The Skipper Search Continues and Other Cubs News and Notes

The search for the Cubs next skipper enters day seven on Wednesday, it has been exactly one week since the front office lost out on their first choice to some team in the Big Apple. Over the last ten-plus days the Cubs have interviewed A.J. Hinch, Manny Acta and Rick Renteria. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Randy Bush are scheduled to meet with Dave Martinez this week in Chicago.

Some have put Renteria and Martinez above Hinch and Acta at this point of the process, but the Cubs could be waiting to interview Torey Lovullo before making their decision on who will be the 53rd manager of the Chicago Cubs.

One thing is certain, the Cubs will have a new manager for the fourth time in five years, and Starlin Castro, who has only been in the league since 2010, will be playing for his fourth different skipper.

While the focus has been on the managerial search, and the MLB playoffs, there has been quite a bit of minor league news over the past couple of days … including Kris Bryant being named Co-Player of the Week in the Arizona Fall League.

Arizona Fall League

So far so good for the Cubs’ prospects in the Arizona Fall League and the big three left quite an impression on Keith Law. Albert Almora, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler “all look great right now” and Soler is “visibly bigger and stronger” than when Law saw him last year. Law pointed out that Soler “looked the most improved of the three, but that is also a function of how advanced the other guys were coming into the fall.”

Albert Almora played centerfield and hit leadoff for the Solar Sox on Tuesday. Almora went 2-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI, a walk and a run scored. Almora is 8-for-14 in the three games he’s played in with three doubles, one triple, one home run and one walk with one strikeout (.571/.600/.1.143/1.743).

Jorge Soler was Mesa’s designed hitter on Tuesday and racked up another double in five at bats. Soler is 5-for-26 in five games with three doubles, no walks and six strikeouts (.192/.192/.308/.500).

Armando Rivero surrendered his first run of the fall on Tuesday. Rivero, who could contend for a spot in the Cubs’ pen in Spring Training, has allowed one run on three hits in three appearances (three games) with no walks and three strikeouts (3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant had a pretty good first week in the Arizona Fall League and he was awarded with Co-Player of the Week honors on Tuesday.

Bryant hit .500 with two home runs and seven RBI in the first week of the AFL and he finished with a .444/.450/.833 line after four games. Bryant went 8-for-18 with five runs scored, one double, two home runs, eight RBI, one walk and two strikeouts. For those scoring at home, his OPS was 1.283. Bryant committed an error and played three of his four games at third base, the other game he served as the Solar Sox’s DH. Bryant has been working on his defense at the hot corner and he feels he has made progress. Bryant is expected to see playing time in the outfield during the AFL season, but he will remain at third base when camp begins in February.

Keith Law was impressed with Bryant and said he squared up 97 mph fastballs “like it was 87 mph” and he showed “huge raw power in BP.”

‘Easy’ Edwards

C.J. Edwards, or the ‘String Bean Slinger’ which has been his nickname since high school, made quite an impression in a short amount of time in the Cubs’ system. Edwards has been compared to Satchel Paige and Oil Can Boyd due to his 6-foot-3, 165 pound frame.

Tom Ricketts, Jed Hoyer, Randy Bush, Jason McLeod, Brandon Hyde and Kerry Wood were on hand for Edwards’ playoff debut with the Daytona Cubs and he impressed the Cubs’ brass. After Edwards struck out the first four batters he faced, seven of the first 10 and eight total in five innings on the night, Hoyer and Wood used the same word to describe Edwards’ velocity according to Baseball AmericaEasy.

Baseball America posted a fantastic report on C.J. Edwards that is more than recommended reading.

The Cubs view this winter as a key off-season for Edwards’ development. Edwards was the piece the Cubs insisted on in the trade for Matt Garza and he could end up a big part of the Cubs’ future. Dave Keller’s quote about the young hurler says it all. According to Keller, “You can tell he doesn’t just want to be a pitcher in the big leagues. He wants to be somebody who makes a difference.”

“Hit the mitt, C.J.! Hit the mitt!” That certainly has a Wrigley chant written all over it.

Cubs Mesa Complex

Construction on the Cubs’ new facility is nearly complete and it is scheduled to open on December 1. Photos have surfaced, most notably from Tim Sheridan, and the facility looks impressive as promised. The Cubs are scheduled to have a mini camp at the new facility on November 1.

The unnamed complex is 140 acres and will seat 14,000-15,000 per game on the main field that has the same dimensions as Wrigley Field.

