Weekend Update … One Interview After the Other for the Cubs

If the last two weeks are any indication the next seven days figure to be anything but boring. Theo Epstein has not wasted any time since taking over as the President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs on October 21.

Theo Epstein was introduced on October 25 and officially hired Jed Hoyer (Executive Vice President/General Manager) and Jason McLeod (Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development) the very next day. While waiting to formally introduce Hoyer and McLeod, Ryan Dempster picked up his option and Aramis Ramirez declined his part of the mutual option for 2012 and became a free agent … a day later, Epstein and Hoyer declined the Cubs option on Jeff Samardzija for 2012 so they could re-sign him at a lower salary.

Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod were formally introduced on November 1 and the day after Mike Quade was dismissed. Team Epstein then began interviewing candidates for the open managerial position the next day. The Cubs’ brass also hired Joe Bohringer to be the pro scouting director on the day they completed interviewing Pete Mackanin. Bohringer’s hiring is expected to be made official on Monday … it would not be a stretch to say the Cubs new front office is not wasting any time.

Will week three of the Theo Epstein era be as busy as the first two?

Managerial Candidates
Next up in the interview process for Team Epstein will be Dale Sveum. The Cubs are scheduled to meet with Sveum on Monday. Mike Maddux will follow later in the week. Maddux’s interview with the Red Sox is on Tuesday.

The Cubs have received permission from the Indians to speak with Sandy Alomar, Jr. Alomar is also on Boston’s list and will meet with Ben Cherington and company on Wednesday. Alomar is supposed to meet with Epstein, Hoyer, McLeod and Bush after Mike Maddux.

The Cubs are also expected to meet with DeMarlo Hale and reports have suggested Tim Bogar will receive an interview as well.

Pete Mackanin mentioned Saturday that Epstein and Hoyer told him they are anticipating the Cubs managerial search to take about two weeks.

AFL Rising Stars Game
The best of the best in the Arizona Fall League participated in the sixth annual AFL Rising Stars game on Saturday night. The Cubs had three representatives in the game … Junior Lake, Chris Carpenter and Trey McNutt.

Junior Lake started the game at short for the East squad and hit third. Lake finished 1-for-3 at the plate with a double and a run scored. The 21-year old infielder struggled in the field and was charged with an error. Lake’s defensive issues have been well documented and he reinforced those reports on Saturday night.

Chris Carpenter took over with one out in the bottom of the sixth and threw six pitches, three for strikes to one batter … and induced an inning ending double play. Trey McNutt faced one batter in the bottom of the eighth and struck him out. McNutt appears to have lost a little weight but still brought heat. McNutt’s fastball was clocked in the mid 90s and he struck out Wil Myers swinging on a 84 MPH curveball.

Off-Season Calendar
Will update the Calendar throughout the off-season

November

  • 9 – 27th Annual Cubs Convention Tickets Go on Sale
  • 10 – End of Waiver period
  • 11 – Beginning of New Waiver period – waivers secured on or after November 11, 2011 remain in effect until February 15, 2012, exception: outright waivers
  • 14 – 15 – General Managers Meetings – Milwaukee, WI
  • 15 – 16 – Owners Meetings – Milwaukee, WI
  • 18 – Deadline for clubs to file reserve lists for Major League club and all Minor League Levels (Rule 5 Draft protection)
  • 23 – Last date for former club to offer salary arbitration to ranked free agents to be eligible for draft pick compensation. Deadline is midnight ET

BBWAA Awards – All Award winners announced at 2:00pm ET

  • 14 – NL and AL Rookie of the Year
  • 15 – AL Cy Young Award
  • 16 – NL and AL Manager of the Year
  • 18 – NL Cy Young Award
  • 21 – AL Most Valuable Player
  • 22 – NL Most Valuable Player

December

  • 1 – Last day to request outright waivers to assign player prior to Rule 5 Draft
  • 5 – Last time to outright a player prior to the Rule 5 Draft (5:00pm ET)
  • 7 – Last date for player who declared free agency to accept an arbitration offer from former club. Deadline is midnight ET.
  • 5 – 8 Baseball’s Winter Meetings – Dallas, TX
  • 8 – Rule 5 Draft – Dallas, TX
  • 12 – Last date for Major League clubs to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players (3-6 men)

2012

January

  • 5 – 15 – Salary arbitration filing period
  • 13 – 15 – 27th Annual Cubs Convention
  • 18 – Exchange of salary arbitration figures

February

  • 1 – 21 – Salary arbitration hearings
  • 13 – Voluntary reporting date to Spring Training for pitchers, catchers and injured players
  • 15 – End of Waiver Period
  • 16 – Beginning of New Waiver Period
  • 18 – Voluntary reporting date to Spring Training for other players

March

  • 2 – Mandatory reporting date to Spring Training for all players
  • 2 – 11 – Teams may renew contracts of unsigned players
  • 19 – Last day to place a player on unconditional release waivers and pay 30 days termination pay instead of 45 days
  • 28-29 – Japan Opening Series – Seattle vs. Oakland, Tokyo

April

  • 2 – Last day to request unconditional release waivers on a player without having to pay his full 2011 salary (Only 45 days termination pay is due)
  • 4 – All Clubs must reduce active roster to 25 players
  • 4 – Opening Day for MLB
  • 5 – Opening Day for Chicago Cubs – Cubs vs. Nationals at Wrigley Field

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

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"The man says 'play ball' not 'work ball,' you know." - Willie Stargell
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  • Tony_Hall

    It will be interesting how Team Theo, evaluates the players in the system.  Which guys they rank higher, through their system of evaluation, versus, which guys they rank lower.  This should be a good time to trade the prospects they rank lower, and bring in more prospects that match-up with their style, or fill some of the holes at the major league level. 

    I would love to get an evaluation of prospects, that JH traded away over the last few years, from their perception.  

  • Tony_Hall

    I was trying to figure out a chain of command and who reported to who, so I went to the Cubs.com, front office link.  Last time I was there, there was not a very long list of people.

    Obviously, Theo walks the walk about this being a “team”.  It looks like they have listed everybody, maybe even the hot dog vendors.

    One thing, I found interesting.  The list of departments, in this order, with person in charge listed first.

    Board of Directors – Tom Ricketts
    Baseball Operations – Theo Epstein
    Player Development and Scouting – Jason Mcleod
    Media Relations – Peter Chase
    Medical/Training Staff – Stephen Adams
    Clubhouse Staff – Tom Hellman
    Business Operations – Crane Kenney
    Accounting – Jon Kreifenkamp
    Human Resources – Jenny Surma
    Information Technology – Andrew McIntyre
    Legal/Community Affairs – Michael Lufrano
    Marketing Department – Wally Hayward
    Ticket Office – Colin Faulkner
    Wrigley Field Gameday Personnel – Andrew Belleson

    Now I know the Baseball departments are listed first, through Clubhouse staff, then it goes to the business side, with Crane Kenney.  But, I still found it amusing that Crane Kenney, who supposedly was the President, is now listed so far down the list.

    Full list - http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/team/front_office.jsp?c_id=chc

    • Tony_Hall

      If you are interested, here is the Boston front office.

      http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/team/front_office.jsp?c_id=bos

      I think Theo better get that office building built next door.

      • jw

        OMG is that just for the Red Sox!…reveals just how good Hendry Kenney were with no help (LOL)

        • paulcatanese

          Or how bad they were and refused help. Didn’t want to open up a can of worms.

      • Dorasaga

        I got a good laugh, Tony.

        It’s likely amusing how Lucchino ranks himself that high up the list. Maybe Kenney wants to join the Redsox instead, and feel “respectable,” if I may quote D. Jeter. :-D

      • Bobby P

        I like how they build the front office, both teams. You have to be willing to spend money on (front) office personnel if you want to build a successful business, a baseball team is no different.

  • Anonymous47701

    Possible Trade idea

    3B David Wright
    for RHP Trey McNutt, 1B Justin Bour, 3B Marquez Smith

    • Aaron

      It would probably take McNutt, Vitters, and Bour to get that done

      • Jim_Tinley_Park

        Aaron:

        I s Junior Lake for real?

        • Aaron

          Jim,

          I think he’s “for real” (meaning he’s a legit MLB talent). The $3 million dollar question (or roughly what Epstein makes) that you SHOULD be asking is: “Does Lake fit with THIS team?”

          I just don’t think he profiles as an Epstein type of player. He is basically like Soriano at the dish, AND Soriano in the field…that is, to say, he is a butcher. He has a cannon arm, but no instincts, and it shows. He is a free swinger, as mentioned, just like Soriano.

          But having said all of that, just like Vitters, the guy is only 21 years old, giving him plenty of time to figure things out. 

          My hope is that the Cubs will try him in the outfield, leave Vitters at 3B, and maybe have a future homegrown team like this:

          C-Castillo/Clevenger
          1B-LaHair
          2B-LeMahieu
          SS-Castro
          3B-Vitters
          LF-Flaherty/Ridling
          CF-B. Jackson
          RF-Lake

          Yeah….that will never happen, but would be nice to see at least a few of them get a full-time shot

          • Tony_Hall

            What about Szczur?  

          • Aaron

            I put the guys in there that are the closest to MLB. Szczur, at least in my mind, is nowhere close to being MLB ready. He struggled mightily upon his promotion to Daytona, and while I understand it was an incredibly draining year for him with football, baseball, etc., I believe all the guys I listed had good success in AA and above, so that’s why I included them.

          • Aaron

            Also….that’s NOT to say that Szczur won’t have any success this year, but just to warn that he might run into some difficulties this year, and it could take him 2-3 years in the minors to finally “get it.” You have to keep in mind that this is probably the first time in his life that he’s devoted this much time to baseball, and he will struggle a bit while he’s trying to get used to the new routine. Who knows, if he’s as special of an athlete like Wilken claims he is, then he might just turn it on next year, and rise all the way to the big leagues….but my guess is it’ll take some time.

      • cubtex

        You might be right “no pun intended” but I think that is too much for David Wright.

    • Tony_Hall

      Buster Olney talking about trading David Wright.

      http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/olney_buster/id/7198911/time-mets-consider-deals-david-wright-trade-value-mlb

      If you don’t have ESPN Insider, here it the part about Wright.

      As we’ve known since May, the New York Mets will listen to trade offers on David Wright. “It only makes sense,” one source said.Of course it does, because Wright will make $15 million next year and has a $16 million option for 2013. The Mets’ best chance to get value in return for him is to deal him now. They are not close to winning a division they share with the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals. The other team in the division, the Florida Marlins, is expected to spend money this winter.Keep in mind that Wright will turn 30 next year, and although he’s been a good soldier for the organization, at some point he’ll want a chance to win. The Mets could trade Wright now — before he really pushes for an opportunity elsewhere — and get players who may help them win in 2014 or 2015.But the X factor in this decision — in all major decisions, for all teams — is the club’s ownership.

      • daverj

        It’s going to take a lot to pry Wright away as many teams will be interested and the Mets don’t have to trade him now.  Maybe Brett Jackson, McNutt and a third solid pitching prospect gets it done, but I’d pass on a deal like that.

        Given that the Mets are moving the outfield walls in, I expect they’ll keep Wright for the first half of 2012 and let him put up bigger power numbers (than the prior couple seasons) before they deal him.

        • Tony_Hall

          I don’t want him.  Too old, too much money.  

  • paulcatanese

    Forget the HOF tag, Sandberg must have some issues that prevent him from becoming the manager of the Cubs. He instructs, high on fundementals, wins, and has the respect of his players.

    True, he has not managed or coached at the major league level, but the only real difference that I can pick out would be the handleing of egos of high end players.

    I just think there has to be a better explanation than the one that has been given first by Hendry and now by Theo.

    It is managenents choice, but where has Sandberg failed?

    • Schwimmer

      Paul…please permit me to tell you what I think is going on with Sandberg.

      You are right.  He would have been a great manager choice.   And, a bold one that would have excited the CUB players and FAN base.  And, he hasn’t failed.  But he also hasn’t had a chance to coach or manage at the MLB level.

      Re:  HENDRY.  I think HENDRY just had bad judgment and might have felt “threatened” by hiring Sandberg.  And, who knows…he might not have had any great chemistry with Sandberg, too.

      But I follow Theo’s logic for dis-including Sandberg, perfectly.  It goes like this:

      1.  If we interview Sandberg as one of a bunch of potentials…and, we don’t hire him…fans will be upset.  And, we’ll be 2nd-guessed since he’s so popular.   So, why should we “piss off” any CUB fans?

      2.  And, Theo (I am sure) feels strongly that there are some great candidates who have many of Sandberg’s qualities and ALSO have had MLB managerial and coaching experience.

      3.  Therefore…since there is a strong field of candidates without the pressures of throwing Sandberg into the mix…why “muddy the waters” by interviewing him.

      4.  Lastly, no matter what we as “Sandberg” lovers think…Theo has to be saying, “why should I take a chance on him…when I’ve got some proven guys who have the total package of experience?”

      Fortunately, they’ve got some great choices for CUBS Manager.

      That’s what I think…is THEIR thinking.

      • paulcatanese

        I am not a Sandberg lover, like the guy as a manager and just think he should have been given a longer look. It makes no difference to me who they hire as manager as long as all were given an equal shot at it and then a decision were made with the guy they felt was the best choice.

        When Sandberg played I was no more a fan of his than the entire team and liked them all equally. I understand where people can root for him independetly but I just looked at them as a team, I enjoyed all of them.

  • paulcatanese

    Good post Neil, and on Carpenter, I felt he had the tools this last season, but was saddled with a manager who either did not recognize it or Carpenter was simply not a vet and had no place in Quade’s plans.

    If Riggins were any kind of pitching coach that would have helped, but he wasn’t and isn’t and is gone.

    • J Daniel

      Carpenter should have NEVER been sent back down after he was brought up.  He has the GAS that is needed to be a late inning guy and should have been used more than he was.  I hope he is not part of the compensation.

      • cubtex

        I know McNutt struggled  this year as well but he looked good last night(I know he only faced 1 batter) His delivery looked free and easy and he was getting it up to mid 90′s and struck out his one batter on a nasty off speed pitch. You can see the potential in that kid!

  • paulcatanese

    So far I am pretty upset with Theo, he just is not giving me too much to complain about. Going to be a long season if all this perfection keeps up. Cmon Theo, mess up once in a while.:)

  • Tony_Hall

    Interesting article on managerial styles and managerial searches going on now.

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2011/11/06/two-approaches-managing-have-emerged/HdaAUzNM7Er1wfe1RCbceN/story.html

  • Tony_Hall
    • paulcatanese

      Tony, the bleachers,scoreboard and marquee, untouchables? That really does not leave a lot of room for facillitys for improvement, clubhouises, batting cages etc. as a draw for players to want to come to the Cubs.

      They are behind the times without these, but if the bleachers or scoreboard cannot be touched, I fail to see where they are going to get the extra room,indoor batting cage’s behind the dugouts and additional seating, as the only way they can go is up or further out, and that doesent seem to be an option.

      • Tony_Hall

        That is where the triangle building across the street comes into play.  They can connect them underground to get more space for those type of items.  

        • paulcatanese

          If thats the only option so be it. Havent seen that area in many a year. How much distance would that involve? I could see it if they had underground Am Trak or golf carts to speed things back and forth. It could be done though, just Star Trek time I guess.

          • Tony_Hall

            Actually, it’s not that far.  Go to Google maps and type in Wrigley Field, switch to the Earth view, so you can actually see the field and buildings.  You will see the triangle lot, on the 3rd base side.  It really wouldn’t be that far, and if they put in the tracks like at the airports, it wouldn’t take long at all. 

          • paulcatanese

            Tony, thats wild, I think its a stretch, but who knows in this day and age.
            And that is the only direction they could go without upper decks in the outfield, and I dont think that would work either.

            Could shorten the fences so maybe Campana can get one over the wall.
            That would give some room.

          • Tony_Hall

            Paul – For Campana to get one over the wall, he would need to play at Little Wrigley Field in Freeport, IL. (actually called Little Cubs Field)

            http://www.littlecubsfield.com/

            It’s 100 feet down the lines and 112 feet to dead center.  I think he could hit one out there.

          • paulcatanese

            Only if he gets a 100MPH fastball and pulls it right down the line. But hear he is weight training this off season with tennis balls.

            Seriously I hope he is bunting at least 100-150 balls a day and another 100 swings added to it.

          • paulcatanese

            Tony, that was awesome Little Cubs Field. On Google plug in
            Big League Dreams, Redding Calif. Fetures Fenway,Yankee stadium and Wrigley, all artificial turf for jrs,high school and jr college play and fastpitch for girls. Quite the place.

          • paulcatanese

            So thats out the third base side, under Seminary road and to the lot and some buildings and a tunnel underneath the street, could work.

          • Tony_Hall

            Here’s some more info.

            http://trianglebuilding.blogspot.com/

          • Tony_Hall

            Here’s an article in the Sun-Times from June 8th, 2011.

            It talks about the 1791 seat bleacher expansion.

            http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/5756907-418/cubs-take-new-swing-ant-long-stalled-triangle-building.html

        • John G

          So what if the city closes off Waveland and Sheffield to automobile traffic, making them pedestrian malls thereby allowing additional bleacher seating and a huge jumbotron next to the traditional scoreboard, while still maintaining much of the rooftop seating?

          • Tony_Hall

            I’m all for it, but then again, I don’t live there.

          • Dorasaga

            I think if the Ricketts family is as smart as we believed, they should start an 8-year project of buying lands around the neighborhood (not necessary right beside Wrigley Field), while the house market stays steep.

            Before we know, they might have enough land area to build half a Wrigley or a “Cubs Mall.”

  • diehardcubfan

    Rumor has it that Geo Gonzalez is available.  At 26 he would make a great compliment to Garza if the Cubs could pry him from the A’s.  Granted the costs wouldn’t be cheap but probably worth a shot.  Better option than Buerhle or CJ Wilson in my opinion.

    • cubtex

      Gonzales would cost a ton. I would love to have hin though.

      • daverj

        I’d love to have Gio.  Given the lack of top depth in the Cubs system, you have to figure talks start with Brett Jackson.  I think I’d part with Jackson for him, but not sure I’d want to give up the couple additional prospects it would likely take.  

        • Brp921

          I’m not one that likes to trade prospects, especially our top ones, but for Gio Gonzalez I’d be O.K with it. He would be a real solid addition for sure.

  • Chuck

    Prediction:  Back in the 1980s Dallas Green had many ntable trades with the Phillies thatus older Cub fans were  not happy with but proved to be some of our favorite Cub players:  Dickie Noles, Keith Moreland, and Ryne Sandberg.  Dallas Green hired Lee Elia for manager, a close friend and college roomamte.  I say that Teo will bring in Lars Anderson and some others from the Red Sox organization.  Kevin Youklis is available and if you want power, how about David Ortiz?

    • Tony_Hall

      Where would Ortiz play? He wouldn’t sign with a NL team.

      We will be seeing players from both Boston and San Diego over the next few years.  Just remember, Ben Cherington, knows which players Theo liked more than he did.  He won’t be giving them up for nothing.

  • Chuck

    Guess I better proof read my comments for spelling errors before I post them.  Too much kool-aid this afternoon.

    • Tony_Hall

      If you click on the edit button, just below and to the right of your posts, you can edit the post, after you have posted them.

  • Anthony

    Anyone have a B. LaHair interview link for posting?

    Here is why.

    To hang in the game and chase your dream, and then perform at a level to achieve it, and yet be blasted by internet GM’s and Fans who know nothing about being in that situation warrants more than a tad of respect.

    I am a fan. I am a fan of every player that believes in their ability and dream.

    ****PREemtive STRIKE…..no fake GM’s can reply that I am a former player***

    LaHair is a tremendous hitter, and at 1B, scoop and you are a decent defensive first baseman. Too many FAKE GM’s want a first baseman who is also a great athlete, runs a 6.6 with a rocket arm, and is 19 years old????

    C’mon guys, stop the BS. Pro baseball is based on profiles, and I would trade a few errors for THAT BAT. The guy deserves some Props!

    But that said, I expect some Flak.

    • paulcatanese

      I think you need to go no further than what LaHair did against big Z tonight.
      I also think most on this site want LaHair to succeed and think he definatly deserves a shot.

    • Tony_Hall

      Did you post in the wrong blog?  Whose bad mouthing Lahair?

      And why do you say fake GM’s and are so negative to others opinions?  You spend most of your posts, bad mouthing others, for having an opinon, yet you offer opinions.  

    • Tony_Hall

      Here’s an audio interview link for you.

      http://soundcloud.com/beisbol-de-n/brian-lahair-interview

    • Tom U

      Anthony, I don’t know where this comes from, but in every report I made, I stated that it was a mistake to sign Carlos Pena for 10 million and not promote LaHair.

  • matthew8510
    • paulcatanese

      I would say Zambrano has not missed a beat since he left, seems like he is in mid-season form. Good at bat by LaHair to take him deep on a 3-1 count.