Cubs Waiting for Torey Lovullo and Other News, Notes and Rumors

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

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

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.

Jorge Soler

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.

Comcast SportsNet posted a report on the State of the Cubs at third base … and another report on the State of the Cubs at shortstop.

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.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"What scares me is what scares you. We're all afraid of the same things." - John Carpenter

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  • Vivid_Reality

    I wouldn’t even hesitate to give Tiny Tim 2/20 or 2/30.

    • GaryLeeT

      I am also in that camp. Just use the money they were going to throw away on Samardzija.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I don’t invest in Shark… I don’t ever see him reaching his potential in Chicago. HE needs to go to Arizona or somewhere out west where he won’t be connected to NOtreDame.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Not me. And here’s why:

      Lincecum has been trying to “rebuild” value for two years now,
      and look at his numbers:
      2012.. he lead the league in starts, losses, wild pitches and ER allowed.
      His WHIP was a lousy 1.468. ERA=5.18 in a pitcher’s park, W-L was 10-15
      with a WS Championship team with a great bullpen.
      Don’t blame his teammates for his record.

      2013…trying again to rebuild value…on a 4th place team (76-86).
      10-14..4.37 ERA…1.315 WHIP…

      I think 2013 shows you the very best he can do now. Question:
      are you going to be happy with a $30 million dollar Shark?

      Comparo Shark to Lincecum 2013:
      WHIP….1.348 vs 1.315…fairly close
      ERA……4.34 vs. 4.37……very close
      W-L…..8-14 vs 10-14…… Lincecum had a better team, bullpen and ballpark behind him.

      I think 4th starters can be purchased cheaper than that.

      • GaryLeeT

        Now compare Cy Young awards. At least Lincecum has been, and pitched for, a winner. Maybe he’ll reinvent himself, or maybe he won’t, but it’s worth a chance. Luck, is about the only way a TOR pitcher makes his way onto the Cubs in the next 3 years.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I understand your point: he once was good, and that’s
          a better risk than someone who never had the talent to get
          a Cy Young.

          But that risk will come at a $30 million dollar price tag.
          And I don’t think he can come back and be anything more than
          a Scott Baker is at $6 million.

          But we’ll find out in 2014. If you are right, drop me a post and
          tell me “Rip, you were wrong about Lincecum.” : )

          • GaryLeeT

            I am not going to challenge your prognostications too many times. Most who visit here weren’t around, but I remember that you won the “Predict the Cub’s season record contest, 2 years in a row.

  • chipguy2030

    I believe that Dave Martinez would bring back FUN to Wrigley and to the team. With a team this young, its all about having fun and enjoying themselves!

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Only FUN the Cubs ownership are interested in is making $$$$$$$$.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        They’re losing hand over fist now so yes, they would love to make money. But they are huge Cubs fans and care deeply about the team having success and Wrigley being a tough ticket. It’s a slow process but you are wrong if you think Rickett’s doesn’t care about the team being successful. I doubt he’ll ever make a ton of money on the team and he knows it. He’s investing it all in the ballpark and debt now and once that’s over it will all go toward contracts. Can’t do both now as he’s not growing a money tree in the back yard. Debt and ballpark has to happen first to put the team in a place to run anywhere close to the black. They know this and aren’t in it to make money. They are in it to bring a winner to the northside.

    • cubtex

      You sound like a parent of an 8 year old little leaguer. Davey Martinez… Starlin how was your day? Starling… Went 0-3 and made an error. Davey…But did you have fun??? Starlin….I guess coach. Davey….Great…Just go out tonight and have a good time. Grab a good dinner, go out to a couple of clubs and have fun! See you back at the park tomorrow.

  • Ripken Boy

    Davey Martinez can help the young players on how to score with teammates wives

    • Ripsnorter1

      You would have to say that he ruined Sandberg’s career with that espisode.
      And yes, his wife is culpable, too.

      I don’t know why Team Theo would spend more than 1 nanosecond even
      thinking about hiring him. Especially when they say that they are interested
      in developing young players.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Let’s not hire a guy over something that happened 25 years ago…

        • cubtex

          said Bill Clinton

          • SuzyS

            “No cigar” :-)

          • 07GreyDigger

            Hey man. He may become the first “gentleman” next election. :)

          • cubtex

            bite your tongue! God help us all if that happens!

          • CubbyDenCritic

            Marshal Law….no elections in 2016.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Sadly, I agree with you.

          • TheWrongGuy

            Sorry to be against you on this greydigger. But myself being a serving 20 years in the Navy. I have knowledge that B. Clinton and any Democrat as president is VERY well hated throughout the military. 1) They take our money away now at their leisure. 2) Democrats also give almost zero pay raises. I think the best pay raise I saw from a democrat was from B. Clinton, $0.03. Republicans actually pay and use the military correctly, normally a $0.05 raise with Republicans, AND they never took our pay away.

          • cubtex

            agreed…but Neil does not like political talk on his site. I have a child in the military as well and I agree with everything you say.

          • TheWrongGuy

            Ok political talk “OVER”.
            Sorry Neil.

          • cubtex

            I apologize as well. I started it with the Bill Clinton reference

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Thank you.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Thank you for posting the reminder.

          • mutantbeast

            Agreed. My brother was USSS under the Clintons and said Hillary and Gore hated anyone with a uniform. They actually said Bill was fairly nice, but only because they snuck him junk food behind Hillarys back. My brother also said her own staff couldnt speak to her w/o her permission. Enuff said.

          • John_CC

            Come on! End this now!

    • TheWrongGuy

      I personally would like to see Davey Martinez be the next CUBS manager. But…

      I remember the previous manager search and one of the candidates spoke of how the interview process was and he didn’t make it.
      I also know many don’t like him as a candidate because of his history with an icon of the City of Chicago, Mr. Ryne Sandberg. My choice if I was to make would be Dave Martinez. But he opened his mouth about the interview process and this front office isn’t done interviewing candidates. So with that I feel he just removed himself from the list.

      So with that said I feel next choices in the mix are Renteria and Lovullo. There is something to be said for for Lovullo when Theo says he’ll wait till prior to the GM meetings to name his next manager. Knowing that the BoSox are in the playoffs.

      I would also like to note that last manager search also included a black person Demarlo Hale. He is now with the Jay’s as their 3rd base coach. Yet, Jed and Theo I don’t believe actually interviewed him they called it a respectful phone call interview.

      =)

    • CubbyDenCritic

      If I said that, I would had 10 down arrows.

      • cubtex

        No way Cubby Den. Closer to 20 would be about right :))

        • CubbyDenCritic

          Yeah, you are right….Tony H would be at his local Apple store going around pushing the down arrows.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Brian McCann would be a poor investment for the ChiCubs.

    I am inclined to agree with Mr. Symborski.

    “He already has 1,046 games behind the plate under his belt — or in the case of a catcher, on his knees — and the position tends to wear down players in their 30s. Only 26 other players in baseball history accumulated 900 games or more behind the plate before their age 30 season. Not counting Yadier Molina for obvious reasons, only nine of the 25 catchers on that list played 600 games at catcher over the rest of their career.”

    Hmmm. That gives him a 36% chance of playing 600 more games as a catcher.
    How about those 9 who did play 600+ games? How did they do?

    “Even among those survivors, most of those catchers did not age gracefully. Gary Carter’s last year as a force was at age 32 and his knees were shot after nine surgeries. Jason Kendall bounced back well from a gruesome ankle injury, but was done as an underrated star by age 30. Time caught up with Bill Dickey at 32 and Benito Santiago, a four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, spent his 30s as a journeyman stopgap.”

    How about playing him at 1B? NO

    “The idea that a team could move him to first base or designated hitter later on isn’t even a consolation. Mauer and Posey both have enough offensive value to play other positions, with a career OPS+ of 136 and 144 respectively. McCann is at 117 for his career (115 in 2013), so even if he holds up physically behind the plate for three or four years, he’s likely to be a below-average 1B/DH by that point (all first basemen, including backups, had a collective OPS+ of 116 this year).”

    • John_CC

      It’s hard to believe these guys can even walk at age 45.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yup.

  • K_Gripp

    Given what we’ve heard from the FO about signing FAs and how much they seem to like Castillo behind the plate can somebody tell me why Brian McCann is linked to the Cubs? There is a laundry list of reasons the Cubs would not be interested and a short list of why they would.

    • TheWrongGuy

      The only reason I can see why the CUBS are being linked to MCCann is because he is a catcher and Jed has already said that catching throughout the organization is a need area.
      It is definitely a head scratcher. Why would McCann want to sign with the CUBS?

      • Ripsnorter1

        I can give you 100 million reasons…..
        : )

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Story out of Tampa had McCann signing with the Cubs, and Baez & Castillo going to Tampa for Price………..not going to happen.

      • John_CC

        That is the most ridiculous rumor yet. That would be the exact opposite of The Plan, sign an old past his prime player for way too much money and then trade away your #1 prospect for a one year rental pitcher.

      • K_Gripp

        The Price rumor. As much as I would like to have him on my team I dont think the Cubs are going to give up Bryant, Almora, or Baez and I think that is what it would take. I would love to see a surprise trade or two this winter that would put us in a position to contend for a playoff spot next year.

      • mutantbeast

        Please NO. Baez is looking like an impact bat. Price is showing signs of overuse and starting to lose velocity, and hes not even 30 yet.

    • jtrain23

      I’ve seen this several times and it makes less sense than the Choo rumor. I wouldve frowned on spending that much money and that many years on McCann when he was younger, more productive, and healthy. It would be a disaster now.

      Surely the F.O would not drag us through the gutter and fire sale our team repetitively in the name of rebuilding only to sign more inflated contracts for overvalued aging players and to trade our stud prospects for aging, declining arms. I refuse to believe it.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Believe only what your eyes see, and not what your ears hear.

        For instance, Dale Sveum has a winning percentage of .392,
        the 2nd losingest manager in Cubs’ history (min. 100 games). Believe that.

        Here’s something harder to believe: the two worst managers in Cubs’ history are
        Sveum and Joey Amalfitano (.366), and I lived to watch both of these guys do their
        thing.

        Amalfitano left the Cubs (fired as manager) to coach 3B for the Dodgers for
        16 years. He was born 1934, and still works for the SF Giants as a special asst. for
        player development.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I don’t think Scott Baker should command a great deal of money.

    Age: 32
    2013: 15 IP…6 K….not looking like a strikeout machine, is he?

    Even when healthy, his career WHIP is 1.258, ERA = 4.14.

    Here’s a 4th starter for the Cubs on the…..less expensive than Tim Lincecum.
    He’s a step down from Lincecum in his prime, but Lincecum is no longer in his prime.
    I think they are probably the same pitchers now.

    • SuzyS

      I agree that both Lincecum and McCann would not be good fits with the Cubs…Rip, thanks for providing the statistical basis for a no vote.
      However, I pretty much had discounted them to begin with.
      There is only one reason to sign Lincecum…and a lesser FO might bite on him…Name Value…to put fans in the seats.
      But, I think Theo/Hoyer are smarter than that.

    • cubtex

      Scott Baker is Kevin Tapani reincarnated.

      • SuzyS

        Hey, I liked Kevin Tapani!…and I liked the early Scott Baker

        • Ripsnorter1

          I agree with Cubtex…Tapani won 19-9 in 1998…with 4.85 ERA.
          He was usually good for a 9-14 Shark-like record.

          If he’s cheap enough, that’s all you can expect from Lincecum with
          this Cubs’ offense.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Agreed. Or John Lieber…

      • mutantbeast

        How many games did Tapani win with the 98 Cubs? 17?

        • Ripsnorter1

          19-9 record. 4.85 era.

    • mutantbeast

      Baker should be this years Feldman.

  • SuzyS

    Regarding Lovullo…It speaks volumes that Theo is going to wait on decisions until after Lovullo is free to interview. Teams love to hire coaches/managers involved with the WS.
    Lovullo has also been linked to the Detroit short list of managerial candidates…and I’m thinking Mattingly has talked himself out of a job. Lovullo might be a hot commodity after the series.
    If you had a choice to manage between the Tigers, Dodgers, and Cubs right now…who would you choose?

    • cubtex

      Is that really a serious question Suzy? I am not trying to be a smart a##….but if you had a choice of 2 all star rosters with both teams having the core coming back and another team who many feel will lose 90 games again? Is that really a choice?

    • cubtex

      To expand on that Suzy… I really think the Tigers job and the Dodgers job(if Mattingly does not come back) will both be filled by veteran managers. That would be tough(imo) to hire a manager with those teams without any mlb managerial experience. Both those teams are setup to win now and have veteran clubhouses.

      • SuzyS

        It was a rhetorical question, Cubtex.
        And I agree…the Tigers and Dodgers are both in the hunt for the World Series with the horses and egos that would require some experience.

        • John_CC

          Yep. Looks like Dusty is in good position to throw his experience around. And you see him already campaigning for the Tigers job?

          • SuzyS

            :-)…Experience is one thing…then there is Dusty:-)

          • John_CC

            Yeah…I just don’t get it, I don’t get Dusty. He might actually fit best with Detroit as they are a veteran team that needs to win now. And we know he can’t over-pitch Verlander.

            He’d lose control of the Dodgers, the Nats are too young, he wouldn’t trust them.

          • Ripsnorter1

            IF the Tigers are win now, why do they want to hire a loser manager
            like Dusty Baker? He destroys pitching staffs; plays his buddies; destroys
            the young players; favors vets over rookies–regardless of talent level; has absolutely
            no comprehension about the proper management of the game; does not match
            players to situations in which they will succeed. In fact, the only thing he does well is
            tell the players, “I’ll get you the money.” So they like Dusty. But he doesn’t know how to win.

      • jtrain23

        I agree as well. And I hope this is correct. Because I feel that the Cubs will get the best value by going the way they are now. It will be hard to get a quality candidate that has experience and success elsewhere. I will be very happy if I do not hear the names of Martinez and Lovullo spoken in regards to the Tigers or Dodgers job if they are open.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      It would be Hollywood for me Suzie.
      In N Out Burger, San Monica Pier, Palm Trees, Playboy Mansion, Good Looking Babes & Movie Stars.

      • STLCubsFan

        Just had In N Out Burger for the first time when I went to Texas for a wedding. Gotta love that Animal Style!

        • cubtex

          Not terribly impressed with In N Out. Next time you are in Austin…..go to Mighty Fine Burgers! Now that is a good burger place!

          • STLCubsFan

            Thanks Cubtex I’ll have to give it a shot next time!

    • TheWrongGuy

      And everyone laughed at me when I placed Mattingly’s name in the mix before. Yet now he seems to be looking for a new job.
      Lloyd McClendon might have the inside track for the job in Detroit though.
      Who know’s LA is trying to play out there. Mattingly is obviously not playing with them and wants a guarantee for 2014 and beyond.

      • Ripsnorter1

        The knock on Mattingly is that he doesn’t know how to manage
        a baseball team.

        DUH!

        He’ll get fired because LA wants to win next year. They’ve got a lot invested.
        They want to get a return on that investment.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Agreed Rip, Mattingly is moe flash than substance.

    • mutantbeast

      Want my guess-You have Verlander, Scherzer, Fielder and Miggy in Motown. Who wouldnt want to have that?

    • STLCubsFan

      Speaking of Mattingly, is there any reason why there has been very little talks about the Cubs going after him for the managerial search? He has managerial experience, has been in various coaching roles since 2003, and has been involved with two other big market teams in the Yankees and Dodgers.

      Not saying he is the right choice, just looking for more info on why he has not been openly considered more.

      • Ripsnorter1

        What I’ve read is that he cannot actually manage a baseball team during a baseball game.
        He does alright getting people on their flights to the next city, and he’s personable, but he’s a
        complete simpleton when making moves in a game.

        • STLCubsFan

          Thanks Rip!

          I just saw how he may be seeing his last season in Dodgerland so I figured I would ask. Yeah, if he can’t properly manage an All-Star lineup, then I wouldn’t want him managing a young, developing team.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    There are three teams without managers better then the Cubs……Theo can only offer “hope” to the next manager…………90 loses or Playoffs in 2014……what would you choose if you are offered a job?……..whoever is the next Cubs manager, will be fired within 3 years.

  • DWalker

    Soler is saying the right things, and I am glad hes found someone to help him adapt to the US. I think in a way though, whats aid about Almora is actually just as interesting as Soler. I have a feeling he and Almora are going to pull each other along, and that could make a really potent combo in the OF someday, not just on their individual skills.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Soler, Almora & Jiminez……sounds good.

      • mutantbeast

        Sonds like a law firm. Sounds better as the 3-4-5 hitters in the lineup.

    • cubtex

      I looked at video of Soler’s swing. He has a lot of movement with his hands. That goes along with some of the scouts who are saying that he is trying to kill every pitch. Hopefully he will quiet those hands and not drop them so much as he gets more coaching.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        every player is different……lets just let these guys do their own thing……would tell Joe Morgan stop twitching his back arm while at bat?

        • cubtex

          pre bat routine is different than dropping his hands on his load.

        • cubtex

          Click on that link that Neil has above and look at Soler’s swing. Uppercut swing and drops his hands. Will be susceptible to high fastballs and will hit a lot of fly balls. If I would guess….his sweet spot is the low inside fastball.

        • Ripsnorter1

          That “twitch” was to remind Joe Morgan to keep his elbow out, ie, it
          served a purpose.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Soler has a lot to prove. He’s not a sure thing.

        • SuzyS

          No, but the BA article indicates he’s coachable and learning.
          With Almora to egg him on…I

          wouldn’t bet against him.
          I like his chances.

        • cubtex

          If I had to rank the top 4 prospects as safest to riskiest…Soler to me has the most risk.

          • cc002600

            agree. and Bryant will be the best of them.

            I think he will contribute as soon as he comes up. I see him as being very polished

          • cubtex

            I think Baez has the highest ceiling but also a lower floor than Bryant.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I feel like Almora has the highest risk in my opinion. He’s got a lot of those “projectable” areas. Reminds of Vitters. He was “projectable.” And he never met them either.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Let’s talk Almora….and some others who were also age 19 in A ball.
            Pick out Almora’s line below:

            .329/.376/.466
            .311/.390/.421
            .260/.344/.352
            .260/.350/.435

            Yup. He’s the top line. And the next lines are the stats for
            Ryne Sandberg,
            Miguel Cabrera, and
            Matt Holliday.

            Almora looks like he had a nice start. BTW, the AB numbers are similar
            for every player, except Holliday. He actually had about 250
            more PA than the others.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I’m not saying he isn’t a good prospect, but I don’t feel he’s a true five tool prospect.

            Here’s a description I found on Baseball Prospect Nation, “Lacks power now but has room in frame for added strength and increase power output. Generally projects for average home run power with plenty of doubles. Swing doesn’t have tons of bat speed or loft, but both could increase in time. Power could end up weakest tool down the road, but still approach average.”

            That whole “has room in frame for added strength and increased power output.” is what gets me. Projectable stats = risk to me.

            I bet he ends up more like Michael Bourn than Adam Jones.

          • John_CC

            If he can be .300/.400/.800 hitter with gap and doubles power that would be the best leadoff or #2 hitter the Cubs have had since…Dernier and Ryno?

            He doesn’t have the speed Bourne does, but is a far better hitter.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Again, let me say I don’t think he’ll be a bad player persay. Not being Adam Jones, but being a Michael Bourn is pretty high praise I think.

            But when you factor in “projectables,” as your prospect rankings, you really don’t know what you’re going to get.

            No doubt Almora can hit and field, but how much power is he going to have? Remember when they told us Felix Pie would hit for power someday?

            That’s all I mean. (Let me say again, I’m not comparing him to Felix Pie at all. Let’s hope he’s way better than that turd.)

          • Ripsnorter1

            If he ends up as either Michael Bourn or Adam Jones, then
            Theo had a great draft, because both are starting everyday MLB players.
            And that’s a rarity.

            Nice post on the scouting report, which I concur with.
            He’s just 19, and still a growing boy. He’ll develop.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Jacoby Ellsbury would be a comp…

          • John_CC

            Really? By most accounts Almora is the most polished player of them all except probably Bryant. The kid is only 19 and has said to be the best defensive player in the system. His hit “tool” is off the charts. To me he is actually the surest bet.

            But I guess that’s the whole point of prospect ranking (guessing).

          • Eugene Debs

            Brett Jackson had tools off the charts, too. That being said, I hope Almora is the real deal. He’s certainly off to a promising start.

        • DWalker

          No question, Soler has a lot farther to go than we all hoped, and this year was not a big step forward, and I won’t argue one bit that he is the riskiest of the four right now. thats why I am glad theres someone close to him like almora, who is going to be under the same pressures, but also can push him on and help him and possibly advance at a similer rate. Ideally, it goes both ways. Soler actually sounds like he is trying to be coachable and will listen, which is more than can be said for a lot of top prospects.

    • mutantbeast

      Best thing about there friendship is Almora is reputed to have strong personal character. Soler should benefit in his transition to the States with Almoras help.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    So we Soler, Almora and ?????? in the outfield by 2015……..who will be the third OF?……
    Lake?……Baez?……Bryant?…….BJax?……Scuzur?……………and then we have Jiminez and Hammermann also by 2017……….
    my take is Lake will be here for awhile before the big guns arrive……..I still have hope in BJax ……and Scuzur could be a surprise……….only time will tell.

    • Ripsnorter1

      The third OF will be…..(drum roll, please)……..

      BRETT JACKSON!!!!

      LOL

      • SuzyS

        Stranger things have happened…I always considered Barney a good back-up. Never in a million years did I think he would start for us for 2 years.

        • Ripsnorter1

          He never should have started. This year he put in the 8th worst
          season by a 2nd basemen in the history of MLB.

          Let’s see…how many years has that been? 1876 to 2013 = 137 years…..

  • John_CC

    Good stuff Neil, nice to read something more than the tedious reporting about the manager speculation.

    I think/hope that by having Almora as sort of mentor to living in the US and a role model could be the difference with Soler. It was clear before Soler’s remark about how the game is different in Cuba by the way Puig and Cespedes have played on occasion. I really hope that Soler can learn the “respect” for the game, i.e. learn to play every ball hard, hustle, make every play, etc. Almora is the golden-boy of playing “the right way” with his intense dedication and work ethic. This little tidbit about them being inseparable made me happy.

    No way in hell Choo or McCann come to Chicago. They will both become yet another model of why FA veteran signings are a bad way to go.

    Now Lincecum on the other hand…this is a prime example of what Epstein wants. I hope they go get him.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Just taking a poll……which player has the highest ranking that you would want…..Soler, Puig or Cespedes?

    • Ripsnorter1

      No question: Puig.

      Soler: maybe not even a MLB player.
      Cespedes: .240 BA with .294 OBP in 2013. Mr. Hall would tell you he’s not worth a hoot–
      if his name was Alfonso Soriano. Otherwise he might be considered a stud…..
      He’s 28, and teams have learned how to pitch to him.

      Puig: he’s simply a young stud with more to give. 22 years old, and his
      best years are ahead of him. No question at all: give me Puig!

      • DWalker

        I’ll agree, but I have a feeling Puig won’t be the golden boy he was this year. He’ll be good, but he’ll have a sophmore slump that he is going to have to work out of as they learn to pitch to him. Soler might be an all star someday and the better player, but he has a long way to go to get there, and right now its not even a sure thing he makes the majors. So yeah, Puig.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        So Soler is not a MLB player…..Wow
        I hope he is or that is another Theo mistake.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I said, “He MIGHT NOT even be a MLB player.”

          Here’s some things that just have to change or he won’t make it:
          Taking a baseball bat into the other team’s dugout, etc…
          Average performance on the field.
          Losing his temper, etc.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Puig is very good, but he does turn off team mates & umpires. Lets see what a full year brings to him. Dodgers have produced guys like Raul Mondesi and Pedro Gurrero who started off hot and then fizzled.

  • mutantbeast

    Id leave Lincecum alone. He stunk pitching half his games in ATT park , Petco or Chavez Ravine? This isnt the 2009 Lincecum were talking about, this is the Tiny Tim with arm problems who cant generate power from his freaky delivery anymore. Let someone else have him.

    • John_CC

      Good points. I remember all the articles about how he never iced his arm etc. Well…

      I think seriously think Seattle should take a shot on him. Big park, legalized marijuana, the Freak can go back to his old pre and post-game routine that obviously had a positive effect on him.

  • Denver Mike

    I was listening to a report from Jesse Rogers on the radio over lunch and it doesn’t sound like the scouts down at the AZL are very high on Soler. I can’t say I was listening too closely, but the jist of it was that he is a bit lackadaisical like someone who has already been paid, and his overall approach at the plate hasn’t been very impressive. If I were to rank our “top 4″ in terms of most likely to succeed at the ML level, at this point it would be:

    Bryant
    Baez
    Almora
    Soler

    …and I almost think Alcantera. Johnson, and Vogelbach have as good if not a better chance of success than Soler from what I have read.

    I’m not basing this off of one radio report, but taking all things into consideration (contract pressures, age/immaturity, acclimation to the US game, leg injuries, past disciplinary history) I would say he is very far from a sure thing.

    • SuzyS

      Soler was in a walking boot for 3 months…according to his coaches he’s not even in baseball shape because of it…and is just now starting to come around.
      He’s 20…with a 30 million contract.
      He needs to stay healthy and play consistently for a year or 2 before we can get a real idea of what he’ll be.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Real idea I get from Soler so far is…he is Millionaire!

      • Dorasaga

        Conflicting reports. I love it! One linked by Neil mentioned Soler’s better build; upper body.

    • SuzyS

      Regarding your statement “Alcantra, Johnson, …etc”. That’s really the cool thing about our

      farm…There are many guys that “might” step up….Arizona Phil said that Hanneman reminded him of a young Johnny Damon if he could get his obp up.
      If one or 2 of the big four don’t make it…I’m pretty confident that someone else in the system will.

      • Tom U

        There have been a lot of Damon and Jacoby Ellsbury comparisons to Jacob Hannemann.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I agree, we have several future big leaguers in the system not named Almora, Baez, Olt, Bryant or Soler.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Once you said you heard it from “Jesse Rogers”, I stopped there.

      • Denver Mike

        What a clown … I’ll stop there.

        • CubbyDenCritic

          so I amuze you…..I make you laugh…..I am funny…..
          great movie scene by Joe P.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    These new Soler observations is bumming me out…..makes you wonder who else has been pumped up of what they are not set out to be in our system…….Theo spent millions on this guy……….was Boras his agent?….if so, another buy high, sell low player from him……..I did hear great reports on Hannermann…..hopefully he is on the fast track………….well lets hope everyone is wrong on Soler and we see him next September.

    • cubtex

      nobody is saying he is a bust yet. you never know with young kids. he could turn out to be the best of all the 4. you never know until they get to the majors.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Time will tell.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Would anyone trade Rizzo for Billy Butler straight up?
    I might.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I’d do it right now.

      Butler can hit both LHP and RHP.
      He can play every day.
      He’s only had one year with an OPS under .800.

      Players he’s most similar to at age 27…
      Will Clark, Raffy Palmeiro, Yaz, Baines, Hrbeck, Keith Hernandez, Olerud,
      Markekis. Everyone an All-Star.

      YES!

    • Sonate

      No. We don’t have the DH in the NL and Butler has an iron glove at first. What he adds offensively he’ll take away defensively. Also, he’s 3 years older than Rizzo.

    • Eugene Debs

      There are real concerns with Rizzo.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Rays looking at Cubs, Dodgers and Rangers farm system for David Price…… I have faith that both the Rangers & Dodgers will out bid us in prospects……Price has always wanted to be a Dodger……
    Looks like Samardzija doesn’t not want to stay here, so he will be moved by next July for sure…..I like to see pitching prospects in return…….
    Has Vizcaino thrown yet?…..or Bard?
    Tom U. & Neil, do the Cubs leave Arizona with 10, 11 or 12 pitchers next year?…….22 pitchers now on 40 man roster…….3 of them will be let go in a few days from now….my guess on 2014 pitching staff will be….
    Samardzija
    Wood
    Jackson
    Arietta
    Villanueva
    Cabrera
    Russell
    Strop
    Grimm
    Rosscupp
    Rusin

    • SuzyS

      Vizcaino and Bard have both been throwing in Az….per Arizona Phil.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Make a Garza like trade, and skunk ‘em again:

      Give ‘em Vizcaino. He’s hurt and fragile. No loss to us.
      Schilter. He’s Laddie Renfroe: AAA player.
      Russell: he’s simply a left handed one out guy. Let him go.
      Rusin. Rosscupp. Grimm. Let ‘em have ‘em all.

      Clears up roster space…..

      • CubbyDenCritic

        You got to be Schilter me if you think the Rays would accept any of these players for Price………..
        If I was the Rays GM, I would want the following players for Price……
        Edwards
        Alcantara
        Almora
        Underwood
        Vogelbach
        &
        Russell
        I did see a story recently that said the Rays still got the best of the Garza trade by getting Archer and Hak-Ju Lee…..even what we got from Texas for Garza.
        And if Theo did make this type of trade, he would want Price to sign a long term contract, plus one of Rays top prospects.

  • Dorasaga

    Neil, nice touch for the quote of the day. Just so we won’t miss this one as of Tuesday, 10/22:

    “Baseball’s future? Bigger and bigger, better and better! No question about it, it’s the greatest game there is.” – Ted Williams

    We could have said that about football in the 1970s, basketball in 1990s, and soccer as of now. Many things changed since Ted left us this century. Baseball was out from the Olympics, and hence out of concern for many countries. We got a Black president. The financial crisis of the world went on since 2008. Life for young adults just graduated seems less assuring than any American generation before them.

    Yet, we know what? The game is still growing, and we still love it. Maybe more diversity can distract us, but the game has not ceased its popularity. Nothing’s guaranteed for the rest of a century, but hey, we might see the Cubs back in the World Series again. We can still afford to keep the bar high. The positive attitude for this game by itself is worth a celebration.

    Cheers! One pint for Harry, and another for Cubs Win!

    • SuzyS

      Here, here…I’ll drink to that toast…at least a cup of hot cocoa…it’s cold and nasty here in Chicagoland.

      • cc002600

        Suz, you bring up something indirectly that drives me nuts.
        I think its ridiculous that the World Series, your showcase event, starts this late in the season. Just look at the weather that these 2 teams will have to endure this year. (not too mention the fans) This is NOT baseball weather, and not the way the game should be played. Baseball is not meant to be played in 30-35 degrees. We have seen this before. To me, it is soooo stupid.
        They should be done with the WS by mid-October, the way it used to be.

        Here’s how you do it – schedule 3 or 4 day-night DH’s for each team, eliminate a few off-days, and expand the roster by 1 or 2 players to handle the additional workload from a pitching standpoint. Then you can start the playoffs maybe 10 days earlier than you do now.
        This doesn’t guarantee good weather, but it increases your chances of having at least decent weather.

        • SuzyS

          I agree,cc002600, it’s been a problem with baseball for a long time. Something should be worked out rwegarding this….After all…they are called the “Boys of Summer”.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tim Lincecum agreed to 2-year deal through 2015, pending physical with the Giants this afternoon.

    • Aaron Fox

      Can’t believe the $$ amount given his regression over the last two years.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      2 years for $35 Million……
      Garza will want $110 million for 6 years.

  • Rick Barkan

    Just curious where was this Torey Lovullo before the Cubs signed BIG MISTAKE Dale Sveum

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Not in the mind set of Theo….that is for sure.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        That is absolutely not for sure…just sayin.

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  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I love Ausmus as the next Cubs manager. I also love that Almora and Soler are buddied up. Seems like a good fit for Soler. Can’t wait until Almora, Soler, Baez and Bryant are in Chicago. Odds are that at best 3 of 4 make it but I’m holding out hope all 4 become stars.

  • Ripsnorter1

    So SF threw away $35 million….ON Lincecum.

    “Oddly enough, this is a $35 million bet on sabermetrics by a franchise that routinely dismisses the value of sabermetrics. Usually I’m happy to bet on sabermetrics. This time? I’m really glad it’s not my money.”

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Good chance some where along the line, you have gave into Lincecum salary……
      ticket sales
      mlb merchandise sales
      concession sales
      team revenue sharing
      parking
      entertainment tax
      tv / radio / cable contracts
      advertisement
      so if you or others saw a MLB game in person or on tv, or bought a product that is advertised at a game while Lincecum been with San Fran, we all did help pay his salary.

  • jtrain23

    On a side note (a bit depressing), there have been some 45 people to coach games for the Cubs since their last W.S. appearance (including the infamous “College of Coaches”). Only four that are credited with managing more than 5 games have a winning percentage of over .500. The top? Lou Piniella at .519. List the other three.

    • Ripsnorter1

      What?
      El Tappe was 2-0 in 1961 (“college”of coaches).
      Harry Craft was 3-1 in the same year.
      Leo Durocher was .504 winner. And he lost 100 games his first year.
      Jim Frey was .519.
      Don ZImmer was .507.
      Jim Lefevre was .500.

      • SuzyS

        God, I forgot about Jim Lefevre.

      • jtrain23

        As I stated, a minimum of 5 games on their record and a winning percentage of over .500.

        So, yes. The other three were Zimmer, Frey, and Durocher.

        • Ripsnorter1

          You are right. I didn’t read it carefully enough.
          I read “five managers” instead of “four.”

          Thanks!

          • jtrain23

            Not a big deal. I put a lot of specifics on it. I was just marveling at the sheer number of managers (even discounting the College of Coaches) and the lack of success for any length of time more than 2-3 years.

          • jtrain23

            By the way, we have just experienced the single worst two year span in Cubs history. So, if the Cubs used this same philosophy now, would it be called the High School/Middle School/even Kindergarten of Coaches? I digress.

          • Dorasaga

            At least they got good coaches down the Minor to tout one of the better farm systems in the league–as far as I’m concerned!