The Cubs will use the facility year around and the players will benefit from the 70,000 square-foot player development building, which is the largest in the Cactus League. And for the first time, when Spring Training begins in February both the Major League and minor league players will be in the same facility. The Major League players will have a different clubhouse from the minor leaguers.

2013 MiLBY Awards

A few of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system need your vote in the 2013 MiLBY Awards.

Javier Baez is nominated in four different categories … Play of the Year, Home Run of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and Game of the Year. But Baez is not alone.

C.J. Edwards is nominated for Breakout Prospect of the Year and Eric Jokisch is up for Moment of the Year. Kyle Hendricks and C.J. Edwards are among 12 pitchers vying for Pitcher of the Year honors.

The Daytona Cubs are nominated for Team of the Year after winning the FSL title.

News and Notes

The Cubs have already been loosely connected to free agent catcher Brian McCann, but the team’s interest in McCann should be labeled as unknown. Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York spoke with a GM that thinks McCann could end up with a six-year, $100 million deal this off-season. The GM feels that McCann is a top five catcher in the game that could transition to first base and DH “toward the end of the deal.”

And lastly, those Redbirds are a win away from another appearance in the series and Deadspin wonders why they don’t respect the game.

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Quote of the Day

"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." - David Brinkley
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  • triple

    Really really hoping that Almora, Baez, Bryant, Soler, Edwards and Hendricks all can stay healthy during the fall league (for the ones that are there), and all of next year for that matter. Gotta keep these guys healthy so the upper tier of our farm system continues to develop.

    • SuzyS

      Agreed.
      Watching the great baseball being played in the playoffs is just making me yearn for the day when the Cubs are back.
      It seems like such a long way off…the journey to competitiveness is tumultuous…definitely not linear.
      Get it right Theo/Jed!!!!

      • Bryan

        Suzy…I agree. Jed and Theo need to get it right, particularly with the manager search. The Cardinals lose LaRussa, lose Pujols, and just keep on winning while playing sound fundamental baseball. The honeymoon is now over for Theo/Jed…it’s time to turn the corner, demonstrating better dugout leadership, and placing a much better product on the field in 2014. And time for Ricketts to open the checkbook, and provide some money for key (not nonsense) talent acquisitions…and stop pinning everything on revenue renovations at Wrigley.

        • Tony_Hall

          I sure hope they follow that Cardinals model, that uses homegrown talent and the farm system to make a few trades to build their team. They added in just 2 free agents, one that was a great player that many thought was already on the down side of his career.

          http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130930&content_id=62249416&vkey=news_stl&c_id=stl

          http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/the-case-for-trying-to-sign-carlos-beltran

          “…the market for Beltran is very slim. With the Giants reportedly out, Red Sox out, that leaves his two biggest suitors out and as time goes on the money value will go down for the slugger.”

        • John_CC

          I agree as well. Maybe it’s just me, but the tone of your post is that somehow Theo/Jed haven’t done enough yet…”the honeymoon is over” and all that.

          You bring up a great point in that the Cards lost their HOF “genius” manager but just keep on winning. Then you go on to threaten how the Cubs better get it right with the new manager etc.

          Clearly, LaRussa was not the biggest factor in why the Cards were a winning team, because they still are. And with a manager, mind you, that was not some highly regarded candidate with a great track record or winning record to go on. Mike Matheny had ZERO MLB coaching experience.

          The point is that it is now impossible to say that Theo/Jed have not improved the system by leaps and bounds. Which is exactly why the Cards “just keep winning” despite who is managing the team.

          • Bryan

            John…stop reading too much into my post. You know the point being made…I wasn’t “threatening”.

          • John_CC

            Threatening was not a good choice of words. I was just reading it as an impatient “or else” type of response. I guess it’s the “honeymoon is over” phrase that I get tired of.

            Sorry.

        • 07GreyDigger

          I’m not sure how their pinning everything on revenue renovations at Wrigley. I mean Ricketts is rich, but he doesn’t own a business like other millionaires. He’s a CEO. So the Cubs are technically his money making business. So how do you expect the man to pony up money to spend on this team in addition to the $300 million he’s spending on renovations? Not to mention the debt to pay off the team from money he borrowed?

          • Eugene Debs

            Then don’t buy a team. Seriously. If it’s one or the other, facilities or players, then he cannot afford to own the team. Imagine a store renovating and saying “sorry, we do not have the money to buy inventory.” That business will close.
            I love the youth movement. It’s awesome. But the MLB roster is a joke and management did screw up their first selection for Manager.
            Do I think things will improve? Sure. But it doesn’t have to be this painful.

          • gary3411

            Are we comparing grocery stores to baseball teams now? And produce to players?

          • Eugene Debs

            No, but I am comparing businesses (where did you get produce?), which we are reminded all the time that baseball is a business. If, as the post I was responding to suggests, the owner cannot improve infrastructure and have a good major league product due to finances, then he cannot afford to own the team. i’d prefer that not to be the case.

        • Dorasaga

          STL have a machine that manufacture winners. It’s so-called a stock-piled farm.

          They also have great engineers and workers who continually build and maintain new machines. It’s called a scout system, a minor coaching staff, and a talent evaluation method.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Can you wait until 2017?

        • J Daniel

          might be longer

          • CubbyDenCritic

            if it is longer….Theo is in trouble.

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

            might be shorter…

        • SuzyS

          Can I wait…yes. Do I want to wait that long? No.
          Here’s the thing…I’m a Cubs fan and always will be.
          My actual lifetime may run out while waiting…but I am a fan for life.
          No one really knows how long it will be until we are competitive again.
          We might already have 2 Aces hidden in the minors…just not developed yet.
          ie…what if Vizcaino stays healthy and develops in a TOR starter??? What if…Underwood or one of the others have a lightbulb suddenly turn on?
          That’s the cool thing about baseball…sometimes the whole team gels against all odds.

          Who predicted Boston would be in the ALCS this year???
          I didn’t. I thought they would be middle of the pack.
          Pre-season, I would have picked Cincy over Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
          Nope, I can’t predict when…I just know we will win again…someday.

          • SuzyS

            BTW…that doesn’t mean I’m a blind Cubs fan. I didn’t attend one game at Wrigley this year.
            I won’t go either…until they give me a reason to go…maybe second half next season…when a prospect or 2 come up.

  • Tony_Hall

    Great article on CJ Edwards.

    “So few scouts saw Edwards play in high school or during sporadic appearances for travel teams that the Rangers were able to wait until the 48th round—a round that no longer exists—to draft him in 2011.”

    “Fewer still saw him in summer travel leagues because the family didn’t have the money for it, so he didn’t play until late, when coaches recruited him to play for free.”

    “His best friend Will Bedenbaugh had been killed in the one-car accident near home on a trip back from Charleston Southern University. Edwards had planned to join him on the CSU baseball team after graduation that spring from Mid-Carolina High.”

  • 07GreyDigger

    Hit the mitt CJ could be used for any number of Cubs pitchers…

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Maybe we should bring the mound in a few feet for our pitchers?

  • CubbyDenCritic

    I saw a rumor about McCann…if he signs with the Cubs, Castillo would be used in a David Price trade……but look for McCann to sign with Texas……
    Oil Can Boyd !…..that guy was a nose sniffing addict…….stick with the S. Paige comparison…..long way to go for Edwards being in a Cubs uniform…….by 2016, we can see Edwards, Johnson, Blackburn in the rotation…….and maybe next year’s #4 pick….who should be a starting pitcher.
    If the Cubs really wanted to speed up this re-building process and be in the playoffs by 2015, and this team will lose over 90 games again in 2014….. ..besides trading Samardzija for pitching, the Cubs will be better off trade away another “high Value” trade chip now for two high value pitching prospects…… which would be Travis Wood……….Theo might squeeze out more in a July trade rather over a Winter trade meeting.
    It does not surprise me that the Cubs are scrapping the bottom of the barrel now for a new manager…..Dave Martinez……wasn’t he on Jim Hendry’s manager’s list a few times!……if Martinez is so good, why didn’t he get a manager’s job by now?…..I would had Sandberg over Martinez, and Theo bypass Sandberg.
    No experience manager wants this Cubs gig.

  • John_CC

    Oil Can is an interesting comp, but why not Pedro? He is listed as 5’11″ 175. In his prime years, Pedro was a pretty small dude and by size alone looked like he would have been completely over matched. Size doesn’t always matter.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Pedro is a better comparison.

      • mutantbeast

        Roy Oswaly, Ron Guidry. Niether guy was tall or powerfull, yet had productive big league c areers. Jack McDowell, 6,5″ and 195 lbs, might also be a decent comp for Edwards.

    • Dorasaga

      But the Great Lasorda didn’t like Pedro.

      http://sports.yahoo.com/news/biggest-goat-los-angeles-dodgers-history-group-includes-205700205.html

      I wouldn’t call Lasorda a moron, but he’s up
      there. History, if we look back, will demonstrate the effect of poor judgement. And History is not forgiving to moronic actions, especially to someone whose only wisdom lied on converting a minor league infielder to catcher, and talked about it all the time on TV.

      • SuzyS

        Nice article…thanks Dorasaga!

  • CubbyDenCritic

    I would have given the managers job to Sandberg before Martinez.
    Slap in the face to Ryno.

    • John_CC

      Well next time you’re the President or GM of a professional baseball team you can do that.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        If I was GM of a professional team, we would not be having this discussion of searching a manager every two years…….I would have give Girardi anything he wanted several years ago……it is not curses, a goat or Bartman that hurt the Cubs…it is “Stupidity” over the years…….bad front office, bad ownership, bad managers, bad contacts, lack of fundamentals, bad players………all I can say is there is one guy I met when he was young scouting director when he saw me pitch…..he became a GM and is the best in this entire league……..Tigers Dombrowski……I can say we both think alike when it comes to talent…..I like to see Theo follow into Dave’s way of building a winning team.

        • Dorasaga

          The Cubs hired Quade 2-years instead of pursuing Girardi. That said it all.

          • calicub

            and Pinella years before that instead of Girardi

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

      He already had a job. It wasn’t any slap in the face.

  • TrevorPetersma

    I might be too much of an optimist, but I get a little excited reading reports about our top prospects doing well like the one above. I’ve tried explaining the difference to my Cardinals fans regarding my optimism around the Cubs in the coming years, to little avail. It just seems like we are stocking the young talent pool into a place where we can sustain success long-term rather than just a sporadic good team. Some of these guys will flame out, that always happens with prospects. But we don’t need all of them to hit, just enough…

    • RynoTiger

      it’s refreshing when I read the thoughts of another poster who gets where our Messiah is taking the organization. “Sustain success long-term” has NEVER been a phrase used to describe the Cubs organization in the almost 30 years I have been a Cubs fan. I am confident we are getting there and am really excited about how the minor league system has been improved so much and is also heading in the direction to actually help the big league team sustain that success.

  • SuzyS
  • calicub

    I bet much enjoyed the article in the cardinals. I have been saying for the last few years how POOR winners the current batch of cardinals are. There is a difference between winning the cardinal way and winning gracefully.

    I hate the cardinals with considerable might and hope they get pompous heads knocked off their shoulders.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Especially by the Red Sox with players that Theo drafted. :)

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Cardinals have been a winning club over the decades….good scouting, front office and players……nothing wrong with that…………..”hate” ?…….many people use that word on subject matters that should have no connection with…….just because another city that has a winning team is better than our Cubs has nothing to do with “hate”………you can use the word “hate” when Theo’s Plan for this team fizzles out……by 2020 we should know……..because if the Cubs are not in a World Series by then, you will “hate” yourself of getting fooled once again of the Cubs Propaganda Ministry.

      • calicub

        I generally don’t bother to dignify your questionable responses but i’m feeling randy today so here it goes:

        You may think you’re smarter than every other poster here, but even with the oversized and misguided ego you put on display on a daily basis on this great site, you should recognize that your not the only one in the world who understands the gravity of the word hate. My hate has nothing to do with another city’s team being better than the cubs. I disliked the Giants for that reason. I HATE the Cardinals because their players are classless winners who have little respect for the game because their success has gone to their heads.Yadier Molina is case in point.

        IAs far as “Theo’s Plan” I’m sory you ry that your not on board. I really am. I’m sorry that your Champ Jim HendrHho rly dke emoe hmpi brRttslew it rg .Th mai, whether youdig Th’shupfront and clear as day. There is no wool being plee s n e t lies to keep the fan base

        • CubbyDenCritic

          If the Cubs do win by 2020, I would be thrilled…….Giants – great ballpark……Angels – lots of fun at the game…….Dodgers – their history is great……..Theo’s Plan is going into Year #3…..so far, over 190 loses to show and one less manager…..what happens in the minors do not count until we see these prospects start paying off in the Majors……….I know I am not the “Smartest” person in terms of Baseball, but I do know this game far better than others……if I had the right connections, it would be a different story of what I would be doing in life ……the fact of the matter is that the Cubs have a long way to go for a World Series title….we don’t even have a manager….or a “Ace” pitcher…..or big hitters…….too many question marks…….and the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds are better than us in this division.
          So lets forget about the pass regimes…and learn from the mistakes & the success we had made……….I can tell you one thing, not many Cubs fans will wait for 2020……by the end of 2016, and no playoffs, fans will seek for Theo’s head.
          One last thought…Hendry became Cubs GM in mid July 2002 with a bad Cubs team, and was in the playoffs the next year…….Again, we just finished year two with Theo, with over 190 loses….and no playoffs.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Lets say the Cubs will lose another 90 plus games next year and in 2015…….what then?

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