The final countdown to Baseball’s Winter Meetings has begun and most of the experts think there is going to be a lot of activity in Dallas … with the Cubs right in the middle of the action. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have many holes to fill in order to field a team for next season. The Cubs are reportedly looking to add starting pitching and a left-handed bat.
Jed Hoyer said earlier in the week they have been talking to numerous teams and agents over the last few weeks leading up to baseball’s annual gathering. The next several days could end up being quite interesting.
One of the positions the Cubs are looking to fill is third base. With Aramis Ramirez out of the picture, Jed Hoyer has talked to the Rockies about a possible swap. Rumors surfaced Friday that the Cubs and Colorado have discussed a Blake DeWitt for Ian Stewart deal but the Rockies would prefer Tyler Colvin or a minor league pitcher.
Chris Bosio has officially replaced Mark Riggins as the pitching coach for the Chicago Cubs. Bosio spoke to his local newspaper on Friday and broke the news … the Cubs confirmed the report not to long after the news hit the wire.
Dale Sveum is expected to announce his coaching staff next week and the hold-up appears to be Craig Counsell … as mentioned on Friday. According to the Tribune, Sveum is hoping to hire Counsell as a coach but Counsell is not sure if he’s ready to quit playing and become a coach. The Tribune reported a scenario in which the Cubs would sign Craig Counsell as a bench player and he would eventually move into a coaching role.
Ron Santo has been in the headlines of late due to his possible election to the Hall of Fame on Monday. Santo is expected to be voted in and it is too bad. Santo deserved to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame years ago and he should have been able to receive the call that he waited for.
Today marks the one year anniversary of his passing and I think it is fair to say that Ronnie is smiling about all of the changes with his beloved Cubs while thinking next season will be THE year.
Here’s the update … Ian Stewart
Friday began with rumors that suggested the Cubs were talking to the Rockies about a trade that would send Blake DeWitt to Colorado for Ian Stewart … the Cubs interest in Stewart has been in the mill over the last few weeks.
The Denver Post reported that the Rockies still think highly enough of Ian Stewart that they would want more in return than Blake DeWitt. The Cubs have interest in Stewart and have made DeWitt available but Colorado would prefer Tyler Colvin instead … or a minor league pitching prospect.
Reports have suggested that the Rockies would non-tender Stewart but according to the Denver Post, Stewart’s agent has been told that Colorado is planning to tender Stewart a contract for 2012 … the deadline to tender players contracts with three-six years of service time is December 12.
The DeWitt for Stewart talks have quieted but could pick up again at the Winter Meetings.
Epstein, Hoyer and McLeod Compensation
The Cubs are expected to settle two compensation issues after the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday … the long-drawn out compensation to the Red Sox for Theo Epstein and what is expected to be a lower-level minor leaguer to San Diego for Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod.
Ben Cherington addressed Boston’s side on Friday and said, “It’s like cleaning the garage. You know it’s out there and you’ve got to do it, but you’re going to do everything else first.”
Cherington told WEEI’s Alex Speier that he does not think Major League Baseball will have to get involved.
News, Notes and Rumors
- According to Jim Bowden (MLB Radio Network/XM Radio), the Cubs continue to pursue Mark Buehrle … along with the Nationals, Marlins and 11 other teams.
- One of the starting pitchers the Cubs were looking at to give the big league club a little depth in the rotation signed with the Dodgers on Friday. The Cubs were interested in signing Chris Capuano but were outbid by the Dodgers … who gave the veteran southpaw a two-year, $10 million deal that also includes an incentive package worth $1 million. After a bounce back season with the Mets, Capuano had several teams interested in signing him outside of the Dodgers and Cubs … the Twins and Pirates are the two other known teams.
- The Cardinals hired former a former Cub to be their assistant hitting coach … John Mabry will assist Mark McGwire on his best friend’s staff.
- According to Bruce Levine, four teams are interested in signing Aramis Ramirez … and three have submitted offers. The Angels and Brewers are seen as the early favorites to sign Ramirez. And according to Jim Bowden, the Brewers view Ramirez as a back-up plan to replace Prince Fielder’s numbers if he signs elsewhere.
- According to Comcast SportsNet, Theo Epstein plans to build his own empire with the Cubs.
- Yoenis Cespedes is on the radar of several teams and according to Jerry Crasnick, the soon-to-be free agent could command a contract near the $50 million mark. Crasnick provided an excellent report on the highly touted outfielder that some scouts have compared to Raul Mondesi.
Well, that’s the update … and I’m sticking to it!
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