Cubs Expected to Step-Up Process of Hiring a Manager

Weekend Update

The Cubs relieved Dale Sveum of his managerial duties nearly two weeks ago and the front office found out that Joe Girardi and his family preferred to stay in New York over accepting the challenge of managing the Cubs on Wednesday. So while the Cubs have reportedly talked to A.J. Hinch and Manny Acta about their managerial opening, the front office is expected to accelerate the process of hiring a manager in the coming week.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer spent a majority of last week in Arizona watching the top prospects in the system participate in the Instructional League and play in the Arizona Fall League.

When Epstein met with the media following Sveum’s dismissal he said the team would like to have the new manager in place by the time the GM Meeting’s begin on November 11. As reported by the Tribune, with Joe Girardi no longer in the picture, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer could expand their search past the three names that have surfaced as the leading candidates to be named the 53rd manager of the Chicago Cubs.

Many think A.J. Hinch and Manny Acta top the shortlist to manage the Cubs, but that simply may not be the case. Epstein and Hoyer have yet to interview Rick Renteria or ask the Rays for permission to speak with Dave Martinez. Jesse Rogers reported Sandy Alomar Jr. could still be an option, contradicting reports that he is not considered a candidate. Rogers added that the Cubs have not contacted Alomar Jr. according to his sources. Plus, there are two names that have been brushed off by the mainstream media … Tony Pena and Torey Lovullo.

According to Bruce Levine, Epstein and Hoyer could make a trip to San Diego to interview Rick Renteria this week.

Six Roster Moves and a Re-Signing

The Cubs made seven roster moves this past week, the first round of what should be many more this off-season.

The Cubs re-signed outfielder Ryan Sweeney to a two-year, $3.5 million contract that includes a club option worth $2.5 million for 2016 with a $500,000 buyout. Sweeney will be paid $1.5 million in 2014 and 2015. The re-signing of Ryan Sweeney will not prevent the Cubs from calling up outfielders such as Matt Szczur, Jorge Soler or Albert Almora when the front office feels they are ready for the big leagues.

The Cubs outrighted six players off the 40-man roster, which currently stands at 37 players, last week.

The Cubs activated RHP Rafael Dolis, RHP Zach Putnam and OF Thomas Neal from the 60-day DL then outrighted all three players to Triple-A Iowa. Dolis should stick with the organization but Putnam and Neal will likely elect free agency due to the fact they have already been outrighted during their career.

RHP Trey McNutt, catcher J.C. Boscan and OF Darnell McDonald were also outrighted off the 40-man roster to Triple-A Iowa. Boscan has already elected free agency and McDonald will as well. McNutt, like Dolis, has not been outrighted during his career and should remain in the Cubs’ system.

Minor Signings

According to Baseball America, the Cubs re-signed infielder Edgar Gonzalez and infielder/outfielder Jonathan Mota to minor league contracts.

The 35-year old Gonzalez played in 47 games for Iowa last year and hit .267/.309/.412/.721 with nine doubles and five home runs. Mota has been in the Cubs’ system since he was 18 years old. The now 26-year old utility man spent last season with Double-A Tennessee. In 109 games, Mota put together a .276/.348/.409 line that included 15 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and a .757 OPS. Mota played all four positions in the infield and both corner outfield spots last year.

News and Notes

According to the Tribune, the recent trip to Arizona provided Theo Epstein and his top evaluators a chance to assess some of the top talent in the organization to get a “better gauge of their progress in preparing for what could be an eventful off-season.”

Joel Sherman reported on Friday that he is hearing that the qualifying offer for team’s free agents will increase from $13.3 million to $14.1 million.

And last, but not least, Pearl Jam has partnered with Fox Sports and the network will include extensive use of 48 Pearl Jam songs across the promotional and music beds for their World Series coverage.

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax