Checking on the Cubs … While Waiting on Theo

Day four of the Theo Watch … In case you haven’t heard, the Cubs asked the Red Sox for permission to talk to Theo Epstein earlier this week … and since Tuesday, just about all of the Cubs news and rumors have centered around the Red Sox current general manager.

Speculation in the mainstream media has run amuck since the news leaked Tuesday that Tom Ricketts asked for permission to talk with Epstein about an opening in their front office. Some feel Epstein will end up on the North Side of Chicago and the other half believe Epstein will stay in Beantown. As Bruce Levine pointed out Thursday, with Yom Kippur beginning on Friday night, any news or announcement concerning Epstein will be made prior to the beginning of the Jewish Holiday … or will wait until next week.

Regardless of what happens the rumors of Theo Epstein possibly taking over the baseball operations of the Chicago Cubs has made the first week without actual games fly by.

Here’s what been going on while waiting on Theo …

Tom Ricketts on Fox Business Network
Tom Ricketts recently spoke with Fox Business Network. Here are excerpts from that interview sent to the CCO from Fox Business Network.

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts spoke with FOX Business Network’s (FBN) Neil Cavuto about the past season’s performance and rumors that Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein will join the team next season. When asked about the rumors, Ricketts said, “I don’t know; there’s a lot of good candidates out there. We’re going to talk to a handful of them and I’m sure we’ll come up with the right fit for the team.” He also said, “It was a disappointing season for everyone, but, we’re going to get some new leadership.”

On if Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein will join the Chicago Cubs:
“I don’t know; there’s a lot of good candidates out there. We’re going to talk to a handful of them and I’m sure we’ll come up with the right fit for the team. Ultimately it will be the decision of myself and my family. Obviously we didn’t get it done on the field this year. It was a disappointing season for everyone, but, we’re going to get some new leadership.”

On if he was disappointed with the past season’s performance:
“Going to both this season and last season, we thought we had a team that would perform better than it turned out to perform. You can’t go back in time, you look forward, we have a lot of good things to build on and we’ll get there.”

On what it will take to stimulate the economy:
“It comes down to when that confidence in the economy comes back. It’s just a matter of time; we have to keep optimistic. If you’re going to incent long term-behavior, you need long-term incentives. When you look at short-term incentives, it doesn’t really get them to hire and invest.”

On how crucial it will be this playoff season for the team with strong financial resources to survive:
“I think that’s out the window at this point. Traditionally, teams that have a little bit more financial resources may be more consistent at getting to the playoffs but once you’re there anything can happen and there’s a good mix this year.”

On who he will root for in the playoffs:
“I don’t root for anyone; it’s hard to enjoy them now that we’re not in it.”

Arizona Fall League
Several of the Cubs top prospects are playing fall ball out in Arizona. The Arizona Fall League kicked of its season this week.

Andrew Cashner is expected to make his first appearance on Saturday while Trey McNutt is slated to start for the Mesa Solar Sox on Friday afternoon.

Josh Vitters had a big Opening Day, a quiet second and a solid third for the Solar Sox … all while playing first base. Vitters is listed as an outfielder on the Solar Sox’s roster but has played first base so far. Vitters was 2-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI on Opening Day. After a 0-for-4 performance in the second game, Vitters drove in a pair in a 2-for-4 afternoon on Thursday.

Junior Lake has played short and third and was 3-for-4 on Wednesday, reportedly with a mammoth home run. Lake was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in game one and was 0-for-5 on Thursday. Lake has committed two errors … one at short and one at third.

D.J. LeMahieu has struggled in his first three games … 2-for-11 with two walks, two runs scored and a RBI.

Chris Carpenter lit up the radar gun (100 MPH) on Wednesday and pitched two shutout innings. Marcus Hatley surrendered a run on three hits in 1 1/3 innings out of the pen on Tuesday.

Roster Moves
The Cubs designated Justin Berg and Brian Schlitter for assignment last Thursday … and outrighted the right-handed relievers to Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday. Justin Berg is not expected to pitch next season while rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery and Brian Schlitter’s status for 2012 is unknown at this time.

In Other News … and Rumors
Bob Brenly spoke his mind about Aramis Ramirez … and did not pull any punches. Brenly described Ramirez as a “numbers gatherer” whose “defense has fallen off the face of the earth.”

The Cubs are expected to exercise their part of Ramirez’s mutual option for next season. Ramirez is expected to decline his part and become a free agent. If those two scenarios play out, the Cubs will be off the hook for the $2 million buyout on the option and they will receive draft pick compensation if Ramirez takes his talents to another team

Click here for the full report on Brenly’s comments as well as the podcast from the Waddle and Silvy Show (ESPN 1000).

According to a report from the Sun-Times, C.J. Wilson may just be what the Cubs crave … but the bright one suggests the Cubs will not try to sign the free-spirited southpaw. Wilson could command has much as five years and $100 million if the Rangers let him walk. Wilson has not ruled out signing with the Cubs.

And last but not least … The White Sox surprised just about everyone in the game by naming Robin Ventura their new manager on Thursday. Could there be two managers in Chicago next year sporting the number 23?

Well, there’s the first update of the Cubs off-season … and I’m sticking to it.

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Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein