Replacing Brenly … and Other Cubs News, Notes and Rumors

The Cubs’ off-season will not kick into full swing for a couple of weeks but the speculation has begun on which players Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer might try to sign this winter. The focus will be on adding pitching and filling out a rotation that was void of Major League arms for a majority of the last two months of the season.

The search for Bob Brenly’s replacement is expected to begin very soon according to a report from the Tribune. Bob Vorwald, director of productions for WGN-TV, told the Tribune that he “would get together with the Cubs and Comcast SportsNet as soon as possible to go over a list of potential candidates” to replace Brenly. Len Kasper is expected to have input and the new color analyst will have to be available for 140 games.

The Diamondbacks announced the hiring of Bob Brenly on Thursday, along with play-by-play man Steve Berthiaume. Brenly’s deal is believed to include national assignments for Fox Sports as well as Diamondbacks’ games on Fox Sports Arizona.

Congratulations to the Detroit Tigers for winning the American League pennant … with the Cardinals taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the NLCS, it appears there is a rematch of the 2006 World Series, as well as 1934 and 1968 fall classics, on the horizon …

The Len and ? Show
The search for Bob Brenly’s replacement should begin early next week. Bob Vorwald told the Tribune that no one would be ruled out. Several stepped forward the day after Brenly informed the Cubs he would not be returning to the booth and expressed interest in the job.

The analyst would be a WGN employee but the Cubs will probably have the most say in who is hired according to the Tribune. One name to cross of what is becoming a very lengthy list is Kerry Wood. Wood told David Kaplan that he is not interested in the job.

Rick Sutcliffe said he might consider the job if asked. Sutcliffe really enjoyed being in Spring Training last year with the Cubs. Sutcliffe explained that he felt like for the first time he had a role with the Cubs last spring. He thought the team valued his opinion and he hopes to expand that role.

Doug Glanville said the job intrigued him and Steve Lyons has also shown interest. Dan Plesac, Eric Karros, Todd Hollandsworth and Dave Campbell appear to be in the mix and Campbell’s agent is expected to contact WGN. Bob Vorwald declined to speculate on potential candidates. Other names will likely pop up in the coming days. As for Steve Stone, he is expected to stay on the South Side with the Sox.

The Cubs have two more seasons left on their contract with WGN-TV (runs through the 2014 season) and seven more seasons with Comcast SportsNet (runs through the 2019 season) … Stay Tuned.

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat Tuesday on … here are a few of the highlights:

  • Shaun Marcum is one of the free agents Levine sees the Cubs’ signing in the off-season (Note: There is a connection between Marcum and Cubs’ pitching coach Chris Bosio from their time in the Brewers’ organization.)
  • The Cubs will likely sign pitchers coming off injury or down years that are willing to take one or two year deals … see Paul Maholm.
  • Levine speculated that the Cubs could be interested in the following free agent pitchers: Joe Blanton, Jeff Francis, Francisco Liriano, Brandon McCarthy and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Levine stated that is “just a general list of some of the short-term starting pitchers the Cubs can go after.”
  • Ian Stewart is still an option at third base for the Cubs next season … that is if the Cubs tender him a contract. Levine pointed out that Kevin Youkilis “would be intriguing” if the White Sox do not pick up his option. Another name to keep an eye on for third base is Kevin Kouzmanoff.
  • Levine was asked about the possibility of the Cubs signing Jeff Keppinger. Levine thinks the Cubs could be interested (along with the White Sox) in signing Keppinger because of his ability to play numerous positions
  • Levine expects Matt Garza to start the season with the Cubs. Jed Hoyer will not be able to trade him for real value until he proves he’s 100 percent healthy.

Full Chat Transcript

Marcelo Carreno
The Cubs completed the deal for Jeff Baker by acquiring Marcelo Carreno on Tuesday. When the Cubs made the trade with Detroit for Baker in August, it was supposed to be for two players to be named later. The Cubs ended up receiving Carreno and cash instead … and it appears the Cubs made a very good deal.

According to Baseball America, Carreno throws a live low-90s fastball to both sides of the plate as well as a curveball and changeup. Both his curveball and changeup are presently below average but he has shown he can rotate the curveball and sink his changeup at times.

According to a report from MiLB, Carreno could top out as a number three starter and bottoms out as a middle reliever … but either way, the Cubs ended up getting a future Major League pitcher for Jeff Baker.

News and Notes
Len Kasper wrote an excellent article for Baseball Prospectus. The TV voice of the Chicago Cubs discussed how he has brought sabermetrics to the broadcast booth. The article is well worth the time and a must read for everyone.

Anthony Rizzo signed with marketing company Two Affix.

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon