Reports Pointing Toward Rick Renteria Being the Cubs Next Skipper

If the timeframe reported on Monday night was correct, the Cubs’ front office should find out at some point on Wednesday if Boston will grant them permission to interview Torey Lovullo for their managerial opening. The decision made by the Red Sox ownership to deny Lovullo a shot at a big league skipper’s job raised a lot of questions about Boston’s organization. And while the Sox are sticking to the agreement reached by both teams more than two years ago, the overall public perception of the Red Sox took quite a hit on Tuesday.

Many are expecting the Cubs to name Rick Renteria as their new manager in the next few days. Renteria has long been thought as the frontrunner for the job and it maybe just a matter of time before an official announcement is made. The Cubs’ front office has been very quiet throughout the process and has not tipped their hand.

Jon Heyman and Bruce Levine were among those that reported on Tuesday the Cubs are in the final stage of the skipper search and are focusing on Rick Renteria.

The Mariners named Lloyd McClendon as the successor to Eric Wedge on Tuesday making the Cubs the only team in the majors without a manager.

Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija spent a little time on the David Kaplan Show (720 WGN) Tuesday night. Samardzija talked about his future with the Cubs and the trade rumors that have already surfaced this off-season.

Samardzija does not pay attention to all of the rumors and wants to stay, and win, with the Cubs. Samardzija is looking forward to starting his off-season program and will split time between his home and Arizona this winter.

As for signing a long term contract, for Samardzija it is all about winning and playing in October. Samardzija said, “I think the only thing with me signing a contract is winning ballgames and competing and playing in October. That’s it. This game, a lot of other things get talked about, but when you talk about stability and this and that, let’s be honest. We play baseball, so we travel a lot regardless. Necessarily where you’re playing isn’t going to be where you are all the time. Teams change, things change. And money’s always going to be there if you do your job and you do it how you’re supposed to do it, you’re a leader and you’re a professional. Those two things are null and void. It’s about winning. Period. It’s about being on a team that wins. Obviously that’s what this organization wants to do. There’s no reason why that can’t be the Cubs. And that’s what I’ve been saying this whole time. This is where I want to be. I grew up here. For me to say I want to be somewhere else is ridiculous. That’s not the case, I want it to happen here, and it needs to happen here. It’s about that time. I think everybody wants it and I think everyone is dying for it just as bad as I am.

On remaining in Chicago: “This is where I want to be. And the truth of the matter is I’ve got two years of arbitration left. That’s a lot of time to prove to myself and to everybody that we can win here. And that’s what I’m banking on. We’ve still got some time left to get this done, and I don’t everything is cut in stone that it needs to be now, it needs to be next month or this or that. As long as both sides in agreement, it’s what I want and they want that’s important, then that’s what it’s all about for me. As long as we’re on the same page, then you’re happy with what happens and you’re happy with the outcome.

As for the rumor the Cubs and Diamondbacks have restarted conversations about Samardzija this winter, a Tribune’s source downplayed those talks and indicated the two teams have not spoken about Samardzija since last July.

Major League Free Agents

Jon Heyman released predictions on what the top 65 players on the market could be looking at making through free agency. Heyman spoke with an unbiased agent and an unbiased GM and posted their predictions, along with his own.

Here is what the free agents the Cubs have been linked to might be looking at in terms of a contract and what three of the Cubs’ free agents could sign for this off-season.

  • Jacoby Ellsbury – Agent: 7 years, $146 million; GM: 6 years, $100 million; Heyman: 7 years, $147 million
  • Masahiro Tanaka – Agent: $125 million, $60M posting fee, 6 years, $65M contract; GM: $150 million, $75M posting fee, 6 years, $75M contract; Heyman: $140 million, $70M posting fee, 7 years, $70M contract
  • Shin-Soo Choo – Agent: 6 years, $110 million; GM: 6 years, $110 million; Heyman: 6 years, $120 million
  • Matt Garza – Agent: 4 years, $66 million; GM: 5 years, $85 million; Heyman: 5 years, $85 million
  • Brian McCann – Agent: 5 years, $75 million; GM: 5 years, $80 million; Heyman: 5 years, $80 million
  • Bronson Arroyo – Agent: 3 years, $32 million; GM: 3 years, $30 million; Heyman: 3 years, $35 million
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Agent: 3 years, $29 million; GM: 3 years, $27.5 million; Heyman: 3 years, $30 million
  • Dioner Navarro – Agent: 2 years, $6.2 million; GM: 1 year, $5 million; Heyman: 2 years, $10 million
  • Scott Baker – Agent: 1 year, $4 million; GM: 1 year, $8 million; Heyman: 1 year, $6 million
  • Kevin Gregg – Agent: 1 year, $3.75 million; GM: 1 year, $2 million; Heyman: 1 year, $4 million

Full Report from Jon Heyman

Minor League Free Agents

Baseball America compiled a list of the 550 minor league players that have elected for free agency and are free to sign with another organization. 17 players that were part of the Cubs’ system this past season can choose to sign with a new team or re-sign with the Cubs.

Alex Burnett (RHP), Yeiper Castillo (RHP), Jaye Chapman (RHP), Johermyn Chavez (RHP), Rafael Dolis (RHP), Zach Putnam (RHP), Henry Rodriguez (RHP), Casey Weathers (RHP), Jeffrey Antigua (LHP), Kyler Burke (LHP), Nathan Maldonado (C), Brad Nelson (1B), Nate Samson (2B), Edwin Maysonet (IF), Tim Torres (IF/OF), Cole Gillespie (OF) and Ty Wright (OF) are no longer bound to the Cubs by contract renewals.

Former Cubs that also elected free agency include: Shawn Camp (RHP), Michael Brenly (C), Jake Fox (1B), Brad Snyder (OF), Ryan Rowland-Smith (LHP), Tony Thomas (IF), Jason Berken (RHP), Nate Spears (IF), Sean Gallagher (RHP), Xavier Nady (OF/1B), Michael Burgess (OF), Max Ramirez (C), Dontrelle Willis (LHP), Jay Jackson (RHP), Jose Ceda (RHP), Frankie De La Cruz (RHP), Cory Wade (RHP), Corey Patterson (OF), Andrew Carpenter (RHP), Mike MacDougal (RHP), Matt Tolbert (IF), Andres Blanco (IF), Russ Canzler (IF), Chris Robinson (C), Scott Moore (IF/OF), Jason Jaramillo (C), Mike Fontenot (IF), Jake Brigham (RHP), Brendan Harris (IF)

News and Notes

Jesse Sanchez reported another catcher could be hitting the free agent market. According to Sanchez, approximately 20 teams were on hand at a showcase in Mexico that featured Cuban catcher Yenier Bello. MLB has declared Bello a free agent but he has not been cleared by the OFAC yet. Bello cannot reach an agreement with a big league team until he receives the unblocking license from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Bello’s representatives are in the process of finalizing his paperwork. With the lack of catching in the system, could the Cubs be interested in Yenier Bello? The 28-year old hit .274 with 13 home runs in 2011, the last season he played in Cuba.

Speaking of catchers, former Cubs’ backstop Geovany Soto re-signed with the Texas Rangers on Tuesday. Soto received a one-year, $3.05 million contract that includes an incentives package. Soto’s contract should have an impact on what Dioner Navarro receives this winter.

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