Thursday, September 29, 2011

GM Talk, Payroll, and Ricketts Poker Face...

- Tom Ricketts said he wants to get a GM in quickly and sufficiently as possible but says it is a big decision and there is no point in rushing it.

- Ricketts has talked to a lot of industry veterans including owners to get their opinion.

- Ricketts is very optimistic about the Cubs future and says a one-year turn around is not out of the question.

- He says the payroll will likely not exceed this year’s amount but things could change. The payroll going into next season will be 57 million that does not include renewing contracts, arbitration, free agent signings, bonuses, options, and buyouts. Which means the Cubs will have at least 78 million to spend on those things in 2012.

- Mike Quade is confident he will be back and for the most part is happy how he managed. I am pretty sure he is the only one.

- The coaching staff is still very much up in the air.

- Randy Bush and Tom Ricketts may make the decision on what to do with Aramis Ramirez if a GM is not in place.

- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times says that Ricketts maybe at least dwindling down the candidate list after talking to other baseball people.

- Wittenmyer also says Josh Byrnes is no longer a candidate for the position. Good move my Ricketts!

- In addition to that Gordon says A’s GM and numbers guru Billy Beane is no longer among the top candidates for the position. Which either means he is a fall back, tier two, or completely out of the running.

- has a good write up on this discussing Wittenmyers knowledge of the GM situation and applying it to the premise that a GM may already be in place. They state Ricketts fooled all of us by relieving Hendry and waiting weeks to tell everyone, he maybe putting on his poker face again.

- along with others like me believes the two top candidates for the position are Friedman and Epstein. Epstein can be contacted at any time while Friedman will be called on after his team exits playoffs at the earliest. Which is why no decisions have been made, but that is if you believe Ricketts does not have already someone basically in place.

- Going with the CubbieCrib premise if there is a person in place I can see it being a guy like Rick Hahn.

- There is also a conspiracy theory out there that states that Ricketts has checked with his remaining interested candidates to see if they would name Ryne Sandberg the Cubs new manager and that has been a deciding factor for him. This could explain why Beane went from a top tier to a lower tier guy recently.

- This also would coincide with the report that the Cubs and Ryne Sandberg with “reconcile” after the season concludes. Many have speculated that this means welcoming him back to the organization at any time or named manager or maybe to just make good with the Hall of Famer.

- There are many rumors that Ricketts is going to do his due diligence by asking to interview both Friedman and Epstein hoping they will accept but knowing they won’t. By each declining it looks like he “tried” to get the “top tier big splash GM” which in turn would make a guy like Rick Hahn or Ben Cherington look like a very nice consolation prize. When in all actuality he already has one of them secretly in place and has an informal agreement to make Ryne Sandberg the next manager as well.

Until Next Time…

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cubs Notes: Z to Fish? Kenney Out? Dempster Staying? and more....

- Bruce Levine is stating that the Ozzie Guillen’s new team the Marlins may look to trade for Zambrano to bring buzz to their new ballpark. Carlos and Ozzie are really good friends and both have talked about being on the same team together more than once. Well from many reports and rumors I am hearing it could be a forgone conclusion that he ends up there.

- The Marlins are not only going to look at current Cub Zambrano but have interest in bring in long-time Cub and free agent 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez.

- Dempster will likely start Weds. on deciding on whether to pick up his player option. The free agent market would likely bring Dempster a three year deal worth 40 million.

- Ricketts said it will ultimately be up to the new GM on the direction the Chicago Cubs will take this winter. He says whether that be a youth movement, adding a player here or there, or adding several impact players. Ricketts says the money will be there for the right situation and he will have a say but the new GM will have the majority of the responsibility on him for forming a team.

- I am hearing that Crane Kenney will not be President of the Chicago Cubs after the World Series concludes or sooner. I am hearing one of two things will happen with Kenney; 1) He will be fired and removed from the Cubs completely or 2) He will accept a newly created position for him that strictly involves the renovations, ticket sales, promotions, facilities, etc. thus making a void in the Cubs Team President position. I am then hearing one of two things could happen from that 1) The Cubs will hire a separate Baseball Operations Team President like a Pat Gillick or 2) To make the new GM position more attractive to guys like Friedman, Beane, Epstien, etc... The Cubs will combine the Baseball Operations Team President position with the GM position which would be a huge selling point for the Cubs.

- I am also hearing the Cubs have a better chance at getting Theo Epstien from the Red Sox if they do not make the playoffs.

- If the Cubs cannot trade Soriano he will likely be released according to Cubs execs.

- There is speculation that Marlon Byrd could be trade bait this winter given the weak CF market.

- Ryne Sandberg will likely be linked to the White Sox manager job and may even receive an interview.

- Matt Szczur will be on the 40 man roster next season because his contract says he has to or it becomes void. It is not out of the realm of possibility that he makes his Wrigley Field debut sometime in 2012.

- Cashner and Shark will be competing for spots in the rotation next season.

- If Quade is replaced; Bob Brenly could be a managerial candidate or at the very least offered a coaching position on the Cubs staff.

GM talk and rumors are expected to heat up the next week or two and Ricketts is said to want one in place before November. So for the latest Cubs rumors and news check HotStoveCubbies and follow me on twitter at @HotStoveCubbies; until next time….