Weekend Update … The Second Week of the Epstein Era

It figures to be another big week for the Chicago Cubs. Jed Hoyer is expected to be introduced as the Cubs new general manager no later than Tuesday. Once the Hoyer announcement is out of the way, the Cubs should turn their attention to Mike Quade and the coaching staff … while dealing with the personnel on the field.

Ryan Dempster picked up his 2012 option Saturday and next on the options list … Aramis Ramirez and Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs will reportedly pick up their part of the mutual option on Ramirez but the third baseman is expected to opt out and become a free agent. Ramirez must make a decision by Monday night at 10:59pm CDT (11:59pm ET). As for Samardzija, the Cubs are expected to pick up the $3 million club option on Samardzija for next season.

Six players that finished the season in a Cubs’ uniform were among the 148 players to file for free agency on Sunday. Kerry Wood and Carlos Pena were the most notable and both could return for 2012.

Free Agency
The Cubs had four other players file for free agency along with Kerry Wood and Carlos Pena on Sunday … Reed Johnson, John Grabow, Ramon Ortiz and Rodrigo Lopez. Jed Hoyer could end up re-signing as many as half of the six players to contracts for 2012 and possibly beyond. John Grabow, Rodrigo Lopez and Ramon Ortiz are not expected to be re-signed by the Cubs … not even to minor league contracts.

Team Epstein
Theo Epstein could be adding another piece to his team in the coming days. According to a report from the Tribune, the Cubs are close to adding Joe Bohringer as pro scouting coordinator. Bohringer is currently a scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks and has been with the organization since 2006. Bohringer has a degree from MIT Sloan School of Management and prior to joining the D’Backs was an Area Scouting Supervisor for the Mariners and Senior Manager of Player Development for the Dodgers. Last season was Bohringer’s 22nd in professional baseball.

From the Rumor Mill
The rumor will kick into gear this week but Jon Heyman tweeted out the first big one in relation to the Cubs on Sunday afternoon.

According to Jon Heyman, CC Sabathia will opt out of his contract and is planning to look around before re-signing with the Yankees … who made an offer for Sabathia this weekend. Heyman said the Cubs are one of five teams that could challenge the Yankees for Sabathia’s services.

Stay Tuned … this is only the beginning.

Well, there’s the update and I’m sticking to it.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Be who you are and say what you feel. Because, those who mind, don't matter and those who matter, don't mind." - Theodor Seuss Geisel

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  • Tony_Hall

    To quote Buster Olney:  “And today will be better than yesterday”

    I can’t say that I have thought this to be true for the Cubs for a long, long time.

    Let the Hot Stove begin!

    • Anthony

      Cruz misplayed the ball, and it wasn’t the first time.

      • Tony_Hall

        No kidding.

        And you replied to the wrong post.

        • J Daniel

          lol

  • paulcatanese

    CC looking around is huge(as he is). Promise he can hit 5-6 in the lineup and he will be here. Even let him play first when not pitching, if there is anything he likes besides money and pitching its swinging the bat (and not neccesarly in that order).

    • John G

      Maybe that is what Ricketts meant when he said he could never envision Big Z pitching for the Cubs again. They’re going to turn him into a first baseman so he can swing the bat every day. Then he can bitch about the pitchers instead.

      • John G

        Come to thnk of it, one of them is a lefty and one is a righty. They can both start, one pitching and one at first. Left hander comes up, Z goes to the mound and CC goes to first. Rigty comes up, they switch positions. Switch hitter comes up…who knows?

        Just a dream because whoever heard of a left handed first baseman.

        • John G

          I meant right handed.

        • paulcatanese

          Switch hitter Berkman, no problem, got to be CC force Berkman to hit from the right side.

  • Tony_Hall

    Here is a great article by Buster Olney.  It is an insider article, that it his daily blog.  This is just his intro…a look at what would have happened, IF Nelson Cruz catches the ball in Game 6

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/olney_buster/id/7169958/after-missing-ring-second-year-rangers-begin-all-mlb

    ST. LOUIS — Behind the sheet of plastic that covered Nelson Cruz’s locker, the ball was still wedged into his glove — the same ball that he caught to end Game 6 of the World Series and to turn the Texas Rangers into champions for the first time. Cruz had held the ball aloft in his bare hand as ran in from right field, intending to join his teammates in their celebration, but instead, they had taken the celebration out to him — Josh Hamilton crashing into him from the side, to form the bottom of the dog pile, and Michael Young and Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli and Adrian Beltre jumping onto the top.Cruz clutched the baseball — the World Series-winning baseball — the whole time, underneath the pile, then stuffed it into his back pocket and pulled on the T-shirts and caps that had been dispensed to the Texas players while the victory stage was set up. Usually, the closer gets the ball on the final out, but Neftali Feliz is 23 years old and Cruz is 31 years old, so normal protocol is out the door. Because really, it doesn’t matter whether Cruz or Feliz keeps the ball stored safely; it belongs to all of them.

    It belongs to Ron Washington, their relentlessly optimistic manager, who had found himself praying for the final out.

    To Jon Daniels, the general manager who learned from his first mistakes to build an organization that is viewed as a developing dynasty by other teams.

    To Young, who buried his angry feelings toward Daniels in spring training and went about the business of trying to win.

    To Beltre, who had wanted to sign with the Boston Red Sox and then the Los Angeles Angels, but instead found a group of teammates as devoted to winning as he is.

    To C.J. Wilson, in what probably was his last year with the Rangers.

    To Alexi Ogando, who is now celebrated in a country that wouldn’t give him a visa just a few years ago.

    Washington, his eyes red from the spray of ginger ale and the salt of tears, walked to Cruz’s locker and asked to see the baseball, and the right fielder reached behind the plastic and pulled it out. Washington held it for a second, considering how different it seemed from any other baseball he had seen. He shook his head and laughed. “The way you were going back on that,” he said to Cruz, “I thought it might get over your head. You about gave me a heart attack.”With that, the two grown men embraced in a bear hug.

    In a parallel universe, anyway.

  • cubtex

    To carry over the discussion on the possibilty of moving Soriano to an AL team. I will argue that quite a few AL teams could use Soriano. His numbers are much better than quite a few of the DH’s and for around 4 or 5 mil a year to that team it would be a fair deal. Take Vlad Guerrero…he played last year on a 1 year 8 mil deal. Vlad’s average and OBP are higher but his power numbers are not anywhere near Soriano’s. Hideki Matui was on a 1 year 4.25 mil deal. Soriano’s numbers would be an upgrade over Matsui’s as well.

    I can’t understand this talk about wanting to just cut this guy. I understand they need to move him because of defensive liability issues but please…..this guy had 88 RBI’s and 25 plus HR’s and a lot of 2B’s. Many teams would love to have that production at 4 or 5 mil per year!!!

    • paulcatanese

      On top of that, if his legs were healthy and continued to improve his defensive skills let him stay. to this point, did the Cubs have anyone that produced more, In the outfield (RBI’s, HR’s) than he did?

      • gocubs

        Agreed.  Plus he is great in the clubhouse.  He could easily be our most productive player next year.  What other NL team has a #7 hitter with those numbers?  Obvioulsy the contract is stupid, but its already a sunk cost.  May as well get the most out of it. 

      • cubtex

        I can’t understand the talk to just release him and eat his salary. Are you telling me that 88 RBI’s and 26 HR’s per year warrant a guy getting released? Many of the DH’s had 60 to 70 more AB’s than Soriano and his numbers would stack up to almost anyones with the same number of AB’s.

        • Tony_Hall

          If you plan on him being a part of the future playoff teams, by all means keep him around.  But do not let him block someone from playing, or have someone sitting the bench, that needs to play, just because he is being paid $18M.

          Do you really think he can repeat those numbers?  That was the most RBI’s he has had as a Cub.  Mainly because no one was hitting anyone in, in front of him, most of the year, he had more opportunities.

          Keep him for now, but trade him in a heart beat, if someone will pick up $5M/year.

          • cubtex

            Who do they have right now who Soriano is blocking? Tyler Colvin? Please! Bryan LaHair? He is not a future left fielder. I agree to move him but do not release him and eat the entire salary. He had a productive offensive year and he is not blocking anyone at this time.

          • Tony_Hall

            He has 3 years left on his contract.  I sure hope that at some point in those 3 years, we are able to bring up someone, from our system, to replace him.

            He isn’t going to be released.  But, it won’t be the end of the world when they finally do.  

          • cubtex

            I hope so too!

          • Tony_Hall

            I am not sure where you saw the talk about just release him and eat his salary…today.

            He was actually productive last year, all the more reason to try and find that 1 team that will bite on him and take on part of his contract, $5M would be great!

          • cubtex

            What does untradeable and just absorb his salary mean? That is the talk that I am referring to.

          • Tony_Hall

            Just tried to find that and couldn’t.  

            He is virtually un-tradeable and they can absorb his contract if they need to.

          • cubtex

            You and Suzy were mentioning releasing him and workin out a payment plan on the remainder of his salary on 10/29. Do you not recall that?

          • Tony_Hall

            I was just explaining how it would work.  I didn’t say that they should release him now.  

            I think they should try to trade him, to anyone willing to pay part of his salary.  $10M of it would be more than enough.  He is not a part of the future, and you definitely don’t want him around for 3 more years.  If the end result is just releasing him, so be it, whether it is in the offseason (due to having better options brought in) or during the season.  I really don’t think we will be discussing Soriano next off-season, except for his payroll number that will be left to pay in 2013 and 2014.

          • Tony_Hall

            I know you don’t always like the fantasy baseball comparison, but fantasy baseball is all about offensive production.

            Early ranking for 2012, have Soriano 63rd for OF’s and 240th with all batters and pitchers considered.  Factor in defense, and what you have is an aging ball player, who will not be able to duplicate his 2011 numbers ever again.  He is also a defensive liability (Boston would be best as his bumbling ways would be not as bad with less square footage to cover and his arm is still good enough to throw someone out from anywhere in LF).

    • Tony_Hall

      No problem

      Name me all those teams. (and I don’t profess to know the AL all that well, teams can get DH’s from many spots)  Plus how many teams, think he can duplicate those numbers again, even for 1 season, let alone 3.

      The WEST
      Texas – No need and no chance
      Angels – No need and new GM, doubt he wants Wells and Soriano (swap? – no)
      Oakland – No need and doesn’t fit 
      Seatlle – No need

      The CENTRAL
      White Sox – know better
      Indians – No need
      Detroit – No need
      KCity – No need
      Minnesota – Doesn’t fit their style

      The EAST
      Yankees – Loaded with DH’s already
      Red Sox – no need, but could play LF in Boston!
      Tampa – No need and doesn’t fit
      Toronto – No need
      Baltimore – maybe

      I just don’t see much of a market, that could get his price up to $5M.

      • cubtex

        Tony…look at the production many of those teams you listed had gotten from the DH position and many of those teams will have openings if they let the player go.

        Texas- Maybe…What will they do with Michael Young moving forward.
        Angels- A possibiltiy if they let Abreu go.
        Seattle- Why not at 4 mil? There offense is horrible and definately could use his bat. He is not this stiff that you make him out to be offensively.

        So…already I gave you 3 teams in the West.

        The Central
        White Sox.. If they move Dunn…Why not?
        Twins… Could be a fit there as well.

        East

        Yankees…Who are they loaded with? Posada?
        Red Sox…What if they let big Papi walk?
        Tampa…Depends on what they do with Damon
        Toronto….Huge need
        Baltimore…Huge need

        So….I gave you many scenarios where Soriano could fit with several AL teams. Do you think Baltimore would not want Soriano at 3 or 4 mil per year less than they were paying Vlad? Toronto had terrible production at DH and could use Soriano.

        • Tony_Hall

          Just because his production was better than they received, doesn’t mean they will pay to bring him in, to hope that he does it again.

          Texas – no chance, they have many options, and will be players in the 1B market (I think)
          Angels – have other options than Abreu, and they won’t want Wells and Soriano on this team, new GM, doubt he wants to put that down as his 1st off-season move.
          Seattle – Why would they do it when they have other options?

          White Sox – That’s a might BIG IF
          Twins – He doesn’t fit their style of play (unselfish at the plate)

          Yankees – Their whole lineup if DH’s – ARod, Jeter, Teixiera, not to mention a Jesus Montero, who will on their roster next year.
          Red Sox – Possible, only because I think he could play some LF, but I really doubt they would take a Cubs big contract after the last few weeks.
          Tampa – Just don’t see them bringing in a guy like Soriano, Damon is a completely different type of offensive player, as in smart and a team player.
          Toronto – Adam Lind was hurt last year, he should be back
          Baltimore – I agree is possible, but doubt a new GM, will want to make his mark by bringing in Soriano.

          There is a really small amount of teams, that could fit.

          • Dorasaga

            I just want to add that both the White Sox and the Mariners are under a youth movement right now (as promised last year). Sometimes we need to factor in the organizational philosophy before we consider them a trade mark or not, no puns intended.

  • Brp921

    CC is a real work horse, but he would be leaving 4 more years at 23 million a year on the table and expecting more money and/or more years wouldn’t he? Would the Cubs be willing to do that for a 32 year old pitcher?

  • Chipguy2030

    I like the idea of signing CC.  CJ Wilson is going to ask for close to $20 million a year so why not pay CC $5 million more a year for more innings and more wins.  I think Big Z will calm down and actually enjoy playing with the Cubs next year with Garza, Sabathia, Dempster, Zambrano, and Wells/Cashner as a very good rotation.  First thing we have to do is HIRE SANDBERG!  He is not going to take any crap from anybody on the team and HE WILL TEACH THE CUBS AND THE FRONT OFFICE WHAT IS AND SHOULD BE “THE CUBS WAY!”  Please Theo and Jed lets start things off right! 

    • Brp921

      This would bring up the question of whether or not he could help the Cubs win a pennant during his contract. They would also need to add some offense. I think if they could afford both him and Fielder they should go for it if he opts out,and would sign for four or five years. A perfect world would be Sabatthia, Fielder and with Ramirez playing like he did in the second half of last year, as a complimentary player to Fielder. And yes, with Sandberg as manager.