Can’t Skip Over the Cubs Manager News and Other Notes

The Major League Baseball season will come to an end this week and once the last out of the Series is recorded the off-season officially begins and all 30 teams will start preparing for next season … and beyond.

The Cubs’ front office will continue to focus on finding a new manager while addressing the coaching staff and player personnel.

Scott Baker, Kevin Gregg, Matt Guerrier and Dioner Navarro will officially hit the free agent market after the Fall Classic which will open three spots on the 40-man roster. The Cubs will use those three spots to activate Kyuji Fujikawa, Arodys Vizcaino and Mat Gamel from the 60-day DL. All teams must reinstate players on the 60-day DL within five days of the conclusion of the World Series. The Cubs currently have three spots open on the 40-man roster, and must file their reserve list to protect players from the Rule 5 draft in December by November 20.

Once the Series wraps, the Cubs are expected to ask the Red Sox for permission to formally interview Torey Lovullo. According to Ken Rosenthal, A.J. Hinch and Rick Renteria will receive second interviews this week. And the front office is expected to meet with Eric Wedge in Chicago on Tuesday about the managerial opening.

The third year of the Theo Epstein-Jed Hoyer led front office is underway, and it should be an interesting 15 days leading up to the GM Meetings for the Chicago Cubs.

Updating the Skipper Search

A.J. Hinch and Rick Renteria will reportedly have their second interviews for the Cubs managerial position during the upcoming week. Hinch was the first candidate to talk to the Cubs about the job while Renteria is believed to be the third.

Rick Renteria continues to make headlines with at least two teams thought to be interested in hiring him this off-season. Most think Renteria is the favorite for the Cubs’ job and Jon Heyman feels the Cubs might be his best shot at landing a big league skipper’s gig. Members of the Cubs’ front office have made two different trips to San Diego to interview Renteria and will speak to him again in the coming week. It is unclear if the Cubs will make a third trip to talk to Renteria or if he will make the trip to Chicago. Renteria had hip surgery three weeks ago that prevented him from traveling. Seattle is thought to be very interested in Renteria as well and the Padres are having internal conversations on which way they will go to fill Renteria’s spot on Bud Black’s coaching staff. Ken Rosenthal reported on Saturday morning if Renteria get the Cubs’ job, the Padres could slide Brad Ausmus, Dave Roberts or Glenn Hoffman into his vacated position on Black’s staff.

While the Cubs have yet to formally speak with Torey Lovullo, he appears to be high on their list. Lovullo is seen as a future big league manager, has an excellent reputation and there is a familiarity from his one season in the Red Sox organization with Theo Epstein.

Torey Lovullo could check several of the boxes for the Cubs and from the report in FanGraphs, he seems to have similar philosophies as the baseball operations department.

It is unknown if the Cubs have interest in speaking with Manny Acta and Dave Martinez for a second time.

The name of the second mystery candidate has yet to surface and there are rumblings that the Cubs could have more than just one more name on their list of managerial candidates.

Arizona Fall League

While there will not be any big league baseball on television next weekend, there will be a lot of interest in the AFL All-Star game. Kris Bryant and Albert Almora are expected to play on the East All-Star team.

Two of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system have not disappointed in Arizona this fall.

Kris Bryant did not play on Saturday. Bryant led the AFL in home runs (4), doubles (6), slugging (.905), OPS (1.373), runs scored (16), runs driven in (14) and total bases (38) entering league play on Saturday. Bryant has four walks in 10 games with a .429/.468/.905 line.

Albert Almora hit third for the Solar Sox on Saturday and went 0-for-4. Almora has cooled down a little after a hot start and is hitting .297/.333/.541 with four doubles, one triple, one home run, two walks and nine RBI with a .874 OPS.

Jorge Soler returned to the team after dealing with residency issues and is no longer stuck in the mud. Soler went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored on Saturday and was 5-for-8 in his first two games back with a home run and four RBI. Since returning to the team, Soler is 6-for-12 with a home run, a double, four RBI and three runs scored. So far this fall, Soler is 14-for-47 in 10 games with four doubles, one home run, one walk, eight runs scored and nine RBI (.298/.313/.447/.759).

Wes Darvill got the start at third on Saturday and went 1-for-3 with a double and a RBI. Darvill has played second, third and right field in six games for the Solar Sox and his hitting .263/.333/.474 with one double, one home run, two walks and five RBI (.807 OPS).

The four Cubs pitching prospects in Arizona have had mixed results so far.

Dallas Beeler is 2-0 in three starts with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP. In 10 innings, Beeler has allowed six runs, all earned, on 13 hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Matt Loosen does not have a record in four relief appearances. Loosen has allowed one run on two hits over his last two outings (three innings) and owns a 3.68 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. Loosen has walked only one batter with seven strikeouts and eight hits allowed in 7 1/3 innings.

After a tremendous start to the fall campaign, Armando Rivero has not been very good over his last four appearances. Rivero is 0-1 in six relief outings this fall with a 7.50 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP. In six innings, Rivero has given up 10 hits with two walks and five strikeouts … and three of the five strikeouts came in his first game of the season.

Lendy Castillo has been effective while struggling to throw strikes. Castillo has allowed four runs, one earned, on seven hits with four walks and three strikeouts in five innings (1.80 ERA, 2.20 WHIP).

The Solar Sox are off on Sunday and resume play on Monday at HoHoKam Park against Salt River.

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Quote of the Day

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Mike Trout hit .245 in the AFL before his breakout season.

    • Tony_Hall

      Actually he also played for the Angels and FAILED in 2011 with only a 220 BA and a 281 OBP and 390 SLG. I am amazed they didn’t give up on him, since he was bad in his first 123 AB’s, but the Angels decided to give him another chance, sent him to AAA (for the 1st time) and he hit 403/467/623 for a 1.091 OPS in just 77 AB’s at AAA and decided he might be worth giving another chance at this major league thing. And in his first 2 years, he has had 2 of the best seasons in major league history with a 10.9 WAR in 2012 and followed it up with a 9.2 WAR.

      • Ripsnorter1

        And right there is another thing wrong with Tony Hall:
        You give up on players too quickly.

        I wasn’t surprised that they gave him another chance.

        LOL

        • Tony_Hall

          LOL…I am sure you know but just in case someone else doesn’t I was being sarcastic.

          And what do you mean “another thing”, what is the other thing?

          • Ripsnorter1

            Just pulling your leg. I know you were taking a jab at me. : )

            Another thing: well, you know how I am on your case constantly
            about being too much ……………………. : )

          • Tony_Hall

            I know, I know, I will try to have a more positive outlook on the Cubs moving forward….

      • SuzyS

        Gee, maybe there’s hope for BJAX and Vitters!!! :-)

        • TheWrongGuy

          I have never lost hope for those two. Especially now that Sveum is gone and Rowson. A new hitting leader for those guys is a good thing.

          • SuzyS

            I’ve rooted really hard for those two…and been extremely disappointed to date.
            With all the prospects coming up around them…I’m not sure how much opportunity they’ll get to show their stuff.
            Both BJAX and Vitters could solve a lot of problems in the short term…IF they produced.

          • Tony_Hall

            I think Vitters has a good chance of being on the team this year as the RH platoon for LF and he could also back up 3B and 1B. I still think he will hit against lefties enough to have a MLB career.

            BJAX is the kind of guy that if anyone could ever solve his contact issue, he could have a very nice career as he does everything else well.

          • TheWrongGuy

            I agree 100% with Vitters.

            BJAX… I believe he is not seeing the ball. I know he also wears glasses. (Maybe he should try and wear glasses for batting?) I am not saying of meaning anything bad on the guy just grasping straws hoping for his success.

  • Tony_Hall

    I still think Hinch is the front runner and that Renteria is the safe pick, but I still am looking forward to hearing how Lovullo’s interview goes.

    • SuzyS

      Seattle is interested in Renteria according to 670/SCORE radio.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil
        • SuzyS

          Thanks Neil. BTW did you catch my post on Duffy Lewis the other day? I know you love baseball history.
          Neil…your CCO just gets better and better…Thanks for your tremendous work.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Suzy, thank you that means a lot. I have it saved to read, I have not done so yet. Thank you for posting it.

  • AG Ginn 515

    I wish they look at Jose Oquendo from the Cardinals.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Just hire the entire Cards organization and be a very happy Cubs’ fan!

      • AG Ginn 515

        One day that guy will get his chance. I absolutely hate the turdinals and the fans but I have to respect the organization.

  • Ripsnorter1

    The Cardinals only have six players on their 2013 WS Roster that
    were one their 2011 WS roster.

    • Tony_Hall

      Albert Pujols departs and the team decides to go out and sign only 2 free agents the next 2 seasons and one is a bullpen arm. The Red Sox went out and signed 7 FA’s this year, but the biggest deal was 3 years @ $13M/year.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I think the KC Royals are going to deeply regret that Wil Myers trade.

    • AG Ginn 515

      Worked out for the Rays though, they also got Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery in that deal. The Royals will lose James Shields next year and Wade Davis isn’t anything special. Hopefully we could trade Jeff Samardzija to them for some of their top prospects this offseason.

  • SuzyS

    It was an “obstructed win” last night. Never saw anything quite like that to finish a playoff game.
    My “bearded ones” certainly have a major challenge in front of them. Go Beantown!!!

    I do love watching 2 evenly matched teams go for all the marbles.

  • SuzyS

    http://bostonherald.com/sports/columnists/2013/10/strauss_tony_la_russa_sees_cardinals_as_set_up_real_well_for_the_nextHere's a piece on LaRussa. I found this piece to be of particular interest because LaRussa expounds on what makes a good manager in today’s game:

  • SuzyS

    For Paul Catanese…I love old time baseball history. You probably know all this from your friend whose great grandfather was Smokey Joe Wood. He lived a really fascinating life. Here’s his biography…:http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/9f244666

    • SuzyS

      Last year, I related the story where my mother and grandmother met Babe Ruth in 1939. They were standing in line in North Conway. NH at a tiny movie theater…waiting to see “The Wizard of Oz.” Babe Ruth was in line just in front of them and autographed a ball for them.
      My mother told me that story a zillion times.

      I had the opportunity to visit North Conway last summer. While strolling down the street looking at other sights…I stopped, waiting for some friends to catch up…and wasn’t really paying attention to where I was. When my friends caught up…I turned around to see where we were…..and the little theater was still there…I was standing directly in front of it…probably in the same spot where my mother and grandmother met the Babe. It sent chills down my spine.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Great read, thank you.

    • paulcatanese

      Suzy, that was great, thank you, I will get this to my friend Gary. Most appreciated.
      Paul

  • CubbyDenCritic

    My take on last night game ending call……it was weak….both players collided…..Cardinal player was more on the Red Sox player……I seen more interference with no call in the past……..shame how an umpire can decide a game at the end.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Cubs waiting on Luvello…so are the Tigers……would you rather take a job from a friend w/ three straight 90 loss seasons or take a job that gets you in the playoffs in 2014 with great hitters & pitching ?……
    Looks like Theo is running out of manager candidates………….
    I Like to go suggest someone who has no experience at all as a manager…..he is an ex-Cub…….a catcher…….Hispanic background……his name……
    Henry Blanco.

  • cubtex

    The new posting system between MLB and NPB is being set up, player
    chooses 1 team out of the top 3 highest Bid, looks good from the outside,

    Sooooo….this actually hurts the Cubs. Thoughts? The reason on why I think it does is that if Tanaka has a choice of choosing (for example) Cubs,Yankees and Rangers. Cubs are a distant 3rd even if they are the highest bidder. Why would Tanaka chose the Cubs over 2 winning teams.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Let Tony Hall explain that one!
      Can’t wait to hear his expert baseball reasoning……NOT

      • cubtex

        Rangers also have Yu Darvish so he would have a great support system. Don’t you agree that this new system hurts the Cubs?

        • SuzyS

          From the outside looking in…that would appear to be the case,Cubtex.
          But then, maybe Theo and Jed are good at pushing snake oil…:)

          • SuzyS

            I’d be interested to see exactly what the new agreement in Japan is….(the nuts and bolts of it).

          • Tony_Hall

            We will see it when it is done and announced. They expect to announce in this coming Friday.

          • Dorasaga

            You don’t need the posting fee. I’ve been saying this since 2007. Theproblem is not MLB, but NPB. Japanese ballclubs “believe” that they spent the dough on signing and develop players, so they need a “compensation” for letting players go.

            None of those points make sense. I’ll explain later… World Series getting intersting rt now.

          • cubtex

            This hurts all losing teams(not just the Cubs) Substitute Houston. Houston would have no chance even if they were the highest bidder.

          • SuzyS

            On the surface, it would appear so…but let’s see how it shakes out…there might be something in the contract that addresses that.

    • Tony_Hall

      The new system sounds like how Jerry Reinsdorf would get involved because he didn’t like how teams like the Yankees can just outbid everyone, so to make it fairer, he thinks players from Japan actually want to go to a team, but those teams didn’t have the highest bid. But if you are the player, and one team bids $40M, one team bid $25M and third place is $18M, wouldn’t you go to the team that bid the most, thinking they pay you the most. The unwritten basis of these deals is the players gets close to what the posting fee was paid to the team.

      I think this will lower posting fees, because teams won’t be feeling like they have to way overpay the team to win the bid and will end up with the player having to pick a team to negotiate with based on which one their agent thinks is going to give them the most money. The next step to make this better would be to allow the player to negotiate with all 3 teams and then choose the team they want.

      • cubtex

        Not at all. The posting fee goes to the team…not the player. The player doesn’t have to sign and has as much leverage as if he chose the highest bidder. Choosing the highest bidder would not guarantee anything.

        • Tony_Hall

          I know the posting fee goes to the team, are kidding with that comment.

          And what is not at all, I said I expect posting fees to be lower with this system, as teams won’t be trying to outbid everyone, do you not agree with that?

          • cubtex

            I agree. Why try to be #1 when #3 is just as good.

          • Tony_Hall

            Guys like Reinsdorf think you can make this change, and the bids will stay the same, and it will allow lower revenue teams to get in with a low bid and then the player will want to go there for some reason. Just not going to happen. This almost guarantees that a big market team will be the team the player will choose.

          • TheWrongGuy

            I agree Tony 100%. I like MLB’s theory for allowing the Japanese player to choose from 3 teams. But as you said it only opens the door for all the big market teams to gang up on the international talent via the posting system. I foresee Texas. New York, Chicago, California (all the teams out in Cali), to all just own the posting system.

      • cubtex

        Exactly. That was my first thought when I saw this tweet. The Houston’s and Marlins will never have a chance.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Reasons why Big Free Agents won’t sign with the Cubs at this time…….
    – We are not winning……when we post a playoff or two, big name free agents and their agents will come around and call Theo…..
    – Too many July veteran trades……many free agents want to establish a home….not get shipped off several months later after they sign a contract….
    – Not getting that no-trade clause……..
    – Revolving door with Cubs Managers……
    – Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Angels, Giants, Dodgers, Tigers, Braves, Reds, Cardinals, Rays all offer more playing time in October for their players…….
    – Poor stadium facilities for players…..
    Sure we will sign that low risk player to fill in a certain position like back up catcher or that TJ injury pitcher looking for a roster spot…..but no Cano or Tanaka type of players coming this way……
    it is more likely that Samardzija will be traded before he reaches free agency,