Catching Up with the Cubs after Turkey Day

Thanksgiving has come and gone and so has Black Friday, once the holiday weekend comes to an end it figures to get very busy for the Chicago Cubs. Baseball’s Winter Meetings kickoff a week from Monday, so this time next week all of baseball will start making their way to Dallas.

The Cubs offered salary arbitration to both Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena prior to Wednesday’s deadline. Both players have until December 7 to accept or decline arbitration. Kerry Wood was not offered arbitration but is expected to re-sign with the Cubs soon … either a one or two-year deal.

Dale Sveum reportedly asked a former teammate to be his pitching coach. And whether Chris Bosio has accepted or not should be known soon. As for the rest of Sveum’s staff, if Craig Counsell retires he could be in the mix.

Here’s the update …

Jorge Soler and Yoenis Cespedes
The Cubs are not the only team interested in the two Cuban outfielders … Jorge Soler and Yoenis Cespedes. While Yoenis Cespedes has garnered a majority of the attention, Jorge Soler is creating a lot of buzz. Until recently, the Cubs were reportedly one of three teams interested in signing the 19-year old outfielder.

Most figures Soler is a couple of years away but he will not cost what Cespedes is rumored to be looking for this off-season. Soler recently worked out for the Phillies at their facility in the Dominican Republic and the Phillies’ scouting director came away “extremely impressed.”

According to ESPN, the Cubs, Nationals, Yankees, Marlins, Rangers and Phillies are now the teams known to be interested in signing Jorge Soler.

The Cubs were in the Dominican last Monday and held a workout for Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes fits the profile of the type of athletic player the new regime is looking to sign but the big question is, will the 26-year old be able to hit big league pitching?

Yu Darvish
The Cubs are rumored to be interested in the right-hander from Japan but he might not end up being an option … not only for the Cubs but for any of the 30 teams.

Yu Darvish has not been posted yet by his Japanese team and according to a report from Jon Paul Morosi, he might not want to pitch in the states in 2012.

The Japan Series ended a week ago and according to Morosi, “one source with close knowledge of Darvish’s thinking said Friday afternoon it remains more likely than not that the right-hander will come to the major leagues in 2012.” There has been no deadline placed on when Darvish will be posted.

Based on how long the process (posting and signing) took for Daisuke Matsuzaka to ink a deal with the Red Sox, the best case scenario would have Darvish signing with a team state-side in mid-January … again, if he is posted.

News, Notes and Rumors
Whether or not the Cubs are interested in signing Prince Fielder this winter is unknown at this point (rumors have suggested the Cubs are interested and rumors have suggested otherwise). If Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are interested, those reports will begin making headlines soon. The Brewers offered Fielder arbitration on Wednesday.

George Ofman tweeted on Thanksgiving about the Cubs’ third base possibilities for next season … the Padres’ Chase Headley and the Rockies’ Ian Stewart. As Ofman tweeted, the Cubs would have to trade for either one.

Jim Bowden (XM Radio) during his show on Friday said he has heard the Cubs will be players in the free agent market this off-season. The former general manager added he would not be surprised if the Cubs made a splash or two this off-season.

With the culture change that Tom Ricketts has asked Theo Epstein to make on the North Side, Paul Sullivan asked if some of Cubs’ staples will bite the dust … like ‘Go Cubs Go’.

According to Jon Paul Morosi, several players on the Cubs’ roster are available in the right deals. Those players include Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Marlon Byrd and Sean Marshall who will be free agents following the 2012 season … and Matt Garza who will hit the free agent market after the 2013 season.

Pat Hughes’ Baseball Voices
Pat Hughes’ latest edition of his Baseball Voices series is Ron Santo. For those unfamiliar with Hughes’ work with the series, please take the time to check out his website. Pat Hughes has done a phenomenal job of collecting highlights of the best play-by-play announcers in the history of the game.

I recently received a copy of Hughes’ tribute to Ron Santo and words cannot describe how good it is. If you liked listening to the Pat and Ron Show and miss Ron Santo, take the time to either order the CD or download it on iTunes.

As the cover says, “If you love to laugh, you’ll love this CD.”

Click here to order a copy of ‘Ron Santo, Cubs Legend‘ – Baseball Voices

Cubstory
Chris Jaffe from The Hardball Times recently took a trip down memory lane and looked back on the trade that brought Rick Sutcliffe to the Cubs and The Sandberg Game.

The ’84 team has a special place in Cubs’ history and helped create an entire generation of Cubs’ fans. Both of Jaffe’s articles are well-worth the time.

Sutcliffe-Carter Trade
The Sandberg Game

Tom Ricketts on FOX Business Network
Tom Ricketts was on FOX Business Network last Tuesday to discuss the new CBA, Theo Epstein and Wrigley Field. The CCO was emailed the link to pass onto our readers.

Watch the latest video at video.foxbusiness.com

Ernie Paicopolos from Fenway Nation emailed the CCO about his side blog and asked us to pass along to our readers. His new blog is based on Theo Epstein’s move to the Cubs … Boston Theo Watch.

Well, that’s the update … and I’m sticking to it!

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney