Weekend Update … No More Excuses for the Cubs

Dale Sveum’s introductory press conference continued making headlines. Sveum did not pull any punches on Friday and did not sugarcoat what is and has been wrong with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs’ front office knows they have a lot of work ahead of them, not only at the big league level but throughout the system as well. As for Sveum’s part, he has the challenge of trying to correct things that were overlooked, and in most cases ignored, by previous managers and coaching staffs.

Dale Sveum on excuses … from the Tribune: “You have to create an environment that this environment is a plus for us, still get your work in on day games and don’t use these things as an excuse. Everybody has excuses. They don’t go too far. That’s just a cop-out for your own insecurity if you’re whining about things.”

Dale Sveum begins his first week as skipper of the Chicago Cubs. Sveum turns 48 on Wednesday and is expected to work on filling out his coaching staff this week. Sveum was slated to meet with the only three coaches still under contract on Friday … Rudy Jaramillo, Pat Listach and Lester Strode. Sveum said he has a list of coaches he is looking to interview. Epstein and Hoyer said Sveum will make the decision on his coaching staff and he is looking for “difference makers” … an announcement on Sveum’s coaching staff is not expected until after Thanksgiving.

As for the players Sveum will have to work with, the Cubs are expected to be busy following the Thanksgiving holiday. The next week could be a little less eventful than the first four weeks of the Theo Epstein Era … but one thing is for sure with the Cubs’ new front office, they keep things close to the vest much longer than the previous regime. So there is no telling what may or may not happen before the Thanksgiving break.

Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod are in the Dominican Republic doing their due diligence on Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Solar. The Cubs have scheduled a workout on Monday with Cespedes … who could declare free agency right around the start of the Winter Meetings (December 5 – December 8)

The league MVPs will be announced on Monday (American League) and Tuesday (National League), plus Wednesday is the deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to their ranked free agents.

Here’s the update … with info on Carlos Zambrano.

Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano is recovering from being hit in the side of the head during his start in the Venezuela Winter League on Friday night. Initial reports were that Zambrano was hit in the face and received six stitches to his lip. In turns out Zambrano was hit in the side of the head.

According to reports Saturday night, Zambrano received 18 stitches and will undergo an MRI. Theo Epstein called to check on Zambrano, who might be out for at least two weeks, which would push the next time he could pitch into mid-December. At this point it is unknown if Zambrano will be able to pitch again this winter.

According to a report from Bruce Levine, Zambrano sustained soft tissue damage.

Click Here for the Video of Zambrano Being Hit with the Line Drive

Salary Arbitration
Wednesday is the deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to their ranked free agents. The new CBA, which is expected to be announced by Friday, could affect free agent compensation, but right now the Cubs have two players they could receive draft pick compensation for … Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena.

The Cubs are expected to offer salary arbitration to Aramis Ramirez, who will turn it down and the Cubs would receive a Sandwich Pick (round between first and second) in the 2012 draft. As for Carlos Pena, the reports are mixed … some think the Cubs will offer because Scott Boras will do everything he can to max-out Pena’s value on the open market. The others are concerned Pena would accept and in turn the Cubs’ payroll for 2012 will take a big hit. Pena was paid (in three payments, last one due in January) $10 million for last season.

The deadline for free agents to accept arbitration from their former club is December 7.

News, Notes and Rumors
According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs are very interested in Yu Darvish and from all indications will be one of the teams bidding on the right to negotiate a contract with Darvish.

The Cubs’ new front office is not only making changes at the big league level but also in the minor league system. According to a tweet from Bruce Levine, Dave Bialas has been reassigned. Bialas has served as minor league field coordinator for the last 10 years and will manage one of the minor league teams next season. Levine did not report which team Bialas will manage.

Speaking of the minor league system, the top prospects in the Cubs’ system will get a lot of attention over the next week. Baseball America released their list of the top prospects in the Cubs system last week and Baseball Prospectus is scheduled to release their list this week. The CCO will post full reports on both over the next six days.

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

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Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe