Posted on 17 December 2011 by Lou
Seems like Dale Sveum fits right in with Theo & Co. Epstein and his entourage are known for their uncanny ability to keep things close to the vest when pursuing free agents/trades. While ESPN 1000′s Bruce Levine and ESPN analyst Jerry Crasnick have both reported that the Cubs are actively pursuing Prince Fielder and that talks heated up a little bit this week, new Cubs Manager Dale Sveum said otherwise. After announcing his new coaching staff, Sveum had this to say about the Cubs pursuit of Fielder: “At this point it’s a lot of media talk. We haven’t had any talks with Prince. I haven’t had any conversations. Again it’s a lot of media.”
That sucks. I hope he’s wrong or I hope that he’s just playing along with the whole Theo & Co. plan to lay low in the weeds and then strike at the right time with a solid deal that Fielder and his agent Scott Boras can’t refuse.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything else. Go Cubs Go!
Posted on 03 December 2011 by Lou
Dale Sveum has hired Chris Bosio as the Cubs new pitching coach. Slowly but surely Sveum is filling his coaching staff with experienced former players and current coaches. Bosio and Sveum were teammates on the Milwaukee Brewers in the late 1980′s. They also were coaches on the same Brewers staff during the 2009 MLB season. Bosio has served as a coach and scout in the Brewers, Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays baseball organizations. Most recently, Bosio served as Milwaukee’s Triple-A pitching coach with the Nashville Sounds. During his big league career, Bosio pitched for the Brewers and Mariners – he retired in 1996 with a career 94-93 record with a nifty 3.63 ERA.
Bosio is thrilled to join his friend Sveum with the Cubs in Chicago: “I just can’t tell you how excited I am, number one, to be working with Dale. When he offered me the job as pitching coach of the Chicago Cubs, to hear him say that, knowing the confidence he has in me, that’s a great feeling. We’re going to be prepared, are going to have intensity and a lot of enthusiasm… It’s going to be agonizing at time, and rewarding as well. That’s the rigors of the season. But we’re going to try and create some magic at Wrigley.”
These guys are no-nonsense guys as far as I can tell. Having been players, that helps a ton too. They can relate to the rigors of a long MLB season, but they can also command respect and demand accountability. They have a lot of energy and are out to prove that they can build something that will last a long time on the north side.
Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 29 November 2011 by Lou
Numerous reports have confirmed that the Cubs have contacted Albert Pujols’ agent regarding the big slugger. While some Cubs fans seem overly excited about the prospects about landing the best hitter in baseball, I have a feeling that this is a HUGE ploy by Theo & Co. Knowing how the Cubs have been hampered by Alfonso Soriano’s 8-year deal and knowing how Theo & Co. rarely enter into a bad “long-term” deal (the 7-year, $142 million Carl Crawford notwithstanding), the Cubs won’t make this deal. You heard it hear first. 8, 9, 10 years for a 32-year old 1st baseman entering the twilight of his career? What happens in Year 6, when Albert Pujols enters the year at 37 years of age and you still owe him a whopping $25-30 million a year for 5 more years?! That’s exactly what we’ve been doing with Soriano for the last 2 years and we still have 3 more years left on his deal. Now sure, Pujols is MUCH MORE productive than Soriano, but it still does not justify mortgaging the club again when we’re so close to getting out from the Soriano deal in another year or two.
So why are the rumors spreading about the Cubs making a play for Pujols? There are several reasons:
1. It drives the price up on the Pujols sweepstakes, maybe knocking him out of the Cardinals price range and sending him to the NL East Marlins or Nationals or the American League with the Texas Rangers or Anaheim Angels. That weakens the Cardinals big time with a move like that.
2. With the Yankees (Mark Teixeira) and Red Sox (Adrian Gonzalez) “probably” out of the mix for Pujols or Prince Fielder (you can never say never with either team however), it is plausible that the Cubs could land either player for a “steal of a deal” without the 2 highest payroll teams driving up the price further. So it is “conceivable” that the Cubs would make a play for Pujols.
3. It also hides your cards if your real intent is to go hard for the younger (Fielder is only 27 years old) 1st baseman. Epstein and Fielder’s agent Scott Boras have been known to get deals done and what better way to swoop in and make him an offer he can’t refuse than to let everybody think you’re going after Pujols. New skipper Dale Sveum was Fielder’s hitting coach in Milwaukee and the 2 have a good working relationship. With tons of money coming off of the books the next year, Theo & Co. can also make a commitment to Fielder that in addition to building from within, the Cubs will also have much more flexibility to add pieces from the outside through free agency after the 2012 season. With Theo & Co.’s track record, Fielder has to be reassured that the Cubs will be competitive just about every season once they get things settled.
Maybe I’m just hoping for the best-case ideal scenario – a 1-2-3 combo of Brett Jackson, Starlin Castro and Fielder as the future of a potent offensive lineup – but don’t surprised if Theo & Co. pull off this miracle signing within the next week. Imagine the buzz on the north side then…
Posted on 28 November 2011 by Lou
Looks like I didn’t miss too much while I was on vacation last week – the Cubs offered Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena arbitration before the required deadline – yippee!
Ramirez is clearly gone, so I guess it is a good move. Ramirez is a Type B Free Agent, so if he signs with a different team this winter, the Cubs will get a sandwich pick in the June amateur draft from the team that signs him. There is little to no chance that Ramirez accepts arbitration before the December 7th deadline since he is the top 3rd baseman free agent on the market, so it looks like the Cubs will get a sandwich pick next year. If for some odd reason he did go to arbitration he would likely get somewhere around $17-18 million for the season.
Pena, on the other hand, is a little bit trickier. The Cubs paid Pena $10 million for his services in 2011. Pena led the team with 28 home runs, and while he is looking for a long-term deal like Ramirez, there may not be too many clubs out there looking to sign the 33-year old long-term. Pena could go to St. Louis or Milwaukee if Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder depart for greener pastures. The Cubs will likely be in the mix for Fielder, especially with about $50 million coming off the books with the departures of Ramirez, Pena, Carlos Silva, Kosuke Fukudome and John Grabow and a potential trade of Carlos Zambrano which will free up cash after the 2012 MLB season ends.
The Cubs did not offer arbitration to Kerry Wood, Reed Johnson, Ramon Ortiz, Rodrigo Lopez or Grabow. I bet Wood comes back on a one-year basis for as long as he wants to pitch. Not so sure about any of the other guys, but I doubt it given the new management in place.
Let’s hope Theo, Jed and Dale are all hunkered down figuring out the next step in the process…
Posted on 18 November 2011 by Lou
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer introduced introduced Dale Sveum as the new Cubs Manager on Friday at Wrigley Field. Sveum – the Milwaukee Brewers’ hitting coach for the last 3 seasons – seems up for the challenge to lead the 71-91 Cubs back to relevancy. Deemed to be a “baseball guy” with great personal skills, Sveum is excited to take over the job – “The past is the past no matter where you are. You’re only as good as you are right now. It doesn’t really matter what happened in the past… When it came down to it, this was a better fit and the arrow stopped on the Chicago Cubs.”
Epstein praised Sveum in broad terms: “He knows the game inside and out. He has a great combination of intelligence and intuition both between the lines and in the clubhouse. Next is the rare ability to hold players accountable, while also earning their respect and admiration. Dale demands a lot of his players but is held in universally high regard by them. That’s a tough thing to pull off.”
Gotta love it – now let’s see what they can pull off in 2012…
Posted on 17 November 2011 by Lou
It’s official – Dale Sveum will be the news Cubs manager. The 48-year old long-time coach will get his first full-time gig as a major league manager with the Cubs. Sveum has served as an interim manager, a bench coach, a hitting coach and a 3rd base coach and will get to show off his skills on the north side in 2012.
We’ll have more on this breaking news following the scheduled Wrigley Field news conference on Friday morning.
Posted on 15 November 2011 by Lou
The Cubs and Dale Sveum will have another chance to discuss the Cubs managerial vacancy this week at the GM Meetings in Milwaukee. The Red Sox plan to interview Sveum again and since Sveum will be there, the Cubs have decided to do it too. The Cubs have interviewed 5 people for the job – Pete Mackanin, Sveum, Mike Maddux and Sandy Alomar, Jr. at Wrigley Field & DeMarlo Hale (the current Red Sox bench coach) over the phone. Cubs President Theo Epstein has also had numerous conversations with former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, but it is unclear how “in play” Francona is at this stage of the game. Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have indicated that they will have further follow-up discussions with all candidates and then present Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts and his family with their final choice. A decision could come later this week or early next week.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear any rumors…
Posted on 09 November 2011 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs interviewed candidate #3 – Mike Maddux – today at Wrigley Field. His “family concerns” might put him at a disadvantage (he dropped out of the Red Sox job earlier this week but decided to interview with the Cubs despite acknowledging that moving his family another time is a big concern of his). Maddux was honored to be considered by the Cubs and was up for the challenge – “It’s kind of cool to be considered. I enjoyed it, man. Pretty neat. Something I’ve never done before, so it was a learning experience on both ends. I think I got to know them and they got to know me, see what our values are. We share a lot of values, share passion. We share the inner drive to win.” Maddux also went on to say that if Carlos Zambrano were still on the Cubs roster come spring training, he might “pick him up and just burp him” – good luck with that one, Mike.
Maddux also said that you have to put your players in the right position to win and remember that it is all still a game – “Maybe it’s a message, maybe it’s giving guys the opportunity to perform, maybe giving them opportunity to fail. Maybe that’s it too. You don’t put the weight of the world on your shoulders. You encourage guys. It’s not life or death. It’s win or lose, but it’s not life or death. And keep it that way.”
It seems like he may have been a little over his head to be considered for the managerial post, but he is clearly a smart guy and will likely manage at some point in his career. But based on what I’ve heard, I like the sound of Pete Mackanin or Dale Sveum right now to lead the Cubs in 2012…
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…
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…