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 Francona … according 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 …

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon