Ausmus Interviews, McKay Leaves, Lovullo Next for the Cubs?

The Cubs’ skipper search is heating up and at some point next week the front office may be ready to name their new manager

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer reportedly met with the sixth managerial candidate on Friday at Wrigley Field. Epstein and Hoyer spent the day with Brad Ausmus and talked baseball with the former big league catcher. The 44-year old Ausmus’ stock within the Cubs’ organization was reportedly rising before he interviewed with the front office on Friday.

Brad Ausmus joins a list of candidates that includes A.J. Hinch, Manny Acta, Dave Martinez, Rick Renteria and Eric Wedge to have interviewed for the Cubs’ managerial opening. One other candidate is believed to have interviewed for the job as well.

The Cubs are expected to interview Torey Lovullo before moving forward in the process. According to the Sun-Times, Lovullo could sit down with the Cubs’ front office early next week. The Tigers have already interviewed Brad Ausmus and are expected to interview Torey Lovullo as well.

Dave McKay

The Cubs lost one of their coaches on Friday when Dave McKay signed on with the Arizona Diamondbacks. McKay will serve as Kirk Gibson’s first base coach and outfield instructor, the same duties he had with the Cubs under Dale Sveum the last two years.

Dave McKay did an excellent job working with the outfielders, especially Alfonso Soriano, while he was on Sveum’s staff and this is truly a loss for the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs were hoping to retain McKay and based on his comments he wanted to return on the new manager’s staff. McKay could not wait for the Cubs to hire a new manager any longer and risk losing a job on Kirk Gibson’s staff. The D’Backs were willing to wait, but he had to make a decision and he feels it will work out best for both teams.

McKay was looking forward to working with the young outfielders coming through the Cubs system like Junior Lake, Albert Almora and Jorge Soler.

Theo Epstein kept McKay updated on the managerial search and was hoping McKay would stay with the Cubs according to the Sun-Times. McKay would not commit without knowing who the new manager would be moving forward.

With McKay no longer available, it appears only Chris Bosio, Lester Strode and Mike Borzello have a shot at returning … and Bosio being kept on as pitching coach looks to be a lock at this point according to the Sun-Times.

Dave McKay joins a good coaching staff in Arizona. Alan Trammell will return as Kirk Gibson’s bench coach with Glenn Sherlock taking over for Matt Williams as third base coach and Turner Ward replacing Don Baylor as hitting coach. Reports have indicated the Diamondbacks are trying to hire Dave Duncan as their new pitching coach.

Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka turned 25 years old on Friday and he could be making his final start in Japan on Saturday. Tanaka figures to be posted and once he is, the bidding will begin. But the new posting system has not been worked out by Major League Baseball and the Nippon Professional League yet. The old agreement has expired and recent talks between the two leagues have slowed due to MLB “wanting to lessen the amount of money going to the player’s team in Japan while the NPB seeks proper recompense for losing its best players” according to Jeff Passan.

The new posting system was expected to be in place by Nov. 1.

The Cubs have reportedly made signing Masahiro Tanaka one of their top priorities of the winter, but there will be a lot of competition in the bidding process, especially from the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants. The Yankees and Dodgers have also made Tanaka one of their top targets of the off-season.

Jeff Passan reported the posting fee for Tanaka could reach $100 million, nearly double of what the Rangers paid to negotiate with Yu Darvish, while some think the posting fee could hit $75 million. Passan reported the total cost for Tanaka could easily top $125 million.

Masahiro Tanaka has not chosen an agent yet and it is unclear as to when he will announce that he has hired an agent. Tanaka could elect to stay in Japan and wait until after the 2015 season to become a free agent, but that is highly unlikely.

Elliot Soto

Cubs’ minor league prospect, Elliot Soto received a 50-game suspension without pay for testing positive for a second time for a drug of abuse. The 24-year old Carpentersville, Illinois native played in 84 games last season for the Smokies and D-Cubs. The Cubs selected Soto in the 15th round of the 2010 draft and the utility infielder is coming off a .219/.303/.281 year in which he hit 10 doubles and two home runs in 84 games.

Elliot Soto has a very good glove and is more than solid in the field but this suspension will not help the Creighton University product. The suspension was announced on Friday and will be served next season.

Free Agent Predictions

Jon Heyman posted the CBS Sports’ staff predictions on where the top free agents in baseball will end up this off-season.

Scott Miller and Matt Snyder think the Cubs are going to hand out big bucks to sign Jacoby Ellsbury and Dayn Perry thinks the Cubs will post the highest bid and will sign Masahiro Tanaka. As for Brian McCann, the consensus is that he will sign with the Texas Rangers. Shin-Soo Choo could either land in Houston or with the Mets.

According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs could take a look at Jesse Crain, Edward Mujica, Gavin Floyd, Joba Chamberlin, Eric O’Flaherty, J.P. Howell or Jose Veras to help in the rotation or in the pen “or take a flyer on players coming off injury like outfielder Grady Sizemore.”

Arizona Fall League Fall Stars

Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora were named to the East squad for Saturday’s Fall Stars Game at Surprise Stadium. The MLB Network will carry the game, that can also be seen on MLB.com, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00pm CDT.

Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler are in the starting lineup. Bryant will play third and hit third while Soler will play right field and hit seventh.

The CCO will post a special Talkin’ Cubs Prospects and a recap of the game.

News and Notes

Major League Baseball will begin testing the proposed replay system next week in the Arizona Fall League. This will be the first step toward implementing the new system for the 2014 season. The tests will be conducted at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale.

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Horrible news about Dave McKay. He was one coach that was actually developing players.
    Almora is already a fairly polished fielder. But Jr. Lake could really use a great coach. This is
    disappointing.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      It is bad news…..looks like I picked the wrong week of stop sniffing glue.

  • Ripsnorter1

    $100 million just to negotiate with Tanaka?
    You can completely forget about the Cubs going after this guy. It’s over.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Over?……..Nothing is over!…You just don’t turn it off !

  • AG Ginn 515

    I don’t think it matters who the manager is really, whoever it is will probably get fired after the 2015 season if we don’t have a winning record. Whoever the manager is gotta have good coaches around him and can develop players and bring some heart to the Cubs also cut down on the bonehead plays, I can see them trading Samardzija for the right package of prospects (should of took the DBACKS deal) I doubt they sign back back Gregg, Navarro, maybe take another risk with Baker then flip for prospects, and Guerrier could be back on a minor league contract.

    The Cubs payroll right now is only 50 mil for this coming year and 14 of that mil is going to the Yankees for Soriano, by me guessing with all the money they have invested in the stadium upgrades, Arizona complex, Dominican academy, money for the draft, international signings, and don’t know whats going to happen with the rooftop guys, just not enough to go around right now, should change next offseason when we get a new TV deal and hopefully some more advertising.

    So I doubt they make a big splash this offseason with Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin Soo Choo or other big names out there, we will most likely miss out on Masahiro Tanaka because Dodgers and Yankees going after him with money that won’t hurt them. Expect free agent 1 year deals so they can flip and get more prospects for the future

    Don’t get me wrong here I like what the Cubs are doing right now, everything is being rebuilt and it needed to be done, but lets be real here, I know its a competently different player development now then before but maybe only 3-5 guys pan out right now, but the more trades we do and the more prospects we get the odds will go up. I’m a loyal Cub fan and will always stand behind them no matter what.

  • coachdon

    Am I the only one that wasn’t all that impressed by Bosio? Look at the list of pitchers and tell me who he really helped. I think Shark stayed the same or regressed, Jackson did nothing to say improvement, Russell got worse, Marmol and Camp were so bad we had to get rid of them, Gregg got worse as the season went along. I agree Travis Wood was better. Maybe Rondon was a plus for him. Much of the success the staff had was primarily due to churning a bunch of guys through and catching a little lightning in a bottle on occasion.

    • Eugene Debs

      Russell, Marmol, Camp, and Gregg were all overused. I’m not sure if that’s on Bosio, Sveum, or Jeo Hoyerstein.

    • 07GreyDigger

      What about Feldman? Rusin? Parker? Arrieta? Strop? What about those guys?

      You can’t blame the pitching coach for Gregg. Gregg is Gregg. He pitched like he does.

      • coachdon

        Well, Feldman threw well for a couple months but that could have been change of scenery and new to the league versus coaching. Rusin did well when he first came up from AAA where he was not being coached by Bosio and regressed as he was in Chicago, Parker was throwing great at Iowa and continued that at Chicago, not sure you can credit Bosio, and Arrieta and Strop were also new to the league with a change of scenery that tends to help them be successful for awhile. Not saying he didn’t help those guys because there is no way to really know.

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

          If you’re not sure you can credit him for guys that did well why do you credit him for all the guys that played poorly? Rusin maintained at MLB for a while and I think you have to nod at Bosio. Wood obviously, Feldman. Shark’s problems are in his head and Bosio can’t help there. Jackson is a veteran so again he’s a guy that’s going to respond less to coaching.

          • coachdon

            I didn’t “credit” him with guys doing poorly, just saying it is apparent he did not exactly help them.

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

            I get what your saying coach. But I just was saying if your going to credit hin or the guys that did poorly than he should get some credit for the guys that improved too. Not every player responds the same to coaching. Obviously Wood, Rusin, Gregg, Arietta, Strop and Feldman got better under his watch. Shark, Russell, Jackson and Camp didn’t. The credit and should work both ways. I think Camp overachived in 2012 and his fall was predictable. Shark is his own worst enemy. Wood went beyond anyone but his own mother’s expectations. Strop and Arietta both look like guys that will contribute. Also Baker did better in Chicago than he did at any other level during his rehab. Maybe Bosio deserves some credi there. He seems to be best suited to help players trying to turn it around.

      • BosephHeyden

        I’d give Bosio Strop. His command problems that people said he had were a little less noticeable, though that could also be because I only saw a few of his games. But his stats seem to back that up. Arrieta is a “too small of a sample size” pitcher, because looking at his month-to-month stats over the 9 games he started, he had a really good debut (which I saw and will say confidently he did), but the one game I saw of him in August (and his August stats in general) aren’t great. And September looks hit-or-miss.

        Feldman I can’t think Bosio could get any credit for, because he was an established starter coming over from the AL. His AL-to-NL numbers (not an official stat at all) look about what I’d expect. And Rusin looked like he started off well, but looks to have come apart towards the end judging from his high September ERA.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Feldman, Strop, Arietta came from other clubs……short time with Bosio…….Parker, Gregg & Rusin regressed in the second half……mixed bag…..
        I say lets start fresh with an entire coaching staff.

    • TheWrongGuy

      I don’t if I agree or disagree. I did notice during the season when *for example* Bosio would go the mound and when a bullpen pitcher was on the mound. Bosio would while chatting with the pitcher always seemed to me would look towards the pen… ie bullpen coach Strode. I don’t know if it was:
      different scouting reports
      different idea on how to pitch to a batter
      or if it was just something Bosio does.
      With that said I agree a change needs to be made whether it is Bosio or Strode. If it was the scouting report differences then they need to get on the same page.

    • SuzyS

      No one seems to be mention Rondon…as a rule 5 guy…that has to be a credit to Bosio.
      That being said, Bosio does not fall into the category of a Duncan or even the White Sox’s Cooper…(whom I have a lot of respect for).
      The new manager…whoever he is…should be allowed to name his own staff…and hopefully put together a good one….the longer the Cubs wait to name a manager, the smaller the pool of
      coaching candidates will be available.
      At this point…I hope they settle by Monday or Tuesday.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    To be a successful manager, you need your own people who you can trust.
    Being force to keep old coaches on, is not good for an incoming manager.

  • Sanibelchuck

    Sign Jacoby Ellsbury. Great lead-off guy. Tops in base steals. If anyone knows these guy , it is Theo. Living in Fort Myers, watch Red Sox spring training and what Red Sox have in Gulf Coast League (GCL). With the Daytona Cubs in FSL, Theo knows what players come through this league (Pirates, Twins, Rays, Phillies, Yankees, Cardinals.).

  • Courtenay

    BTW, why isn’t Alan Trammel a consideration for Cubs manager???