Cubs Close to Announcing Coaching Staff? And Other News and Notes

The Cubs were expected to announce Rick Renteria’s coaching staff this week. The official announcement may be a couple of days away but they appear close to finalizing the coaching staff according to Bruce Levine.

Rick Renteria said good-bye to San Diego on Wednesday and is reportedly ready for the next step in his career with the Cubs. Chris Bosio and Lester Strode have been retained to handle the pitching staff and Mike Borzello is expected back as well.

As for the other five positions on Renteria’s staff, the Cubs have talked to Bill Mueller about the hitting coach position. Mariano Duncan could be in the mix for the assistant hitting coach job. The Cubs are believed to have interviewed Gary Jones, Bruce Fields and Jose Castro for the base coach positions. And Alex Cora is thought to be in the running for a coaching job as well.

A new name surfaced on Thursday night, former Cubs’ infielder Mike Brumley. Brumley played in 39 games for the Cubs in 1987 and wrapped up his big league career in 1995 with the Astros. Brumley has extensive minor league coaching and managing experience on his resume. Brumley has been the Mariners’ first base, baserunning and outfield coach for the last four seasons. According to Bruce Levine, Brumley interviewed with the Cubs this week. Renteria and Brumley should be very familiar with one another from their days together at the Peoria Sports Complex … the Spring Training home of both the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners.

Henry Blanco was thought to be in the running for a coaching position with the Cubs, but according to a report from Hardball Talk, Blanco wants to play one more season.

Rule 5 Draft

Wednesday was the deadline for teams to file their reserve lists at the Major and Minor League levels to protect players from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft (Dec. 12). The Cubs selected the contracts of IF Arismendy Alcantara and RHP Dallas Beeler from Double-A Tennessee and added both players to the 40-man roster.

The Cubs left several players unprotected that could be selected in the Rule 5 Draft according to Baseball America.

OF Jae-Hoon Ha was not added to the roster and he could fit into a bench role as a backup outfielder. RHP Marcus Hatley has good stuff and his plus-fastball (92-95 mph) could land him with another organization in December. SS Marco Hernandez is a long ways from helping a big league team as Baseball America correctly pointed out and selecting him would probably hurt his development more than help a team win games in 2014. RHP Matt Loosen had an inconsistent 2013 season but was solid in the AFL and probably projects better as a reliever than a starter. If teams see Loosen as a reliever, he would have a good chance to stick with a team’s relief corps all season.

Baseball America did not list LHP Eric Jokisch or RHP Frank Batista as possibilities to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

News, Notes and Rumors

Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball are still discussing the new posting rules and the primary sticking point remains the amount of money the NPB club would receive from the MLB team in the posting process.

According to Buster Olney, Brian McCann is expected to start visiting interested teams in the next two weeks. The Cubs were connected to McCann, but there does not appear to be any interest in signing the former Braves’ backstop at this point. McCann is expected to visit the Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox and at least three other teams.

Buster Olney reported on Thursday that “some rival evaluators believe Shin-Soo Choo will now land in Detroit to play left field.”

Jason McLeod had mixed emotions watching the Red Sox win their third World Series Championship in 10 years.

According to reports from Baseball America’s John Manuel and Bruce Miles, Major League Baseball ruled that Juan Carlos Paniagua is not eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. There was a possibility MLB could rule that Paniagua was eligible for the draft due to the contracts he signed and were voided prior to finally sticking with the Cubs.

Patrick Mooney caught up with Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels last week in Orlando and talked to him about the prospects the Cubs have acquired from Texas the past two seasons.

Wednesday marked the seventh anniversary of the Cubs signing Alfonso Soriano to the eight-year, $136 million contract. Brian Cashman wanted to hold up the deal with the Cubs last July that sent Soriano to the Bronx for RHP Corey Black because Cashman thought he could squeeze Theo Epstein for less of a prospect and drag it out. Cashman delayed the deal for as long as Hal Steinbrenner would let him. According to Patrick Mooney’s report, the Cubs initial asking price for Soriano was higher than Corey Black.

The Pirates signed three former Cubs to minor league deals on Wednesday … RHP Jay Jackson, RHP Jake Brigham and RHP Seth McClung. And RHP Miguel Socolovich inked a minor league contract with the Mets that includes a non-roster invite to Spring Training.

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon