The Stove is Heating Up for the Cubs

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have not named a manager yet but the Cubs created a lot of noise on the first day of the GM Meetings in Milwaukee.

Aramis Ramirez’s agent spoke his mind about Bob Brenly and said there is no chance Ramirez would re-sign with the Cubs. Paul Kinzer also said he would discuss his other clients (Geovany Soto, Starlin Castro , Carlos Marmol and Junior Lake) with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer later this week in Chicago.

Speaking of agents, Scott Boras held court on Monday and told the Chicago media that he would be meeting with Epstein and Hoyer about two of his clients this weekCarlos Pena and Prince Fielder. Epstein and Boras go way back and have made several deals together.

Jed Hoyer interviewed the fifth candidate for the Cubs’ managerial position. Hoyer conducted a phone interview with DeMarlo Hale. The Cubs said there would likely not be any more additions to their search.

Theo Epstein and Carlos Zambrano had lunch in Chicago on Monday and discussed ways Zambrano can earn his way back on the team … plus, a former Indian was added to the Cubs rumor mill.

Here’s the update following a busy Monday …

Grady Sizemore
According to a tweet from Jerry Crasnick, the Cubs are among several teams that have expressed interest in Grady Sizemore. The Indians recently declined a $9 million option for 2012 on the oft-injured outfielder. Sizemore has played just 104 games the last two seasons (33 in 2010, 71 in 2011) and hit just .224/.285/.422/.706 with 21 doubles and 10 home runs in 295 plate appearances last season.

Grady Sizemore turned 29 last August (August 2, 1982).

More from the Rumor Mill
According to Jim Bowden, the Cubs are leaning toward naming Mike Maddux their new manager.

According to a tweet from Jon Heyman, the Cubs will call in each of the four managerial candidates (Maddux, Sveum, Mackanin and Alomar, Jr.) for a second round of interviews.

Just don’t count out Terry Franconaaccording to Bruce Levine, Francona is still a candidate for the Cubs’ job.

According to multiple reports, Scott Boras will meet with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer this week to get a feel of where the Cubs stand this off-season. Boras is expected to discuss Carlos Pena and Prince Fielder with Epstein and Hoyer. Boras and Epstein had a very good working relationship during Theo’s time as Boston’s general manager.

With the GM meetings getting underway, the Sun-Times cautioned do not be surprised to see Marlon Byrd or Carlos Marmol added to the rumor mill. Byrd is in the last year of the three-year contract he signed ($6.5 million) and Marmol is under contract for $7 million in 2012 and $9.8 million for 2013. With the cost of closers on the rise, Marmol could bring back a nice return.

Other News and Notes
According to a tweet from Carrie Muskat, Jason McLeod will travel to the Dominican Republic this week to see several players, including Yoenis Cespedes.

Dale Sveum is interviewing with the Red Sox for a second time on Wednesday. As of this writing, Sveum is the only candidate Boston is asking back for a second interview and is seen as a favorite to become the next manager of the Red Sox.

Darwin Barney finished seventh in the NL Rookie of the Year voting on Monday. Braves’ closer Craig Kimbrel took home the first-year player award after receiving all 32 first-place votes.

Theo Epstein said he’s not worth what the Red Sox are asking for in compensation … but is hoping there will progress made this week with both the Sox and Cubs being under the same roof.

Headlines from Monday

Note: Due to the volume of news and rumors, the CCO will run a post on Baseball America’s Top 10 Cubs’ Prospects later in the week. Brett Jackson topped the list with Junior Lake cracking the top 10.

Stay Tuned …

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato
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  • Tony_Hall

    Demarco Hale was a courtesy interview, and could be a coach on the staff.  If Jed was really interested in hiring him, they would have bought a plane ticket, to start the GM/Manager relationship.  Jed and Hale may know each other, but a plane ticket is in their budget.

  • Tony_Hall

    I would take a chance on Sizemore on a 1 year deal for an incentive laden contract, if he will accept it.  He is the type of player that is worth taking a chance and seeing if they can have a comeback year, and help the team, and let him re-establish his value in the market.

    • daverj

      I see Sizemore getting a 1 year deal at around $8 million guaranteed plus incentives.  I can also see the Cubs being in on him if the bidding doesn’t get too much higher than that figure.

      • Tony_Hall

        I would pass on that.  $5M max guaranteed, with incentives that could pay him over $10M (All-Star type year), would be the most I would go.  Of course this would also mean, that Byrd is gone, and hopefully Soriano, otherwise, I wouldn’t do it.

        • daverj

          Sizemore will get more than $5 million guaranteed.  I can understand passing on that, but there is a lot of interest in him and some teams will be willing to go higher.

          • Tony_Hall

            Cleveland said no to $9M and they had reason to keep him around, as he has been with them for so long.  I really doubt, that just because a lot of teams are interested, that he is going to get over $5M guaranteed, as teams are interested, at a deal.  Guaranteeing him more than $5M is not a deal.  If a team would guarantee $8M, Cleveland would have guaranteed $9M.

  • Tony_Hall

    Isn’t that nice of Theo, to let the Red Sox narrow down their search first, and pave the way for Sveum to be the manager in Boston.  Meanwhile the Cubs will be down to Maddux and Alomar.  

    I’m sure Levine is still having issues with not having direct access to the Front Office, but, of course Francona is still lingering.  Until the Cubs hire a manager, he will still be an option.  Demarco Hale is still technically an option.  

    • John_CC

      I thought the exact same thing about Levine when I read that.  Give me a break…all these jokers just trying to stay in the headlines, I love it. Bowden claims to know that Maddux is the favorite, Heyman says it’s wide open, someone else will tell you they have a source who said Alomar “hit it out of the park” and old Bruce comes in with “don’t count out Francona”…HA! What else is he going to say?

    • J Daniel

      Poor Bruce!  And if they wanted Sveum they would have hired him already as they know him well.  I believe it is Maddux or Alomar.  But, nothing surprises me.

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree is is between Maddux and Alomar.  I have thought Sveum would end up in Boston from the beginning.

  • GaryLeeT

    I would have liked to seen Alomar as manager, and then over pay Maddux to be his pitching coach.

  • Tony_Hall

    Trade Byrd and if you can get a good enough return Marmol.  I was a big critic of Rothschild, not so much that he wasn’t a Top Tier pitching coach, but that it was time for him to move on.  I also expected they would hire a worthy pitching coach, Riggins was not.  

    Case in point, Carlos Marmol.  I believe Rothschild had Marmol  figured out and knew how to keep that flailing arms and legs more in check.  With his delivery, having something off, would lose velocity, accuracy, and movement, all things Marmol struggled with this year.  Once they hire a manager, and then a pitching coach, that will be one of the first things they need to consider, whether they think they can keep him in check.  

    If not, maybe Rothschild would like Marmol back, to be their 8th inning guy and closer in waiting and waiting and waiting for Mo to retire.  He will retire one day…right?

    • studio179

      Yes, Mo will retire one day. He will get to sit at a table of fellow HOF greats his team mate and future HOFer will not be allowed to sit.

      As for Marmol, not only does someone need to get his mechanics back (which are bad to begin with, but use to work for him), but tell him to put the fork down and try some fresh fruit. He looked to have gained much more weight last year and could be contributing to mechanic problems. All in all, I was hoping Marmol was delt last offseason. Even with a down year, I and am hoping the same this offseason if they can get a nice return. 

    • bpot92

      isn’t robertson the closer in waiting over there? Correct me if I’m wrong

      • Tony_Hall

        Not necessarily. That’s like saying Marshall is our closer in waiting.

        • bpot92

          Oh it just seemed like every time I watched a Yankees game they would mention how they expect him to move into that role after Mo retires. But I guess they could see Marmol and Robertson as a pen duo so they don’t drop off in the 7th/8th 

          • Tony_Hall

            He has had 1 good year.  Jim Hendry is not the GM, so it will take more good years for them to make him the closer.  In 2010, his WHIP was 1.50, in 2011 he dropped it to 1.12.  They will want to see him duplicate 2011 for another year, before they will not bring in an established closer if they needed one.

  • Schwimmer

    I had to laugh when I read ARAM’S agent complain about BRENLY’S comments.    Paul Kinzer is a knucklehead to say that Brenly should have told ARAM to his face.  Brenly is a commentator not a manager.   A manager tells you “to your face.”  A commentator discusses you “publicly.”  And, Brenly’s comments were correct (as those of us who watch the CUBS everyday, know).

    As someone said, what really bothered Kinzer was the possibility of ARAM getting less money from other teams because BRENLY is so well respected.

    I think an American League Team will sign ARAM to 3 years and $35 to $40 mil.  Thanks God the “new” CUBS aren’t that stupid.

    The only other fantastic news would be to find out that they’ve traded SORIANO.  (The all time worst contract the CUBS ever gave a player.)

    I just read that RANDY BUSH made the decision “not” to trade PENA.  If so, he’s a real idiot, in my opinion.  That shows very bad judgment to me.  After all, there is no advantage to keeping PENA because whether you keep him or not — he would sign with whichever team would give him the longest and biggest contract in 2012.  He would not “sign” with the CUBS just because they let him play out the season.

    BRIAN LaHAIR should have been playing 1st Base everyday, if they had the good sense to have traded PENA.

    I am so happy we have some competent management running the CUBS!!!

    • Scott

      I would have liked to have known what the offer was for Pena before making any judgement.  Bush could have been holding out hope that there was a possibility that if Pena signed with someone else next year, it could bring a compensatory draft pick (which could have been more valuable than what was offered in a trade for Pena to begin with).  Pena ended up being a type B free agent, which would mean (I believe) that the cubs would get a pick in the supplemental round between the first and second round.  Not too bad.  I would love to see the new front office get as many draft pics as possible to build up the organization as quickly as possible.

      In regards to LaHair, he did get a significant number of at bats late last year.  I didn’t mind him playing right field because it would have given the front office an idea of his overall versatility.  The organization has already seen his ability for a few years at first base (granted, at AAA).  If LaHair can play decent outfield defense in right and/or left field along with being able to do well at first base, he could be a very valuable piece next year.

      Just my thoughts.

    • J Daniel

      Pena should have been traded, PERIOD!  At the time you know he is not in the plans and LaHair should have been playing.

      • Scott

        Agree to disagree.  Without knowing what you could have gotten in return for Pena, I don’t see how you just trade him for no reason.  LaHair played and got plenty of ABs.  He just didn’t start at first base.  I think that receiving the extra draft pick, especially with this new regime, is the right move.  What would you have gotten for Pena at the trade deadline, or worse, in August?  I doubt anything with near the upside as the compensatory draft pick.  Besides, how do we know that Pena is NOT in the plan and that LaHair IS in the plan?  I would love to see LaHair get a shot too, I think he has earned it, but that is Epstein’s call now.

        • Brian

          Scott,

          I completely agree with you.  A compensatory pick in the supplemental round is definitely more valuable than anything a trade would have produced. 

        • Tony_Hall

          They may be eliminating the draft picks on the new deal, effective with this years free agents.

          • Scott

            I heard that, which would be disappointing.  I kind of liked the compensation system.  However, that wasn’t something that Randy Bush could have forseen or counted on when he decided not to trade Pena.

          • Tony_Hall

            Actually it has been talked about and known to be likely to happen for awhile.  

            The old system was extremely bad.  It took FA’s and made them untouchable, because teams wouldn’t want to lose their draft picks to sign a low level type A.  

            Pena should have been traded to get something instead of possibly something, which will most likely be nothing.

          • Scott

            I had heard that it was being discussed, but not a certainty.  I know that it could hurt some FA that achieved type A status, but I was hoping that the Yankees insistance on giving up high draft picks every year would catch up with them at some point.

            As for trading Pena, I still don’t think you make a trade simply for making a move.  I have yet to hear what the Cubs would have received for Pena.  I had heard the Pena saved 50 errors this year on bad throws from infielders – an incredible number.  If having him at first base keeps the confidence of Castro and Barney where it needs to be and keeps them from getting the “yips” like Steve Sax and Chuck Knobeloch (who overthought themselves out of baseball), I will take it.  There is a value to keeping a guy, even if he isn’t in the plans for the next year.  And if the Cubs were not going to receive anything of value from another team, you should not make a move.  At least in my opinion.

          • Tony_Hall

            Every 1B  saves throwing errors, it’s their job.  50 is only 1 every 3 games, I bet even a bad 1B saves 20…1 a week.  

            Unfortunately, now we don’t really know if Lahair can handle those same throws, that in itself was reason for me to move Pena for any type of return.

          • Scott

            It’s too bad he hasn’t played 160 games at first base in the Cubs organization in 2010 and 2011 combined so someone in the organization could see how he is as a defensive first baseman.  Or 764 games as a first baseman in his professional career where scouts and coaches may have been able to determine just how good a defensive first baseman he was.  Darn.

          • Tony_Hall

            Not the same as major league games.  Otherwise, we would always know which prospects would be able to handle major league baseball.

          • Scott

            Catching a throw in the dirt is the same at every level.  How would it be different?  Defensive skills are not something that dramatically will change from the AAA level to the majors.  Now, if you are talking about pitchers being able to handle the hitters and smaller strike zone or hitters handling pitchers with better stuff, I would agree with you.  I just don’t think that defensive skills fall into that category.  As an example, if an outfielder can really go get the ball and cover a lot of ground and have a cannon for an arm in the minors, they are not going to turn into a slug in the majors.

          • Tony_Hall

            One would think so, but the arms of the guys in majors are a lot stronger. 

            If defensive skills don’t change at the major league level, why is there a growing period for most guys defensively, upon getting to the majors.  It is like a lot of sports, at the lower levels, the amount of guys who hit it the hardest, run the fastest, are smarter on the bases, etc, are much lower, than at the majors, where the players are (for the most part) better than the players in the minors.  That’s why they are there.  Little things, like throws to the pitcher or 2B covering first are a little different, when guys get down the line faster.

            Experience does matter.

          • Scott

            I am not disagreeing that experience isn’t important.  But I just don’t agree that it would have made much of a difference in this case.  LaHair has been up in the majors before and isn’t a spring chicken, so I don’t think that he would have the same adjustment period as say someone like Vitters if he was called up.  And because he has been around for a while, I don’t think he would have been as surprised by the speed of the game.  By and large, you are correct when you said that the arms of the guys in the majors are stronger.  But that isn’t always the case either.  But in the majors, they are definitely going to be more accurate as well – also something that should be taken into account.

            For me though, it still all comes back to this - let’s say that the offer for Pena was a backup middle infielder in AA that we really wouldn’t have a use for and Bush thought that there was still a chance that the collective barganing agreement would still have some sort of draft pick compensation and KNEW that there would be a new regime making all of the decisions.  Would you still make that trade then?  Are you sure that LaHair is going to be the guy next year?  I would like to see him get a chance, but I am not convinced and I think it would be poor planning on Epstein to just hand him the job without bringing in someone else that can play first base.  Now, if the offer was a 21 year old pitcher who can touch 98 on the gun, I would have made that trade.  I just don’t believe in making a trade just for the sake of saying that you made a trade.

  • Chuck

    Paul Kinzer, you are not Scott Boras.  You can’t even match him.  Bob Brenly, as a commentator, had every right to speak his mind and give his opinion.  This will be a very interesting week at the GM meetings.  Theo, has the contacts in every organization and with every agent.  He knows what will work and what will not work.  He knows what buttons to push. 

    • paulcatanese

      Agree with you Chuck all the way. Now it looks like Kinzer will try and excercise what he thinks as power with Soto,Castro,Marmol and Lake, with his dealings with the Cubs. A good Agent should be seen and not heard. One never knows when comments like he made will come back to bite him in the axx.

      • RynoTiger

        I think Kinzer’s comments and stance will come back to bite him and Ramirez this winter.  So far I have seen the writers link Ramirez to teams, but so far those teams have responded with a “not interested”.  Yes they could just be saying that play games with other teams and sweep in quietly to sign Ramirez, or Kinzer and ARAM are overestimating what teams will pay and for how long.

    • Coolpdxcubsfan

      One of the things I love about Bob Brenly is that he says it like it is. Kinzer on the other hand says it like he wants it. Neither Kinzer nor Ramirez are in Brenly’s class as a player or any other way. They should both shut up and pay attention.

    • Dorasaga

      Now that I know Kinzer is the agent of Furcal, I know he must be an @SSH@LE when it comes to “cheating” teams (Cubs and Braves) so he can decline a “done deal” and sign someone else (LA). Enough and not worth my 2 cents to repeat. Good riddance.

  • Denio

    I hope they don’t resign Pena…
    I look at Pena vs LaHair.
    Pena is a B+ on defense and a D at the plate and probably signed at 10 million again… too much for a 225 hitter.
    LaHair is probably a C+ at defense and a B- at the plate and signed at 1 million or less… plus he can play other positions… His 300 plus average is based on AAA ball, but I feel he can hit in the high 200′s in the majors with the same amount of HR’s and RBI’s as Pena…

    As for Pena (being a armchair hitting coach) I feel he needs to become more of a free swinger.. He is so ridged at the plate he has himself tied up… His stepping out of the batters box all the time I hear everybody say is to disrupt the pitcher, but I feel half of it is in his own head… Relax and lose all that tension in the body.
    As they say in golf close your eyes and swing hard in case you hit the ball…
    Just my $.02

    • paulcatanese

      Agree with you. As for being an armchair hitting coach, you are pretty correct in youre assesment of Pena, and if he’s(Pena) not tied up in his
      own head , he is in mine, I cannot stand to watch him at the plate, drives me nuts. His refusal to swing at many strike called strike three’s proves the point you are making, he is too rigid and thinks too much and the ball is taken for  the third strike.

  • Anthony

    Offer Alomar Jr. the job. Perfect timing to have him grow with the organization. The family commit that Maddux described relating to the Boston job really should be taken as a reluctance to uproot/relocate, and for good reason, anywhere. Plus an avid golfer doesn’t make for a great sidekick pitching coach(Greg).

    Give B. LaHair his chance.

    Observe an entire minor league season, especially one filled with the entire 2011 Draft class. There may some abundance of talne tin that group.

    Make solid decisions of some of the older minor leaguers who have been in the system 3-4 years that have performed well but may be blocked up the ladder.

    Taking a flyer on an oft-injured Sizemore just blocks another player from getting his shot. The past Sizemore injuries have unfortunately took away some of his tools, i.e he ain’t the player he was. Pass on him.

    When Cespedes enters the Stadium, is it on a gold-fleeded Burro with fans hailing roses and gifts? Watch some of his video, and you can bet an earful is on reserve at the first display of posturing/posing/taunting……headcase?

    Camp Colvin Schmolvin. Have every Cub minor leaguer report to work after New Years as a group and invest in strength, conditioning, specific instruction, etc. as they are seasonal employees. Build a team from the ground up. Minor League player development is not only to develop a future major leaguer for your team, but also valuable trade assets to fill a specific need when in contention.

    • paulcatanese

      Anthony, you are a changed man. The last few posts you have written are very good, well written and not the “all knowing” theme as the ones before.

      This one today,and the one just before, I agree whole heartedly with.. I cannot find fault with any paragrph above. Well done.

      • paulcatanese

        Anthony, I take that back about you being a changed man. You haven’t changed, I have, went back and read many of the posts you put on here. It was because I didnt take the time to really read them, a little authorative but non the less accurate and that wasn’t youre fault but mine for not taking the time to digest what was written. I have a bad habit of browsing thru a comment quicklynd judging the same way. My apologies. Dont agree with all, but they are good.

    • paulcatanese

      I did watch all of the video’s on Cespedes and agree, reminds me of the first part of the movie “The Scout”. After watching him swing the bat, I dont like his swing, his left elbow is pointed too much toward’s the sky, indicating to me that he is “pushing” his swing at the ball and feel that if he ever makes it over here major league pitchers will simply throw him tight and letter high.

      Besides, 30 million for a 28-29 year old? And his attitude? who needs another like that on the Cubs? I would pass.

  • studio179

    It’s not like Brenly said anything anyone did not alrady know who really watches this team. Brenly did not spill any secrects that other MLB teams did not already know, either. It’s not like teams that were or will be interested in Ramirez will suddenly back off because of a teams TV commintator’s thoughts. Brenly praised Ramirez (and Soriano) when they did hustle. It’s an ego thing with players and all about being ‘respected’. Plus, some of these players get so comfortable being a Cub, they forget how good they really do, did or could have it.
     
     
    The team will miss his bat when from mid June on…about the time he decides to drive the ball. However, a clean break is needed by the Cubs. You can’t bring in new front office people with a new organization wide way of playing ball and doing business and keep players who do not fit into those old ways. Other vet players from the old regime that do not fit will also be ‘wished well’ on their way to free agency and not being resigned. That, or being traded when the opportunity presents itself in the best interest of the team. Plus, if he is going to let Brenly’s comments eat him up months after they happen, a clean break for Ramirez is needed, too.
     
     
    As always, it is about the money. If Theo was willing to pony up to a 4 year market value contract for Ramirez, he would be more than willing to return. Not much more would be said about Brenly from Ram or Kinzer. Brenly got on Casto for not being focused in the field at times. We have not heard from Kinzer on that one yet. That is because it is sour grapes on Ram and Kinzer’s part because Theo decided not to resign Ramirez. Hopefully, the new regime, manager and coaching gets Castro’s focus issues taken care of and is a non factor from here on out. Kinzer knows and said Castro will get paid in due time, that they are willing to listen. No Brenly mention though. It is a back and forth PR game and all involved are doing their part. 

  • studio179

    I forgot to add that it is too bad the Cubs could not get Ramirez to waive his NTC at the deadline and get something of decent value in return. I don’t fault Ram or his agent for getting the clause and it was his right to refuse a trade. No need to rehash the blame game. We know who was at fault. Just another example of missed opportunity then and brighter days ahead now. 

  • Aaron

    Guys I want the Cubs to target in sign/trade for this offseason:

    Brackman
    Sizemore
    Fielder
    Kubel
    Oswalt
    E. Jackson
    Broxton
    Lidge
    Michael Bowden
    Nolasco
    Buehrle
    Wily Mo Pena (don’t laugh…yes, he K’s a lot, but he has HUGE power from the left side, and would be a great bench bat to have in the mold of what Andruw Jones was for the Yankees this year)
    Michael Young
    Morrison

    Guys I want the Cubs to trade/release/non-tender:

    Hill
    Baker
    Johnson
    Byrd
    Barney
    Soriano
    Soto
    DeWitt
    Marmol
    Wells
    Zambrano (provided they sign Jackson and Oswalt, or make a trade for another pitcher like Michael Bowden)
    Marshall (ONLY if they can get AT LEAST a top 3 young starter from someone)

    As for everything else, I’d prefer the Cubs go with Maddux as manager, and hope Greg comes on board as pitching coach. I also would hope they’d at least extend Sandberg an offer to be a bench or base coach for them, as I don’t know if he’ll get another offer this offseason from anyone else.

    • J Daniel

      Couldn’t agree more.  Here I go but this may sound like the old regime – they will be able to compete with Fielder out of Milwaukee and Pujols possibly out of St. Louis.  But the key is they have to create a new culture and the quickest way to it is to get rid of most of the crap and bring in players from winning organizations.

      Not going to get much back in return of all the the current Cubs.  Marmol will bring the best haul.  After that, it is all low prospects that will not pan out.  But, maybe they can be used in other deals?

    • Zach

      I agree with almost everything you said, except that i don’t think the Cubs need Broxton or Lidge since they have Marshall, Carpenter and a couple minor leaguers. But i definitely think they should sign Brackman and Sizemore (for a reasonable price).  Also Willy Mo Pena bats righty.  

    • J Daniel

      A guy like Wily Mo can be very valuable – Randal Simon was an important pinch hitter in 2003.  Need to get a power bat from the left side, just ask JH.  The problem then was the guy he brought in had more power from the right side.  A computer could have told them this.

    • studio179

      I agree with your trade/release/non tener list. I am not high on Pena. Also, I am not too high on Buehrle or what he will likely get. 

      It would take a strong manager to make the Sandberg choice for a coaching position, even though the new manager will have 100% backing from the front office. If the new manager did bring in Sandberg, that manager would have made a bold and confident move in their abilities, a great PR move and most importantly, a quality move. I am not going to get any hopes up as I just don’t see it happening. It would be a welcome sight. It gets him back in the Cub organization and silence critics who say he needs to coach at the MLB level before getting a manager’s job.        

  • studio179

    “RT @SI_JonHeyman sounds like #cubs second round of manager interviews may just be on phone. not too far from making their pick.”

    “(@Haudricourt) Just talked to Dale Sveum. He’s on way to Milwaukee for second managerial interviews with Red Sox and Cubs. Good luck”

    So while Sveum is going to be in person at the meetings doing a second interview with Boston, the Cubs are going to call him for his second interview? LOL! It’s going to be Maddux or Alomar Jr for the Cubs.

     

  • Last_ginger

    Cubs “have been doing background work” on Darvish

  • paulcatanese

    I realize Theo Epstein is a businessman, and a good one. He has a purpose in the back of his head in maybe taking Zambrano back into the fold. It may work out that Z will increase his value for a trade.I hope that happens before Z explodes again, and he will.That has to be a very precarious situation for everyone around on the team. There will be many new players on the scene that know but have not seen Z firsthand and his antics, care must be taken to not let him influence the others. This is probably one of the biggest risks Theo has undertaken. I’m not for it but Theo knows what he is doing, hope it works out.

  • paulcatanese

    I watched two interviews last night with Costas, first one with Billy Crystal who reminded me of all of us crazy Cub fans with his love affair with the Yankees.

    The second was Costas with Billy Beane, Brad Pitt, and two others, one the author of the book.

    Gained a new insight on Sabernetics and how its supposed to work. As it turned out from what I understood its about 80% applicable and the other 20% human.

    The question I would have, how would Mantle, Ford, and Martin have stacked up under the sabernetic system before they signed? Would they have signed,
    and who else from that era would not have been around if it were 80% computerized?

    • daverj

      Very interesting point on Mantle and the others.  I’m a big fan a sabermetrics and would be interested to see how it would have applied to the stars (and busts) of prior eras.

  • Dorasaga

    Neil and Tom, while you guys are on the prospects, I’m more interested at the latest progress of Rebel Ridling and D.J. LeMahieu. I want to really get a grasp of an internal replacement for ARam, whose track record made me believe is not worth the hype. But I’m open to new info., especially how Ridling and LeMahieu handled third base.

    • paulcatanese

      When LeMahieu was up for a short time this last year and for the minute opportunity he was given to play by Quade, he did pretty well at third base, made several good if not great plays over there and some bad ones on routine chances.

      I didnt put too much on the bad ones and focused on the good ones and they were all plays that Aram could not come close to.

      If his power numbers can increase and given some extended time over there at the major league level I think he would surprise a few people.

      The fact that he was put in a position that he was by Quade was not fair to him and he could have done better with a manager who could think beyond the bill of his cap.

      • cubtex

        but that is where Starlin Castro should play :)

        • paulcatanese

          “I knew that”:)

      • Anthony

        DJ, once a SS benefits from carrying those type tools to the hot corner. He never was a power guy, not even at LSU with metal bats, but, plenty of room to develop some added power as he matures.

        The players that I find interesting to watch development-wise are the ones not entering pro baseball maxed-out physically. DJ is one of them, tall and rangy, room for maturity.

        • cubtex

          As is Vitters….but Vitters has more upside than LeMahieu as a power guy.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Don’t be surprised if Vitters’ days at third are over.

          • cubtex

             Neil……..correct me if I am wrong but didn’t Fleita come out and say that Vitters will be back at 3rd starting next year. He said he is playing all over this winter to get at bats.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            I have not seen that this off-season. Do you have a link? I would like to read that. With as much as he’s struggled over there and with the new regime, I would not be surprised if he’s moved to the outfield. When Vitters took Jackson’s spot on Mesa’s roster he was supposed to receive more playing time than he has in the outfield.

          • cubtex

            With plenty of infielders on the Mesa team, Vitters hasn’t started a game at third base, his natural position. Vitters has made seven starts at first base for Mesa and he played right field Thursday. Unfortunately for Vitters, he committed an error when a bloop single skipped past him.
            But the Cubs aren’t overly worried about Vitters’ ability to play the outfield. He’s playing positions to get more live at bats.

            “He will play third base in 2012,” said Oneri Fleita, the Cubs’ vice president of player personnel.
            mgonzales@tribune.com
            Twitter @MDGonzales

             <img src="http://s0.2mdn.net/1963017/CHI_11.3.11_1746167_HB_1I thopI tho

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Thank you for posting, I do not follow him on Twitter so that explains why I missed that. It will be interesting to follow his progress at third and in the field. I really appreciate you finding that.

          • cubtex

            Sure Neil. Thanks for all you do!

    • Tom U

      Dorasaga, currently for the Mesa Solar Sox, LeMahieu has been playing third base exclusively (with a few appearances at first) and has committed only two errors. His manager, Joe McEwing of the White Sox Triple-A team, has mainly batted him fourth or fifth in the line-up, and he has responded with 20 RBI, good for second on the team. LeMahieu has demonstrated the same pattern he shown throughout the minors, taking some time to adjust to the pitching, then raising his batting average. His current batting average is .297, and including today’s 1-for-3 has hit .310 in his last ten games. 

      When assessing him as a replacement for Ramirez, one has to remember that not every third baseman is a swing-from-the-heels power guy. There have been very effective players who haven’t had great power, Wade Boggs, Terry Pendleton, and Chris Sabo are a few that come to mind. When teams that had those type of players, they either adjusted their style of offense or found their power from somewhere else.

      As far as Ridling goes, I assume you’re asking about him as a first baseman, since he has only one career appearance at third (1 chance, 1 putout, 1.000 fielding percentage). Ridling did not participate in any of the winter leagues.He performed well for Double-A Tennessee, going .309 with 20 HR and 80 RBI, playing both outfield and first base. I consider him a slightly younger, right-handed counterpart to Bryan LaHair. He most likely will be the opening day first baseman of Iowa.

      • Dorasaga

        Thank you, Tom, Paul, and Anthony; and kudos to Cubtex on Vitters. The Wade Boggs comparison is a good one. I’m looking forward to watch more of LeMahieu in spring training.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Bruce Levine: Cubs will not have second
    interviews but will talk to some of the group of 6 over the phone. May
    have conversation with Dale Sveum here .

  • cubtex

    Astros signed Scott Moore from the Iowa Cubs. First Brad Snyder and now Scott Moore. They are rading the Cub journeyman minor league system ;)

    • cubtex

      Felix Pie and Jake Fox……The Astros are on the phone :)

      • studio179

        Some organization has to now that MacPhail step down from the O’s.

      • Tom U

        Currently, Pie is hitting .267 with 8 RBI and 2 SB in 16 games and Fox is .269 with 2 RBI in 7 games for Estrelles de Oriente in the DWL.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    There are conflicting reports on the Cubs interviewing Sveum for a second time while they are in Milwaukee. Two reports (Chicago and Boston) say they will not, and two from the Sun-Times say they will.

  • Michael

    Semi-high base contracts with high incentive dollar numbers are over-rated. Same thing happened last year with Brandon Webb, went to Texas and threw 0 innings, the year before was Ben Sheets with Oakland, that was another wasted contract. Trying to hit gin on these contracts is a waste of time, money and a health position player.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Jon Heyman:
    Dale Sveum looks like apparent frontrunner in boston and chicagos north side. Most popular man in baseball right now

  • Taterstud69

    I would Love to see the Cubs sign both Carlos and Fielder………Put Fielder at 3rd and Carlos at 1st and sign Sizemore for RF…….Get the Jap Pitcher and thats a Winning Winter………

    • daverj

      Fielder playing 3B might have some comedic value …

    • Tony_Hall

      Pass whatever blue kool-aide you are drinking around to all.  We would all need it to watch Fielder at 3B…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From the Boston Globe: Pete Abraham Sveum to meet with Henry, Werner and Lucchino tomorrow.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Carrie Muskat: Cubs will talk to dale sveum wed. Sveum is coming n for 2nd interview with Red Sox

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Carrie Muskat: No more candidates for Cubs job. Its down to Mackanin, Maddux, Sveum, Alomar, Hale and Francona

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs in AFL (11/15): Josh Vitters (RF): 3-for-5, RBI, R, SB; DJ LeMahieu (3B): 2-for-4, RBI, BB, R; Andrew Cashner: 5R, 4H, BB, K in 0.2IP (32 pitches, 19 strikes); Chris Carpenter: 1R, 3H, 0BB, K in 1IP (17 pitches,12 strikes)

  • RynoTiger

    From Carrie Muskat: In between 1st and 2nd round interviews for the Cubs managerial vacancy, the Cubs are allowed to interview additional candidates as a part of the Supplemental Round for the MLB Managerial Draft.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Comcast SportsNet: Cubs will meet with Sveum again. Hoyer says Maddux still weighing family concerns. Francona viewed as an extreme long shot.

  • RynoTiger

    From Ryno Tiger: If Sveum opts for the Boston job, Maddux withdraws his candidacy due to family, then Theo and the boys should just go ahead and bring Ryno in for an interview.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Well played …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Bruce Levine: Boston GM Ben Cherington said a trade between Cubs and Redsox could settle compensation issue for Theo Epstein leaving Bosox

    • Aaron

      I wonder why the Cubs don’t just unload Baker to them and be done with it.   We all know Boston had interest in him last year, but the Cubs for some bizarre reason wouldn’t part with him. Unless it was Theo that was high on him, and nobody else was, I just don’t see why the Cubs shouldn’t send him, especially with the likes of LeMahieu, Lake, M. Gonzalez, and Flaherty all waiting in the wings.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        I’m right there with you Aaron … send them Jeff Baker.

      • paulcatanese

        To paraphrase what others have said, makes too much sense to do that.

      • cubtex

        I’m with you on that one too!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Bruce Miles: GM Hoyer says no manager deadline, but “we want to move this into decision-making mode.”

  • Chuck

    Correct me if I am wrong but didn’t Theo sign JD Drew to play in Boston?  This guy is on the DL, it seems, most of the time.  Thus, it makes sense to sign Grady Sizemore.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Chuck, you are right. Epstein signed JD Drew … a Boras client.

    • paulcatanese

      Uh oh, do I detect a flaw?

      • Jay from sandwich

        Do you mean that team theo has flaws? That they are not perfect? Hence that,ustbewhy ryno is not being consider!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Jon Paul Morosi … Cubs have had multiple discussions with the agent for
    Mark Buehrle, source says.

    • cubtex

      Buerhle would be a nice addition

  • Ripsnorter1

    It is just so refreshing to have a REAL GM running the Cubs!
    Theo handled Z just right. 
    But I might add,
    “JUST SAY NO TO FRANCONA.”

  • Jrodriguez192011

    Get fielder and cespede, also I would hire francona