Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Latest on the Rumor Train!!!

The rumor train is at full speed as well as some detail on the manager search so here is the latest-

- Terry Francona is a fit for the Cubs if he and Theo determine it is a fit. Does that make sense?
- The Cubs interviewed Pete Mackanin (the Phillies bench coach) today for their manager job.
- The interview process is really a window into how Theo Epstein looks into things. The interview starts with a conventional sit-down meeting, after that a long process where a candidate gets a simulated game situation with rosters, statistics, player usage, and other factors used in an actual game situation to come up with their response. Theo and Jed will vary on how they want an answer as in they may want it immediately or want a thoughtful analysis or even create a somewhat hostile environment for the person interviewing. The next step in the process is they get to sit down with the media and let them ask questions. This is a dramatically better process Theo is bringing to the Chicago Cubs. Just one of the many reasons why Ricketts had a high regard for him.
- The final step in the interview process is Theo and Jed coming up with one candidate then presenting it to Rickets and his Board of Directors for final approval.
- Mike Maddux will interview next week for the Cubs managerial job because he is battling laryngitis.
- Brewers’ hitting coach Dale Sveum will interview next week as well but according Tom Haudricourt the Cubs has not asked permission.
- The Cubs are also linked to Indians’ bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Red Sox bench Coach DeMarlo Hale, and Rays’ bench Coach Dave Martinez.
- The Cubs have a very similar list to the Red Sox because Theo and Ben have a similar interviewing process and criteria.
- Rumors are circling that if Terry Francona is named manager then Ryne Sandberg will be named his bench coach. Why is this significant? Because Terry would likely just be managing for the next 3 years or less (which he has said before) and having Sandberg as a bench coach learning the “Theo Way” from Mr. Boston himself Terry Francona is the best way to learn on the job to be Francona’s successor.
- Greg Maddux maybe reconsidering taking a full-time job in the ML again. There is talk out there that Greg would consider becoming a coach for Mike Maddux if he is named the Chicago Cubs manager. Someone close to the Maddux brothers said it has been Greg’s dream to be on a coaching staff with his brother. What better place than the Chicago Cubs?
- MLBTR states Joel Pinero and David DeJesus as fits for the Cubs. I just don’t see it when you can get Grady Sizemore and Erik Bedard for a similar price.
- A tidbit in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel list the Cubs along with the Rangers and Angels as players for Prince Fielder. Fielder is reportedly looking for 8 years at 20 million a year. The Cubs would refuse to pay that price tag and will not get in a bidding war. I think the Cubs could pull what the Phillies did with Halladay and Lee, offer less years and more money a year. 125 million over 5 years sounds good to me.
- Wood is going to sit down with Epstein and Company very soon to discuss his future. He is expected to be with the team in one capacity or another.
- There is a rumor out there that the Blue Jays have check on Matt Garza’s availability.
- Levine adds to the rumor mill stating CJ Wilson and Roy Oswalt are not options for the Cubs and Nick Markakis is an interesting trade target. I agree with his assessment.
- The Cubs could have interest in Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens but he does not fit the mold of a Saber guy Epstein will look for.
- The A’s will listen to offers on any of their players. I think the Cubs would be foolish not to look at Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, or Gio Gonzales especially.
- The Cubs have been scouting Yu Darvish for the past year and have also been scouting lefty Tsuyoshi Wada as a left handed starter.
- A great story for Cubs’ fans that needs a good ending in December. Ron Santo is 1 of 10 “Golden Era” candidates for the induction to the Hall of Fame. The committee consists of 16 members and 12 of those members need to cast a yes for Santo to be inducted. The vote will take place on December 5th and we will be hoping and praying Santo will be finally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Talks have been slow on the compensation front for Theo Epstein.

Until Next Time…

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Cubs Manager Search Starts...

With Mike Quade down and out lets look at the newest rumors involving the Cubs managerial search.

- Here is what Theo Epstein and company are looking for according to the press release-
We are looking for someone with whom and around whom we can build a foundation for sustained success. The next manager must have leadership and communication skills; he must place an emphasis on preparation and accountability; he must establish high standards and a winning culture; he must have integrity and an open mind; and he must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level.
- Terry Francona will not be a candidate for the Cubs job according to Ken Rosenthal.
- Unfortunately Ryne Sandberg will not be the manager next season for the Chicago Cubs. Theo did a really classy thing by calling up Sandberg to tell him he is not in the running for the job. Sandberg in turn responded by saying very kind things about the Cubs and the direction Theo is taking them. You can read his comments in the Daily Herald here.
- If Ryne Sandberg does not get a managers job in the majors he could wind up with the Cubs as a bench or base coach.
- Yes the Cards have asked permission to interview Sandberg and it has been granted. I have also heard whispers he will interview with Boston as well. Media outlets from both Boston and St. Louis say Ryne is a long shot because of the other established candidates.
- The Cubs will likely pass on current managers in MLB. That means no Joe Maddon, Bud Black, or Joe Girardi.
- Here are some names out there right now: Bob Brenly, Bobby Valentine, Mike Maddux, Dale Sveum, Dave Martinez, Tim Bogar, DeMarlo Hale, Sandy Alomar Jr., Pete Mackanin, and Don Wakamatsu.
- There has been talk that the Cubs are not allowed to raid the Padres and Red Sox anymore so you could see Tim Bogar and DeMarlo Hale taken off that list unless the Red Sox conclude their managerial search before the Cubs or allow the Cubs to interview them.
- Out of the list above I like Mike Maddux, Dale Sveum, Bob Brenly, Pete Mackanin, and Dave Martinez the best but would be OK with all of them except Bobby Valentine and Don Wakamatsu.
- If Dave Martinez is named the manager don't expect him to name Ryno as a coach. The two have a not so good past as players on the Cubs.

Until Nex Time

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

My 2012 Top 50 Free Agent Predictions

I am going to do something more mainstream today by listing the top 50 free agents (according to and predicting their landing spot. This by no means is what I want to happen it is my predictions based on information, rumors, and needs by all 30 Major League teams. So here we go!

Albert Pujols – Cards
Prince Fielder – Blue Jays
Jose Reyes – Nationals
C.J. Wilson – Rangers
Yu Darvish – Blue Jays
Edwin Jackson – Royals
Jimmy Rollins – Phillies
Aramis Ramirez – Angels
Carlos Beltran – Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon – Red Sox
Michael Cuddyer – Cubs
Mark Buehrle – Cards
David Ortiz – Mariners
Ryan Madson – Reds
Hiroki Kuroda – Dodgers
Carlos Pena - Pirates
Francisco Rodriguez – Marlins
Roy Oswalt – Rangers
Javier Vazquez – Retirement
Heath Bell- Padres
Coco Crisp – Brewers
Hisashi Iwakuma – Twins
Kelly Johnson – Dodgers
Josh Willingham – Reds
Paul Maholm – Royals
Grady Sizemore – Cubs
Bartolo Colon – Blue Jays
Erik Bedard- Cubs
David DeJesus – Braves
Jason Kubel – Marlins
Ramon Hernandez – Pirates
Jeff Francis – Orioles
Chris Capuano- Mets
Tsuyoshi Wada – Cubs
Clint Barmes – Tigers
Casey Kotchman – Rays
Freddy Garcia – Yankees
Aaron Hill – Diamondbacks
Johnny Damon – Indians
Aaron Harang – Padres
Jamey Carroll – Twins
Rafael Furcal – Cards
Juan Pierre – Astros
Frank Francisco – White Sox
Jason Marquis – Mets
Joel Pineiro – Pirates
Jonathan Broxton – Giants
Joe Nathan – Twins
Kerry Wood – Cubs
Bruce Chen - Padres

So the in my top 50 the Cubs will be receiving Kerry Wood, Tsuyoshi Wada, Erik Bedard, and Michael Cuddyer. After hearing Theo's press conference I am 75% certain that big names Pujols and Fielder will not be on the north-side. I think Theo will build a nice young team and add big named free agents once he evaluates the team. I do not think he will make moves to jeopardize the Cubs financially to win next season and hurt them down the road.

Which is why they add a guy like Erik Bedard and Grady Sizemore to a one or two year deal. Both are high risk/high reward players and fall under Theo ball. Bedard brings balance to the starting rotation and Sizemore adds veteran depth to the outfield and could start in RF for the Cubs. Bringing Kerry Wood back on a one-year deal at a discount is a no-brainer. The two multi-year deals I see Theo handing out is Tsuyoshi Wada and Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer could seek a three year deal worth around 30 million and play at least 5 of the 9 positions on the diamond although he could be the starting 3rd baseman or 1st baseman for the Cubs; tremendous value there. Wada's value is reportedly around a 2 year deal worth 8 to 10 million which is a really good value for a left-handed starter with his funky delivery and a 1.80 ERA last season.

The rest of the holes on the Cubs roster will be filled by players not on the top 50 list, trades, and the minor leagues. Expect to see a lot of movement by Team Theo this winter to bring in his guys.

What does your top 50 predictions look like? Any predictions you think I am right on or far off? On this list who do you think the Cubs will add? Feel free to comment.

Until Next Time...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Quick Hits- Manager, Coaching, Free Agency, and Trades

- With Tony LaRussa retiring; there has been several lists that include potential candidates to replace Tony put out there by the media and all of them include Ryne Sandberg. Talked to one of my sources that says he “will definitely get an interview from the Cardinals” if he does not find a manager job before them.

- Dave Duncan may or may not retire. I am wishing upon a star but please come to the Cubs Dave!

- Another guy the new manager (if there is one) should bring in from the Cardinals coaching staff is Jose Oquendo as a base coach. He is high regarded in the baseball community as a good baseball mind and a great base coach. He would be a great addition to the staff.

- The Cubs exercised Aramis Ramirez 2012 $16M option but then he declined the option saving the Cubs the $2M dollar buyout. Aramis is looking for a 3-4 year deal worth 15 million a year. The Angels are likely to pay up big for Ramirez.

- The Cubs also declined Jeff Samardzija’s $3M option for 2012 but he is still under team control so they will bring him back for a lower rate.

- Josh Vitters is going to play 3rd base in the minor’s full time next year. Some think he may make the jump to AAA next season.

- Carlos Pena, Kerry Wood, Reed Johnson, John Grabow, Rodrigo Lopez, and Ramon Ortiz all filed for free agency yesterday. Wood stated he will only come back next season is if it is with the Cubs. If he does not get a contract with him he will retire. Carlos Pena is looking for a multi-year deal which could be a hang up for the Cubs.

- Carlos Zambrano to Kansas City??? There is interest from KC but only if the Cubs pay the majority of his contract. Anything can happen because the Braves just sent 38 year old Derek Lowe to the Indians for a low A minor leaguer. The Braves are paying 10 of the 15 million left on Lowe’s contract. The Cubs could do something very similar with the Royals or any other team for that matter.

- We could find out Quade’s fate as early as tomorrow and no later than Friday according to my sources.

- Bud Selig will likely decide compensation for Epstein which will favor the Cubs.

Until Next Time…