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.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

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  • Tony_Hall

    Thanks Neil for sharing Len Kasper’s article. It was well worth the read. I liked how he ended the article, with this comment about the internet and posting comments.

    “*This is a topic for another time, but the biggest problem I have with the internet is the ability to post comments anonymously. It’s something I have not done and will never do. The discourse gets way too ugly and personal when people are allowed to hide behind a random avatar. I believe you should own your opinions and be transparent about them. That is what keeps us all honest and upstanding as internet users.”

    • Dorasaga

      I tried, so were most CCO readers. Don’t we? :-))

      • Tony_Hall

        Most all do very well, but it is just so true what he says.

  • Tony_Hall

    Carreno is a lot more than I thought we would get back for Baker. If he makes it as a middle reliever, that would be a great return.

  • cubtex

    Props to Dave Dombrowski for building one heck of a pitching staff and team primarily thru trades(and the staff is still fairly young!) Look at the 3 he aquired from trades. Extremely impressive!
    Max Scherzer-aquired via trade
    Doug Fister-aquired via trade
    Anibal Sanchez-aquired via trade
    Phil Coke-aquired via trade
    Regular players also aquired via trade
    Austin Jackson-for Granderson
    Miguel Cabrera-what a steal that trade was
    Jhonny Peralta-aquired for the other Giovanny Soto
    Delmon Young(ALCS MVP) aquired for a bag of balls
    Dombrowski did a hell of a job!

    • Tony_Hall

      Absolutely correct. Many of these were buy low opportunities that he cashed in on, and in some he gave up good prospects they had built up from their years of drafting near the top of each round in the draft.

      Of course this whole team lives off of their ace, and one of the best difference makers in baseball, Justin Verlander. Let’s hope we can find our Verlander with the same #2 pick in this years draft.

    • Tony_Hall

      Here is a breakdown of those Tigers.

      10 were products of their FARM system
      8 were acquired in trades
      7 were major or minor league free agents.

      • Dorasaga

        That 2006 Draft was one that’ll go down in history. Luke Hochevar on top of Everyone Else. Then there were Longoria, Kershaw, Lincecum, and this guy with heterochromic eyes. I never knew Scherzer was from Umssou. No wonder I felt his Midwest connection! 😀

    • cubtex

      That 3 team trade with the Yankees and Diamonbacks was outstanding! Edwin Jackson and Granderson traded from the Tigers and they aquired. Austin Jackson(a future star) Max Scherzer(outstanding stuff and a solid #2) and Phil Coke(a solid lf short relief guy)

    • cc002600

      I think Anibal Sanchez would look good in a cubs uniform….what do you think ? He is FA. He was very impressive in playoffs and is only 28.

      • brent carmona

        Not a bad idea at all. It’s going to be a interesting offseason, not a mindblowing one just one more like last years. I’m curious if they will trade guys like vitters and lake away or just sign strictly free agents who they can deal at the deadline, I.e. paul maholm types.

      • Tony_Hall


        Here is my list of pitchers that I would consider.

        Baker, Feldman, Guthrie, Haren, Jackson, Lewis, Liriano, Marcum, McCarthy, Sanchez Villanueva

        I eliminated a few others that I would like on the list, but just don’t see happening – Dickey, Greinke, Lohse, Peavy,

        My favorites would be Haren, Jackson, McCarthy, Sanchez, Villanueva. If we can add 2 of these I will like our rotation:

        Samardzija, Garza, Sanchez, Haren, T Wood

  • cubtex

    Detroit play by play guy was on mlb radio this morning and said they would never have been here without the help of the White Sox collapsing down the stretch. Got to love it! LOL

  • ChadAudio

    I always thought Jeff Keppinger was underrated… I wouldn’t mind having him as a fill-in. When he was in the NL (especially when he was with the Reds) he even played a lot of SS (guessing he might be too old for that now).

    No thank you to Todd Hollandsworth though.

  • John_CC

    Go Tigers. I break my NL allegiance when the Cardinals are in the Series. And the way the Tigers just completely man-handled the Yanks was beautiful. With that staff led by Verlander and the Miggy-Prince combo in the middle, they will be very hard to beat. I like that team a lot, they’re just about the only AL team that I actually like. And Leyland…love that guy.

  • Roseyc

    The Tigers shows that to rebuild quickly teams still have to spend money. All the trades the Tigers made and mostly with the Marlins was for them to unload salaries. The prospects that went to the Marlins only Maybin is the most recognizable and he hasn’t as of yet developed into a top flight major leaguer and is now with San Diego. Far as the Yankees go I remember debating with a Yankee fan and he was saying that Hughes and Chamberlain was going to be the next great pitchers in years to come. Chamberlain has had injury problems and Hughes hasn’t developed into a top flight pitcher. So sometimes baseball people get overwhelmed and think future prospects are going to be futures stars. There are only so many Caberas and Verlanders. So many Latin players take awhile to really find the right place and time take Carlos Beltran for example. That is why baseball is such a hard sport to figure out

  • Neil

    According to a report from WEEI, Dave Magadan has been hired by the Rangers

  • Cubs 31

    The Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland combination has been tops in baseball for the last 15 years. When they were together with the Florida Marlins winning the World Series in 1997 was the beginning of a winning combination.

  • Cubs 31

    Put Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland in the TV booth; Len Kasper and Rick Sutcliff on the radio.

    • Tony_Hall

      Do you really think Sutcliffe would leave his ESPN job to do radio for the Cubs?

      • Steven Petty

        Is there any luck that the Cubs could make Cano their biggest splash signing in 2014? Would we have the money? Would he be worth it?

  • agustinrexach

    Feeding my Cardinal hatred watching game 5….dejavu

  • Vivid_Reality

    If we could get Marcum, Liriano, and McCarthy all on cheapish two year deals, I’d be pretty thrilled.

    • RynoTiger

      I’d pass on Liriano..his numbers are horrible.

      • Vivid_Reality

        Yeah but thats kinda the point. Marcum and McCarthy carry better numbers but also carry other greater apparent risks. Liriano still has the good K rate and his xFIP is a full run lower than his ERA. I think his skill set would translate to at least a serviceable 5th starter in the NL. I’d be the most cautious of McCarthy coming out of the Coliseum and pitching in Wrigley.

        • Tony_Hall

          The Red Sox have hired John Farrell away from the Blue Jays. Hopefully it is for fair compensation back to the Blue Jays…

  • J Daniel

    I would like them to sign Sanchez, Haren, and Jackson to fill out the rotation with Smardj and Garza. IMO, that would be a very good rotation. There is no ACE in there but it would be a solid professional start every game. Those signings would dramatically improve the club.

    Still need to shore up the bullpen some (like every team every year) and improve the lineup. By spending on that type of pitching it allows a little more time for the development of their everyday players. Probably need to sign a couple of fill in players until the system has a chance to bring up a couple more everyday guys.

    These types of signings also allow them to rebuild a little quicker as they do not have these types of starters ready to come up. Then as a few of the guys they have/will trade for are ready they can trade off and keep building.

    If they are going to be a good team it will require 3 starters, a 3b with a bat, and two corner outfielders that can really hit.

    The hot stove is almost here!!!!!!

  • Dorasaga

    I’m gonna break this news before ANYONE ELSE in America (yup, b4 MLB.t.r.), because I believe someone here on CCO posted about this Japanese phenom.

    You heard me: Ohtani, a RHP high schooler from Northern Japan, where his hometown was shacked and burned by flooding oil after the Tohoku Earthquake, announced today at his high school, in front of the whole nation and its big boy press who followed him this year (think NY Yankees here): He will sign with a Major League club. He’s skipping the *ahem* “rightful” process of going through Japan’s big league (NPB) first.

    Ohtani, 193 cm (6’4”), was clocked at 100 mph during the semifinal of his local prefecture tournament last summer just passed. It’s a preliminary for the big games, a.k.a. Koshien tournament. He played at two Koshien-s previously as a junior. His team didn’t make it to the Koshien this time.

    With the lately imposed “Tazawa Rule,” Ohtani will be forbidden to sign with any NPB club for three years, if he ever decide to return to Japan.

    In addition, now here’s my speculation, Japan’s pro league will be mounting its dissent to the governance of amateur baseball, “Why are you allowing this?” They won’t turn a blind eye to this “Ohtani Challenge.” Things will go nasty.

