The Cubs’ fans that are hoping for a seven-game Fall Classic might want to root for a Boston four-game sweep instead. According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs are going to wait for a chance to interview Red Sox’s bench coach Torey Lovullo for the managerial opening. Peter Gammons reported the Cubs talked to Lovullo briefly about the Cubs job but would wait until after Boston’s season ended before asking for permission to discuss their managerial opening further with Lovullo.
Paul Sullivan reported that Lovullo is honored his name has come up for the Cubs’ job but said he has not been contacted by the front office. Torey Lovullo has an incredible level of respect for Theo Epstein and thinks “it is just a matter of time before things really start to come together with the Cubs.”
John Farrell described Lovullo as a “manager-in-waiting” and thinks he will be a good big league manager. Farrell indicated that Lovullo has “been integral to the success” in Boston this season.
Patrick Mooney reported the front office will use this week “to continue doing background work on candidates, and make follow-up calls.” And a “mystery” managerial candidate is a possibility, as expected.
According to the Sun-Times, Mike Maddux is not a candidate at this time to manage the Cubs. Gordon Wittenmyer shot down a report out of Dallas that indicated the Cubs had asked the Rangers for permission to talk to Mike Maddux.
The Cubs’ front office now has a little more competition in their managerial search. The Cubs are further away from contending than other teams that are looking to hire a manager. With Jim Leyland not returning to the dugout in Detroit and Don Mattingly’s future in Los Angeles unclear at best, the Tigers and Dodgers join the Nationals as teams that will be playing for a division title next season. Bryan Price is expected to be named Cincinnati’s new manager on Tuesday while Dusty Baker is reportedly interested in the Tigers’ job and could be a fit with the Dodgers as well. But from all indications the Cubs are very interested in Torey Lovullo, and Brad Ausmus’ name has surfaced again as a possibility according to Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman … and both Lovullo and Ausmus are thought to be on Detroit’s shortlist to replace Leyland.
While it is possible, it is very unlikely the Cubs will name a new manager on Tuesday. And if Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer wait to name their next manager, as expected, the announcement will likely not be made until November … which falls within the timeline that Epstein set when Dale Sveum was dismissed more than three weeks ago.
Dave Martinez is optimistic about his chances to be the Cubs’ next manager according to the Tampa Bay Times. Martinez told Marc Topkin on Saturday that he thought the meeting with the Cubs’ brass on Thursday went “really well.”
Martinez “talked extensively with top team officials, including going over potential moves after watching video clips.” The interview included game preparation and situations. Martinez even met with Tom Ricketts “briefly.” Martinez indicated the Cubs would keep him informed on their next step and get back to him soon. Martinez had not heard from the Cubs’ front office as of Sunday night.
According to Mark Gonzales, Martinez played up his strengths and tried to maximize the opportunity he had last Thursday. Gonzales reported that Martinez told the Cubs’ front office “he envisioned himself as their manager.”
Patrick Mooney reported that Martinez “would be a bold outside-the-box hire.”
Brian McCann is in line to land a large contract this off-season. According to Jon Heyman, early guesses that McCann could sign a $100 million contract “might be a bit ambitious” but with a large number of big market teams searching for a catcher he might reach that mark.
The Cubs have been mentioned as a possible destination for McCann, along with the Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers, Angels and Blue Jays.
Brian McCann turns 30 on February 20 and is coming off a .256/.336/.461 season with the Braves that included 13 doubles, 20 home runs, 57 RBI and a .796 OPS in a career-low 102 games. Most think McCann is a better fit with an American League team so he can finish his last long-term deal at first base or as a DH.
Baseball America recently spoke with Jorge Soler, with help from Albert Almora, and BA asked the question, could Soler be the next impact Cuban hitter?
The 21-year old Soler told Baseball America, through his translator Albert Almora, he learned “a valuable lesson about how to respect the game” from his bat-wielding incident and his lack of hustle running to first base that cost him playing time before a broken left tibia ended his season in June.
According to BA, Soler has had a hard time adjusting to the American game. Soler explained, “Baseball here is completely different. It’s calmer here but it’s more organized, and you respect the game a lot more here than you do over there.”
Brian Harper, Iowa’s hitting coach, is Soler’s hitting coach this fall with the Solar Sox. Harper explained Soler is not in baseball shape right now, his legs are not under him after spending three months in a boot. Soler spent time working on his upper body and is reportedly bigger than he was in the spring.
Soler has shown improvement in a short time with the Solar Sox as he gets back into baseball shape.
Albert Almora and Soler have “been like brothers since they reported to the Cubs minor league facility within weeks of each other in July of 2012.” Almora is also helping Soler adjust to living in the States, which is “completely different from the lifestyle in Cuba.”
Almora said that he and Soler are very close, they “do everything together” and have a “great relationship.” Almora’s parents and Soler’s father are in Arizona right now but Soler’s father is expected to leave soon. Once he does, Soler will stay with Almora so they can take care of him in his father’s absence.
News, Notes and Rumors
Former Cubs’ bench coach Jamie Quirk was in the mix for the Rangers’ bench coach job but Texas went another direction and hired former Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar to fill the position. Bogar was rumored to be on the list of managerial candidates to land the Cubs’ job two years ago and some thought the front office would interview Bogar again.
Jesse Rogers sat down with Kris Bryant and posted the interview on ESPN Chicago.
The national media has mentioned the Cubs as a possible destination for Shin-Soo Choo, but Choo figures to be paid more than Jayson Werth (seven years, $126 million). Between his age and possible contract demands, Choo does not appear to fit into the Cubs’ plans this off-season. But according to Jon Heyman, the Astros could be in play for Choo this winter.
And last, but not least … while he has not been connected to the Cubs yet this off-season, Tim Lincecum is seeking a short-term deal this winter to rebuild his value. Lincecum and the Cubs’ front office might have a foundation to sign a contract on.