Weekend Update … Back to Work for the Chicago Cubs

The Cubs’ front office return to work following a trip to the Dominican Republic and the long holiday weekend on Monday … and Team Epstein is looking at a very hectic end to the calendar year.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are expected to be very busy over the coming weeks. The Cubs are one of the teams that most feel will the most active leading up to and through the Winter Meetings (December 5 – December 8).

On the free agent front, the Cubs are rumored to be interested in Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle. As for the trade market, Hoyer and Epstein are reportedly listening to offers on many of the players on the 40-man roster … some of the names that have been thrown out include Marlon Byrd, Matt Garza and Sean Marshall.

The deadline to tender player’s contracts with three-six years of service time is December 12. The Cubs have seven players with three-six years of service time arbitration eligible … Jeff Baker, Blake DeWitt, Matt Garza, Koyie Hill, Jeff Samardzija, Geovany Soto and Randy Wells. Will the Cubs’ new regime tender contracts to Hill and DeWitt?

Plus, toward the end of the Winter Meetings (December 7), the Cubs will find out if Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena have accepted or declines salary arbitration.

As for Dale Sveum’s coaching staff, Sveum has been working on assembling his staff and according to Bruce Levine, those announcements could be made as early as Monday or Tuesday.

On the last Sunday in November, here’s the update …

Free Agents
Bruce Levine and Jim Bowden are hearing a lot of rumblings about the Cubs being players in the free agent market this off-season. Bowden said Friday that he would not be surprised if the Cubs made a big splash or two.

During Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) on Saturday morning, Levine said he is hearing the Cubs will be more active in signing free agents than in the trade market. Levine has heard the Cubs are looking at Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle. Levine shares the same view as many that Mark Buehrle would not sign with the Cubs … despite the Cubs need for pitching and the fact signing with the Cubs would allow Buehrle to stay in Chicago.

Sveum’s Coaching Staff
Dale Sveum has decisions to make. Right now he has only one coach on his staff, Rudy Jaramillo, but he is expected to retain both Pat Listach and Lester Strode. Listach could serve as either his bench coach or a base coach.

Chris Bosio appears to be the favorite to land the pitching coach job. Bosio is well respected according to Bruce Levine and like Sveum, is a no excuse, instructor-type coach.

Levine has heard that Ed Sedar could be on Sveum’s list and Craig Counsell’s name was thrown out by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel early last week. Levine said Saturday that he had heard Ted Simmons and Pete Vuckovich were discussed at some point but are no longer in the mix.

Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano was expected to start Saturday for his team in Venezuela but missed the start and has been pushed to December 6. Zambrano reportedly is doing okay after being hit by a line drive in the face eight days ago. Doctors have instructed Zambrano to rest and he is officially listed as day-to-day.

News, Notes and Rumors
Bruce Levine thinks the Cubs’ big league payroll for 2012 will be around $130 million.

From Jim Bowden: The Cubs have been fascinating to watch this off-season. They have been very aggressive with a wide range of free agents and have been in on trade talks with at least a dozen clubs. What’s been interesting is for a club that struggled so much in 2011, their conversations have not been limited to long-term solutions, but rather, they’ve included everyone from prospects to one-year stop-gap players.

Marwin Gonzalez’s winter appears to be over. Marwin Gonzalez will spend the rest of the winter working out at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa … but not due to injury. According to a report from Cubs.com, the Venezuela Winter League is upset about Gonzalez’s decision but he cannot continue to go back and forth from Venezuela to Mesa.

Off-Season Calendar
Will update the calendar throughout the off-season

December

  • 1 – Last day to request outright waivers to assign player prior to Rule 5 Draft
  • 5 – Last time to outright a player prior to the Rule 5 Draft (5:00pm ET)
  • 5 – Balloting results announced for Hall of Fame Golden Era Committee
  • 5 – 8 Baseball’s Winter Meetings – Dallas, TX
  • 6 – Balloting results announced for Hall of Fame Ford C. Frick Award
  • 7 – Last date for player who declared free agency to accept an arbitration offer from former club. Deadline is midnight ET.
  • 8 – Rule 5 Draft – Dallas, TX
  • 11 – Current collective bargaining agreement expires
  • 12 – Last date for Major League clubs to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players (3-6 men)
  • 31 – Deadline for BBWAA ballots

2012

January

  • 5 – Individual game tickets for 2012 Cubs Spring Training home games go on sale
  • 5 – 15 – Salary arbitration filing period
  • 9 – Hall of Fame Class of 2012 announced
  • 13 – 15 – 27th Annual Cubs Convention
  • 18 – Exchange of salary arbitration figures

February

  • 1 – 21 – Salary arbitration hearings
  • 13 – Voluntary reporting date to Spring Training for pitchers, catchers and injured players
  • 15 – End of Waiver Period
  • 16 – Beginning of New Waiver Period
  • 18 – Voluntary reporting date to Spring Training for other players

March

  • 2 – Mandatory reporting date to Spring Training for all players
  • 2 – 11 – Teams may renew contracts of unsigned players
  • 4 – Cubs Spring Training Opening Day – Cubs versus A’s at HoHoKam Park
  • 19 – Last day to place a player on unconditional release waivers and pay 30 days termination pay instead of 45 days
  • 28-29 – Japan Opening Series – Seattle vs. Oakland, Tokyo

April

  • 2 – Last day to request unconditional release waivers on a player without having to pay his full 2011 salary (Only 45 days termination pay is due)
  • 4 – All Clubs must reduce active roster to 25 players
  • 4 – Opening Day for MLB
  • 5 – Opening Day for Chicago Cubs – Cubs vs. Nationals at Wrigley Field

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

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