    Boy, I love this business with balls. It’s not just about the clubs in Japan fighting globalization; you gotta give this young man credit for breaking the boundaries. I believe there were two or three amateur players from Japan tried to play for Club-Americana, but they weren’t that great to start with (most NPB clubs would have passed them for the draft). I hope he’ll stick to himself and not be affected by all the foreseeable drama pressuring him.

    • Dorasaga
    • Tony_Hall

      Thanks for sharing.

      So what say you, should the Cubs go get him?

    • Tony_Hall

      What are the rules and how do teams get to pick him or sign him?

      • Dorasaga

        He’s an international free agent like everyone else. The only rules the Cubs should concern are the signing bonus limit imposed by MLB official.

        The “Tazawa Rule” is by Japan’s pro league for the players who will not go through the “rightful” process of joining their draft first, before heading abroad. It’s a “moral” issue for Japan. The reality is Japan doesn’t want to end up becoming another minor league to MLB, so they’re trying everything they can–to coax or threaten amateur players not going what Ohtani is trying to do.

    • SuzyS

      Thanks for posting Dorasaga. It will be really interesting to see how this plays out with the cba caps on international signings. Who has the best connections to this kid…Who can do the best sales job if the finances are all on a level playing field??? etc. etc. etc.
      Love to see the Cubs sign him.

      • Dorasaga

        Yea, the cap for signing bonus can be tricky. I believe the Cubs always have a good Asian department, active and connected especially in Korea. Neil might be able to confirm this.

        • Neil

          Sorry, I missed this yesterday.

          The Cubs do have a strong connection in the Pacific rim with Steve Wilson … and you are correct, if the Cubs were to sign him it would count against the International Free agent pool.

          • Dorasaga

            Thanks for shaping the whole picture with better words. I’m curious whether Epstein and Hoyer would sign a popular, “hot commodity” like Ohtani, despite all the risk involved, dealing with hostile Japanese forces. It’s not unprecedented. After all, the whole “Tazawa Rule” was created due to Epstein breaking the gentleman’s agreement. Granted, that sort of informal “note” was exchanged between both sides of Japan and American baseball BEFORE Epstein took Boston’s VP post. I wonder if he now will want to “bridge things up” and not “burn” another one, by playing the nice guy, perhaps reallocate Ricketts’ dough in more cost-effective areas (such as Latin American teen players)… We might never know until the occurrence arises, when the Cubs shows competitiveness at the Major League level.

  • SuzyS

    The Red Sox have hired Farrell away from the Blue Jays to be their new manager. Farrell had another year on his contract with Toronto. I find it interesting how they are handling compensation to the Blue Jays…in contrast to the mess Clown Kenney created:,0,296359.story

    • Tony_Hall

      Not sure why you say “in contrast to the mess Clown Kenney created:” We gave up a minor league power arm, and they are giving up “two players from the Red Sox to the Blue Jays, and at least one of those players will reportedly be a member of the Red Sox’ current roster.” Sounds like they are paying quite a bit to hire away a manager a year earlier, then we did to hire away a President. So what if it dragged out for awhile, the only ones that cared about that are the ones that want everything done now.

      • SuzyS

        Tony, I say the mess…because Kenney created ill will between the Cubs and Boston at the negotiating table by not clarifying what the Cubs were offering.
        If you recall, the Red Sox were under the impression that they were going to get Castro or his ilk at one point.
        Saner heads finally got the deal done…But at the very least, Kenney created a huge misunderstanding…not something you want when you have an ongoing business relationship.

  • Tony_Hall

    How many on here smile, even just a little at watching the Yankees swept out of the playoffs?

    You have to like the idea of a World Series, with no East Coast teams in it, even if it ends up a Tigers vs Cardinals series. I still think the Giants will take the NLCS back to San Fran, where anything can happen.

  • ChadAudio

    Totally agree. I can’t stand the Yankees… just so sick of having to hear about them ALL the time.

  • SuzyS

    I have nothing against East Coast teams…except the Yankees…they are still the Evil Empire in my mind. :-)

  • SuzyS

    btw…Condolences to Joe Girardi on the loss of his dad last week. His Dad raised him right.