Rounding Up the Cubs News, Notes and Rumors

Major League Baseball made headlines with the announcement of the new CBA on Tuesday. Seemingly lost in all of the changes of new Collective Bargaining Agreement, especially those that impact the draft and international signings, was the last of the BBWAA Awards was handed out. For the most part, baseball will take a break for the next couple of days before kicking back into gear after the holiday.

News and rumors will continue to be made over the weekend but Monday starts a very busy two week period … and the Cubs figure to be right in the middle of the news and rumors leading up to, and through the Winter Meetings (December 5 – December 8).

Dale Sveum should be announcing his coaching staff over the next week. One piece is in place, two coaches are expected to return and two names have surfaced as possibilities for his staff.

Matt Garza has entered the rumor mill for the second winter in a row and Carlos Zambrano is expected to start in Venezuela on Saturday. Wednesday is the deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to their own free agents … and Cubs’ skipper Dale Sveum turns 48 on Wednesday.

Here’s the update …

Yoenis Cespedes and Yu Darvish
According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs are interested in signing both Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes, or in the case of Darvish bid for the right to negotiate a contract with him.

As reported over the weekend, the Cubs held a private workout with Yoenis Cespedes on Monday in the Dominican Republic. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer joined Jason McLeod to check out the Cuban outfielder. McLeod was already in the Dominican scouting Jorge Soler, a 19-year outfielder that has not garnered as much attention as Cespedes.

Many have begun to question if Cespedes can hit big league pitching. He was recently compared to Wily Mo Pena but could still be looking at a huge payday. Teams are interested … will the Cubs continue to pursue or move on?

Matt Garza
What began as a question over the weekend in a Boston newspaper has become a full-blown rumor … thanks to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal. Will the Cubs shop Matt Garza? Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have said they will listen to offers for any of the players on their roster … and that includes Matt Garza. The word ‘untouchable’ is apparently no longer in the Cubs’ vocabulary. Does that mean they are shopping Garza? Not necessarily, but it likely means if the right deal comes along they could move him.

Bruce Levine mentioned the Rangers could be one of the teams interested in Garza … and that is based on Texas’ interest in Garza last winter before Jim Hendry pulled off the deal.

As Levine said, it costs the Cubs nothing to listen to offers for Matt Garza.

Dale Sveum’s Coaching Staff
Rudy Jaramillo will return for the final season of the three-year deal he signed in 2009 … as for the rest of the coaching staff, those decisions could be made official after the holiday weekend.

Pat Listach and Lester Strode are expected to return and both Ivan DeJesus and Bobby Dernier have been told they will not be retained.

As for Mark Riggins, Sveum and the Cubs’ front office have met with Riggins and are expected to do so again this week.

Names have begun surfacing as possibilities to serve as pitching coach and bench coach on Sveum’s staff … Chris Bosio and Ed Sedar.

Chris Bosio served as Lou Piniella’s pitching coach in Tampa (2003) and has been in the Brewers’ organization. Ed Sedar was the Brewers’ third base coach last season … both have an obvious connection to Dale Sveum.

Chris Bosio briefly served as the Brewers’ pitching coach at the end of the 2009 season and stayed in Milwaukee’s organization, serving as a scout until last June. Bosio took over as the pitching coach of the Nashville Sounds, the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate.

Ed Sedar completed his fifth season on the Brewers’ big league coaching staff, first as third base coach. Sedar was the Brewers’ first base coach before last season. Prior to joining Milwaukee’s staff in 2007, Sedar was the Brewers’ Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator (1992 – 2006) Sedar was born in Waukegan and played for the White Sox from 1981-1988.

Carlos Zambrano
According to a report from Cubs.com, Carlos Zambrano is expected to pitch on Saturday for his team in Venezuela. Zambrano was hit in the head last Saturday and depending on the report received between six to 18 stitches.

Zambrano was examined on Monday and his Caribes club said the team would have more info on Tuesday on his availability for Saturday. Initial reports indicated Zambrano could miss the remainder of the season.

This appears to be good news for Carlos Zambrano … and the Cubs.

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on ESPNChicago.com, here are the highlights:

  • Bruce Levine expects the Cubs to be big players for Prince Fielder.
  • The Cubs were one of 10-12 teams that talked to C.J. Wilson’s agent during the GM Meetings. Levine thinks the Cubs have “kicked the tires” on Wilson … and Mark Buehrle.
  • One of the first things Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer did after taking over was they asked what trades were on the table prior to the deadline that weren’t made. The Pirates were very interested in Geovany Soto at the time (note: not the first time Soto to the Pirates rumor surfaced).
  • Levine is not sure if the Cubs are willing to commit to Welington Castillo due to his pitch calling abilities … not because of his good bat or great arm.
  • Levine is hearing the Red Sox are looking for a player off the Cubs’ big league roster as compensation for Theo Epstein. Levine mentioned the Tyler Colvin speculation that began over the weekend (suggestion was made by a Boston newspaper to send Colvin to the Red Sox for compensation.)
  • The Cubs are on record saying their number one priority with Josh Vitters is improving his defense at third base.
  • Theo Epstein has been given the go-ahead to spend money this off-season as he sees fit.

Cubs 2012 Cactus League Schedule
The Cubs released their 2012 spring schedule on Monday … and the Dale Sveum led Chicago Cubs will kick off the spring in Mesa against the Oakland A’s on March 4. Four of the Cubs first five games will be at HoHoKam Park.

The Cubs travel to Glendale to face the White Sox on March 9 and Sveum will face his former team for the first time on March 10 in Maryvale … the last time the Cubs were in Maryvale, Carlos Silva imploded and exploded. The Sox make their way to Mesa on March 18 to face a split squad Cubs’ team.

The Cubs have 16 home games on the Cactus League schedule, 17 on the road and will make their annual trek to Las Vegas (March 17-18) for the Big League Weekend at Cashman Field … 2012 will mark the eighth straight spring the Cubs have played exhibition games in Sin City. All toll, the Cubs will play 35 exhibition games in 2012.

Sveum’s squad has five split squad games on the schedule and only one day off. The exhibition season will end on April 3 against the Brewers at HoHoKam Park. Single-game tickets go on sale January 5, 2012.

Mark Buehrle
Most think it will be a cold day in (insert location here) before Mark Buehrle would sign a contract to pitch for the Chicago Cubs. Not only has Buehrle pitched on the other side of town but he also grew up a Cardinals fan. Both Bruce Levine and Phil Rogers thinks there is a possibility Buehrle would sign with the Cubs.

According to Levine, Buehrle’s durability could be the exception to the Cubs new rule about not signing older starting pitchers.

The Nationals recently met with their top off-season target, Mark Buehrle, at his home in St. Louis.

More News, Notes and Rumors

Well, there’s the update … and Happy Thanksgiving.

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