The Hot Stove is Heating Up

Managerial and Player Rumors Galore

With the Boss stating on Tuesday that Joe Torre will return as the manager of the Yankees for 2007 all of the talk about Lou Piniella and Joe Girardi possibly replacing him were quieted….for now. Piniella was in the booth on Tuesday night in Oakland broadcasting the ALCS for Fox and according to several reports he interviewed for the San Francisco job on Monday. Piniella reportedly said he is not interested in the job for the Washington Nationals. Before the Yankees made the announcement that Torre would return, the Baseball This Morning crew on XM Radio stated that Joe Girardi would be a perfect fit for the Cubs job.

Here are the latest rumors….

Lou Piniella….

According to several reports, including one from the Boston Herald, Piniella’s main reason for not being interested in the Nationals job is the fact that the Nationals are “a team that is building for the future” and “that situation” is apparently not right for Piniella.

A report in the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday morning confirmed that Jim Hendry had indeed met with Lou Piniella last Saturday.

According to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, Piniella said, “he would return to managing only with an immediate contender.”

Joe Girardi….

Former Cub GM Dallas Green came just short of endorsing Joe Girardi in this article in the Chicago Tribune.

John McDonough was at dinner with Joe Girardi and Jim Hendry on Monday night.

A vote of confidence toward the end of the season for Girardi….from former Cub and Yankee Don Zimmer.

Former Cub Ron Coomer joined the Baseball This Morning crew on XM Radio on Tuesday and became the latest former teammate of Girardi to sing his praises. Coomer stated that Girardi is the only choice in his mind for the job in Chicago. He said that Girardi is a “smart guy” and knows what it will take to turn the Cubs around…he went on to state, “he will get the job.”

Cecil Cooper….

Former Major Leaguer and current Astros’ bench coach Cecil Cooper will interview for the Washington Nationals job according to the Houston Chronicle. One other unidentified team (not the Nationals) had already been given permission to interview Cooper according to the same report.

The Latest on the Cubs time frame….

According to a report from the Sun-Times on Tuesday morning, Jim Hendry has moved into “overdrive” in his search for a new manager. Chris La Duca stated that the announcement on the new manager could come by the end of next week between the Championship games and the World Series. A quote from the article stated:

“Hopefully, some time in the next two weeks,” Hendry said.

Aramis Ramirez….

The latest on Ramirez from the Sun-Times stated that the Cubs and his agent, Paul Kinzer, are expected to meet again this week. From the Sun-Times:

“Both sides have indicated a strong desire to work out an extension.”

One of the teams rumored to be interested in signing Aramis Ramirez, if in fact he does opt out of his contract, has been the Los Angeles Angels. A report on their website stated that the Angels could trade for Joe Crede of the White Sox. The Sox are apparently interested in Chone Figgins and are not planning on retaining Scott Podsednik for the 2007 season. That trade could possibly put an end to the speculation that Juan Pierre will wind up on the Wrongside of Chicago as well.

Daisuke Matsuzaka….

According to several reports the Seibu Lions will post the 26-year old right-handed pitcher. The Japanese teams use the posting system and the highest bidder wins the right to negotiate with the player. Matsuzaka was named the MVP of the World Baseball Classic last March. The Cubs are among teams rumored to be interested in him along with the Yankees. Matsuzaka posted a 2.13 ERA and struck out 200 last season. (Article from the AP)

Alex Rodriguez….

The Cubs are rumored to be among the teams interested in trading for A-Rod if the Yankees do in fact put him on the trading block. Ken Rosenthal stated the Angles are the most likely destination for Rodriguez but that the Dodgers, Astros, Padres and even the Marlins could be destinations for Rodriguez. The interesting part about Rodriguez being on the block could limit what Aramis Ramirez can and cannot do this off-season.

Barry Zito….

Zito had a rough night on Tuesday in the first game of the ALCS….but what a hook. No doubt Zito will have a huge payday this off-season and while the Yankees and Mets are rumored to be the most likely destination for the lefty, the San Diego Padres are planning on being in on the Zito Sweepstakes after he declares himself a free agent according to the Union-Tribune.

Gary Sheffield….

According to the New York Post, Gary Sheffield’s $13 million dollar option for 2007 is likely not to be picked up by the Yankees and mention the Cubs as a team that could have interest in him (the article also mentions the Twins, Orioles, Blue Jays, Rangers, Angels, Cardinals, Astros and Tigers as possible destinations for Sheffield).

Gary Matthews, Jr. ….

According to the Dallas Morning News if the Rangers let Gary Matthews, Jr. reach free agency in November he could wind up back in Chicago to replace Juan Pierre, who will likely leave for free agency. Matthews and Pierre will be the most sought after free agents this off-season (among center fielders), especially with the Twins picking up Torri Hunter’s option on Tuesday.

Miscellaneous….

According the Boston Herald former Cub coaches Dick Pole or Larry Rothschild could replace recently dismissed pitching coach Dave Wallace with the Red Sox.

For those of you that missed the commercial with Tommy Lasorda about the Cubs, here is the link….talking about kicking a team while they are down.

2006 Team Payrolls

Extras….

While the Faithful want the Cubs to spend as much money in the off-season as possible to win in 2007, spending wisely is the right course of action….obviously. A look at some of last year’s busts indicate that just because a team spends the money on a player does not mean that player will help lead his new team to the promise land. Ask the Toronto Blue Jays how that $55 million dollar contract worked out last year for them….A.J. Burnett won 10 games last season, that is $1.1 million dollars per victory.

Jeff Passan from Yahoo Sports ran a very good article on the possible length and dollar amount some of the top free agents this off-season can expect to get. Passan also added some very good insight about Daisuke Matsuzaka….a good read and worth the time.

Well, that’s the rumors and I’m sticking to them….

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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