Archive | November, 2011

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Cubs Set To Interview Mike Maddux & Sandy Alomar, Jr. – Wrigley Field 11/8/11

Posted on 08 November 2011 by Lou

One Dale Sveum down, now it’s on to Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux and Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar, Jr.

While Maddux pulled his name out of the running for the Red Sox managerial opening, Maddux is committed to interviewing with the Cubs.  The Cubs and Maddux will meet up at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.
It is anticipated that the Cubs will squeeze in an interview with Alomar before the end of the week.

No favorites have emerged yet, but given that the Red Sox and Cubs are interviewing the same candidates (Pete Mackanin, Sveum and Alomar, Jr.), we should probably start to hear some rumblings in the near future as neither side wants to wait too long and risk losing “their guy.”

Meanwhile, Terry Francona supposedly met with the St. Louis Cardinals today and we have not heard any further update about Theo Epstein continuing to speak with Francona regarding the Cubs managerial vacancy.  Francona meeting with the Cards could prompt a Cubs interview over the weekend.

We’ll keep you posted…

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Dale Sveum Up To Bat – Can He Bring Prince With Him? – Wrigley Field 11/7/11

Posted on 07 November 2011 by Lou

The Cubs are putting managerial candidate Dale Sveum through the ringer today.  I can’t wait to hear how it all goes.  Sveum has been the Brewers hitting coach for each of the last 3 seasons and is considered to be a top managerial candidate for the Cubs.  Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are familiar with Sveum, as he served as the Red Sox 3rd base coach in 2004-2005.  He joined the Brewers organization in 2006 and even served as interim manager for the final 12 games of the 2008 MLB season when he led the team to a 7-5 record to qualify for post-season play.  Although the Brewers eventually lost in the 1st round of the playoffs that season and although Sveum did not get the full-time managerial gig after the season ended, Sveum decided to stay with Milwaukee to continue building his coaching resume.  Sveum is highly regarded throughout all of baseball and if there’s a way that Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein can pull off a Sveum/Prince Fielder package, Cubs fans will be very happy on the north side for a very long time.

The Cubs interviewed Pete Mackanin on Friday and they plan to interview Mike Maddux later this week (although Maddux recently withdrew his name from the Red Sox managerial candidate list).  We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on how the Cubs liked Sveum during the process…

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Will Tito Reunite with Epstein in Chicago? Wrigley Field 11/3/11

Posted on 03 November 2011 by Lou

Now it looks like Theo Epstein is interested in having Terry Francona interview for the Cubs vacant managerial job.  Epstein acknowledged that the 2 have spoken a lot since the end of the season and that they will “sit down together and see if it’s a fit.”  Epstein went on to say this about Terry Francona: “Clearly he would be at the top of anyone’s list of available managers.  That’s probably true of any organization looking for a manager with experience and who is a proven winner.  He has to be at the very top of the list.  I think he has to figure out if this is right for him, and then as we continue our process and figure out where we are headed, we have to figure out the right fit in this organization, too.”

Epstein originally hired Francona as the Red Sox back in the winter of 2003.  Together, the Epstein/Francona duo won world series in 2004 and 2007 and they went to the playoffs 6 years.  Francona resigned as the Red Sox manager at the end of the 2010 campaign after a 7-20 finish cost the Red Sox a post-season berth.  Francona seemed to have lost control of the Red Sox clubhouse and since his departure, he has made mixed statements about whether he wants to take a year off before he accepts another managerial post.

Outside of Francona, Epstein also confirmed that he plans to interview Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and that he has requested permission from the Texas Rangers to speak with their pitching coach Mike Maddux.  How about a brother combo with Mike as Manager and Greg as pitching coach?  I guess crazier things have happened.

We’ll keep you posted as things progress with the Cubs managerial hunt…

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Cubs, Epstein Fire Manager Mike Quade After Just 1 Season – Wrigley Field 11/2/11

Posted on 02 November 2011 by Lou

Let the Theo reign begin – Epstein and the Cubs let Manager Mike Quade go after one full MLB season at the helm.  The Cubs finished 71-91 under Quade during the 2011 MLB campaign and his overall record in 199 games was a less-than-desirable 95-104.  Quade had 1-year left on the 2-year deal that he signed during winter 2010 and he is still owed $1 million from the Cubs.

Epstein had this to say about Quade and where the Cubs go from here:

“When I joined the Cubs last week, I knew that Mike had a reputation as an outstanding baseball guy, as a tireless worker, and as a first-rate human being…  After spending some time with him this past week, it became apparent to me that Mike’s reputation is well deserved. His passion, knowledge of the game, commitment, and integrity stood out immediately. While Mike is clearly an asset to any organization and any major league staff, Jed and I believe that the Cubs would benefit long term from bringing in a manager for 2012 who can come in with a clean slate and offer new direction…  “The managerial search process begins immediately.  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.”

Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer flew to Florida late last week to speak with Mike Quade in person.  Although it sounds like the discussions went well, it is pretty clear that Theo & Co. simply wanted to start from scratch.  It was great that they took the time to meet with Quade in person and even better that Epstein flew down there again on Tuesday to give Mike the news in person.  I’m sure they are probably just covering their bases, but it’s still the right thing to do in this game.

Immediately, names like Ryne Sandberg and Terry Francona pop up as possible replacements for Quade.  Although Epstein’s statements about the next manager having major league experience (as either a coach or manager) seem to eliminate Sandberg from the mix.  It’s also interesting that the Philadelphia Phillies have already granted the St. Louis Cardinals permission to speak with Sandberg about their managerial vacancy after Tony LaRussa’s retirement annoucnement earlier this week.  With the Red Sox sure to be in the mix for Sandberg too, if Sandberg is on the short list of managers for Theo & Jed, they better act quickly before another team swoops in and makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything else on the Cubs managerial front…

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Epstein Compensation Deadline Today – Will Sides Agree or Do They Need Selig? Wrigley Field 11/1/11

Posted on 01 November 2011 by Lou

The deadline to agree upon the “significant compensation” owed the Red Sox from the Cubs is today.  To date, the 2 sides still can’t agree upon the “value” of Theo Epstein and what the Red Sox should receive from the Cubs in return for allowing him leave with 1 year remaining on his contract as GM of Boston.  If the Cubs and Red Sox can’t agree upon the minor league prospects to be traded to the Red Sox, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will likely need to intervene to determine the compensation.

New Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said this the other day: “We’ve always felt like that was a possibility.  It’s a difficult deal to work out. It’s hard to quantify the value of a Theo Epstein. I have an idea of it, and Theo doesn’t think he’s worth as much as I think he is, and we haven’t bridged that gap.”

What we do know is that the sides have reached an understanding of how to treat other Red Sox employees who may want to follow Theo to Chicago.  Cherington went on to say: “If there’s an opportunity for one person to go to Chicago that’s clearly a better opportunity, then that’s good, we don’t want to stand in anyone’s way.  There’s an understanding the Cubs won’t raid the Red Sox and the Red Sox aren’t going to raid the Cubs.  It should be a good relationship going forward.”  A couple of key thing to note there – 1. Cherington specifically said 1 person leaving the Red Sox, so don’t expect a mass exodus or “heads will roll”.  2. It has to be a “promotion” for the person leaving, just like Theo went from Red Sox GM to Cubs President.  3.  I love how he threw in the fact that the Red Sox won’t “raid the Cubs”, like they would ever really do that.  The Red Sox have won 2 World Series since 2004.  The Cubs lost 6 straight playoffs game in 2008 and 2009 and then had back-to-back 90-loss seasons in 2010 and 2011. Do you really think the Red Sox are going to want to “pluck away” one of those great Cubs execs who put those teams together?  Gimme a break, but I guess it was the “PC” thing for Cherington to say.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on the compensation issue today…

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