that the Cubs are aggressively pursuing Gary Sheffield to avoid spending for Soriano or Lee shouldn’t surprise anyone reading today’s NY Post business section. The Post reports that not only is Trib circulation dropping in Chicago, LA, New York, and Baltimore, but they’re declaring the whole Trib auction process to sell Tribco a sham. So Sheff fits in perfectly with giving Piniella what he needs for a year, then short changing him for the rest of his stay in Chicago. That is, the team won’t be sold, the owners won’t have cash to compete in a market where the NY Times estimates Aramis Ramirez’ free agent value at $75 million, and the Cubs will celebrate their 100th October in a row as spectators. Also amazing is that in the same story, the NY Times basically makes the A-Rod to Cubs deal feasible (if the Cubs can deal Ramirez by Nov. 11) in a 3rd base to 3rd base deal with the Yankees — and they buried the lead. The NY Post predicts the Cubs dreary future this way:

Doubts that Tribune will follow through with a sale came as Tribune reported that circulation at The Los Angeles Times, which accounts for almost one-quarter of the company’s revenue, dropped 8 percent from last year, while its flagship Chicago Tribune fell nearly 2 percent. Long Island’s Newsday was down about 5 percent.

Tribune’s newspaper troubles, which come as no surprise to media watchers, have some on Wall Street wondering why the company decided to put itself on the block.

Some sources noted that Tribune limited the field of potential buyers by telling suitors they had to submit bids for the entire company instead of select assets.

The company also announced publicly that it would conclude the sales process by the end of the year, which gives buyers only about two months to examine a media giant with a broad array of businesses from television stations to newspapers and Web sites. In comparison, newspaper giant Knight-Ridder took five months to sell itself earlier this year.