The Field, Frontrunners, Francona and Free Agency

Could Mike Maddux have company at the top of the leaderboard? According to multiple reports Sandy Alomar, Jr. was very impressive and made an impression on the Cubs’ front office during his interview.

After Alomar finished meeting with the Cubs, Jed Hoyer indicated the first round of interviews could be complete. Hoyer left the door open for another possible candidate or two but indicated the process that Theo Epstein described as being in the sixth inning on Thursday probably moved into the seventh on Friday … who is singing the stretch?

Reportedly Alomar was at ease during his time with the media and even said if talking with Carlos Zambrano did not work, he would try a stun gun. Alomar talked about the importance of statistical analysis but stressed he is not running a fantasy team.

The next round will likely consist of more conversations with the candidates, both over the phone and in person, and will likely take place over the next week while Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are in Milwaukee for the GM Meetings that start on Monday. The Cubs have not put a timetable on announcing their new manager … some think the announcement could come as early as next Friday.

During an interview on XM Radio on Thursday night, Jason McLeod said the Cubs’ brass would discuss the four candidates at length over the weekend and decide the next step in the process.

Once the Cubs have a skipper, will they be active in free agency? Here’s the rest of the update …

Free Agency, the 40-Man Roster and Trade Targets
During their conference call with season ticket holders on Thursday, Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein indicated the Cubs “will be very active participants in the free-agent process.” Epstein explained that means the Cubs will be “very diligent in scouring the landscape, talking with agents and consistently monitoring the supply-and-demand dynamic at every position.”

Epstein finished that part of the conversation by saying, “I’m sure we will sign a free agent of two before it’s all said and done.”

According to a tweet from Jordan Bernfield, the Cubs had a lengthy meeting on Thursday about the 40-man roster and which players they need to protect from the Rule 5 Draft. The Cubs’ front office has also discussed free agents and trade targets.

Terry Francona
The former Red Sox skipper interviewed with the Cardinals earlier in the week and some think he could get the job to replace Tony LaRussa.

According to reports on Thursday night, Terry Francona “deep down” would like to manage the Cubs and is letting Theo Epstein handle the process with the other candidates.

For as much as it appears Mike Maddux and Sandy Alomar, Jr. could be the favorites to land the Cubs job, it is too early at this point to count out Team Epstein hiring Terry Francona. Hoyer admitted that Epstein and Francona have had conversations.

News and Notes
According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Theo Epstein and Carlos Zambrano have spoken and plan to meet face to face in the near future.

On improving the Cubs defense, Theo Epstein said the Cubs are “looking for complete players” and they “know there is a lot of room for improvement defensively as well as offensively.”

According to Jason McLeod (XM Radio), each of the managerial candidates went through the same process and was also taken to the same place for dinner the night before the interview at Wrigley Field. McLeod stressed the importance of not showing any favoritism to any of the candidates.

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

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Quote of the Day

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