Weekend Update … Meetings and Decision Time Ahead for the Cubs

Major League Baseball will be front and center over the next ten days leading up to Thanksgiving with the announcement of the BBWAA awards starting Monday. While the players will not receive any of those awards, the Cubs have another busy week in front of them.

Not only could the 52nd manager of the Cubs be named this week, some think by Friday, Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein will represent their new organization for the first time at the GM Meetings that begin on Monday in Milwaukee. The compensation package for Theo Epstein could be made official this week then there is the reserve list filing deadline on Friday. The Cubs new front office has several decisions to make about their big league roster (as well as all of the minor league rosters) and currently have seven open spots on the 40-man roster.

Here is the update as week four of the Epstein-Hoyer Era figures to be as busy as the first three …

Joe Bohringer
Joe Bohringer, the Cubs new Director of Pro Scouting, spent a little time on Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) with Bruce Levine and Fred Huebner on Saturday morning.

Bohringer explained how the Cubs new scouting department will run. Jason McLeod and Tim Wilken will handle scouting players before they sign professional contracts. Once those High School and College players sign it will be up to Bohringer’s staff to develop them.

Bohringer, who has a degree from MIT, started out as an engineer but quickly found out that did not work for him. He explained that he was always involved in sports and started charting pitches and talking to coaches … and that led him to a job in baseball.

It is important to have a balance between old school scouting and new school sabermetrics. Bohringer described it as a seesaw and one has to be objective. A scout has to trust what his eye and gut tells him about a player until statistical information is available on that player. Bohringer explained that when a player is at the lowest level of the minors you have to trust your gut because that is all you have to go on for those players.

The scouts try to project a future for a player but there is always outside factors that will affect a player. Same as with everyday life … some days are good, some days are bad and there could be events happening to the player off the field that is affecting his performance.

The Cubs goal is to have all of their scouts on the same page, using the same language. For example, if one scout views a player as a 50 (on the 20-80 scouting scale) then the Cubs want to make sure the 50-grade is consistent throughout the organization.

Bohringer said he never met Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer before he interviewed for the job. Bohringer knew both Jerry DiPoto and Josh Byrnes and many thought he would end up on DiPoto’s staff. Epstein and Hoyer made him very comfortable during the interview to the point that Bohringer did not even feel like he was being interviewed … it felt more like a conversation. Bohringer described the interview as a ‘tremendous process.’

Joe Bohringer finished by saying he is looking forward to working to working for the Cubs, in a situation he described as very appealing.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer added a very good piece to the front office puzzle with the hiring of Joe Bohringer.

Yoenis Cespedes
The rumors began flying earlier in the week that the Cubs were one of the many teams interested in signing Yoenis Cespedes. Due to the source of the rumor it was pretty much dismissed at the time.

According to a report from Carrie Muskat, the Cubs will have a private workout for Yoenis Cespedes, who some consider the best player to come out of Cuba in a generation. The mainstream media has connected eleven other big league teams to Cespedes so if the Jed Hoyer is interested he will have a lot of competition.

Yoenis Cespedes (pronounced SES-peh-des) is a 26-year old outfielder and recently set Cuba’s single-season home run record. Cespedes is expected to ask for a contract north of the deal the Reds made with Aroldis Chapman ($30 million).

Please note: This video contains adult language and a full soundtrack

News, Notes and Rumors
Theo Epstein has spoken to Kerry Wood according to the Tribune. Before the end of last season Wood said he would either pitch for the Cubs in 2012 or likely retire … it appears Wood will help anchor the Cubs pen next season. According to Comcast SportsNet, Wood is expected to sign a new deal with the Cubs.

According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Jed Hoyer is very excited about the upcoming GM Meetings. The Cubs have had a number of conversations about free agents and trade targets. Hoyer is looking forward to talking with other clubs face-to-face about the players on the Cubs’ roster. Hoyer said he’s been trying to make as many phone calls as possible leading up to the meetings.

Brad Snyder signed a minor league deal with the Astros that includes an invite to big league camp. Snyder will compete for a spot in the Astros outfield.

For those following the progress of Junior Lake in the Arizona Fall League … Lake not only stole his league leading 18th base on Saturday (18-for-18 in stolen bases), he also saw his first action in the outfield. Lake started in right field, hit fifth and finished 1-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and a stolen base. The one hit was a bunt single.

And last but not least … during the ‘Should He Stay or Should He Go‘ segment Saturday morning (Talkin’ Baseball, ESPN 1000), Bruce Levine asked Fred Huebner if the Cubs should trade Geovany Soto if Jed Hoyer could acquire pitching in return. Levine added a wrinkle to the question. If Hoyer was to trade Soto would it be the right move to sign Jason Varitek to replace Koyie Hill as the back-up catcher? Varitek could then serve as a mentor to either Welington Castillo or Steve Clevenger.

What are the your thoughts? Should the Cubs trade Soto? Should the Cubs give Castillo or Clevenger a shot as the starting catcher? Should the Cubs sign Varitek to be the backup?

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

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Quote of the Day

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