The Yankees were eliminated by the Tigers in the ALDS last night, so that means Tom Ricketts can now reach out to – theoretically – all of his top candidates for the Cubs’ open GM position. While we await some more definitive word on the Cubs’ request to interview Theo Epstein, it’s worth noting that Cashman is a “free agent,” unlike Epstein, on whom the Red Sox hold a 2012 option (exercizable tomorrow, incidentally). Even if Epstein remains the top choice, you can be certain the Cubs are making calls to other candidates, in the event Epstein doesn’t happen.
- CJ Wilson, who will face Justin Verlander this weekend in a hell of great ALCS Game One matchup, may be the top free agent pitcher on the market this Winter. Knowing that the Cubs are expected to be looking for pitching, Wilson was asked whether he’d consider coming to Chicago. His response wasn’t exactly positive. Could he see himself wearing a Cubs’ jersey at Wrigley Field? “I’ve never even been there,” he said flatly. So how will he evaluate a team’s offer? ‘‘Gun laws, day games, weather, competitiveness, freedom to be myself.” When asked if that was three strikes against the Cubs, he said, “I’m just saying, that’s how I decide.” Ok. It’s still early, but, he may not be an option even if the Cubs want him.
- Carrie Muskat is pretty bold in an assertion that Aramis Ramirez will not be back with the Cubs next year: “Re-signing Ramirez doesn’t seem to be an option unless no other team makes him an offer.”
- Josh Vitters, Junior Lake, and DJ LeMahieu saw action yesterday in the AFL, with Vitters going 0-4, LeMahieu 1-4, and Lake 3-4 with a double and a homer. Chris Carpenter pitched a couple innings of relief, and reportedly saw his fastball touch 100 (the same was true last Fall, for what it’s worth). Andrew Cashner is expected to pitch today.
- There has been a minor delay in the final vote approving Mesa’s participation with the Cubs on the team’s new Spring Training facilities. No one seems to think it’s anything more than a procedural issue, and, thus, no one is concerned.
- Some random Cardinals fans discuss the future of Albert Pujols.
- I had a GM search bullets posts percolating for today, but, with the Epstein talk reaching a fever pitch, it would have seemed incredibly tone deaf for me to be throwing up the “latest Billy Beane rumor.” I’ll keep it in the can, depending on what happens today and this weekend. The same is true of the Meet the Candidates series – I still have many to go, but, again, it would make me look like a dunce if I were previewing Thad Levine on the day the Cubs are on the verge of hiring Theo Epstein (I’m not saying they are, I just didn’t want a post like that to be on top if/when such an announcement comes down. You dig?).
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