Well, the worst has happened (second-worst, actually, I guess) – both the Cardinals and Brewers advanced to the NLCS yesterday, so one of them will be in the World Series. Grumble.

  • So, Theo Epstein is not yet the Chicago Cubs’ GM, nor do we know for certain he’s staying in Boston. What’s the deal? Hard to say, because no one is talking. Multiple reports earlier this week suggested the Red Sox would want to have things publicly decided by yesterday, but the public statements they made only muddied the waters further. With Yom Kippur underway now, I doubt we’ll hear much, at least with respect to Epstein, for the rest of the weekend. Something to keep in mind in all of this – it remains just as likely that “the hold up” is the Cubs, not the Sawx. Epstein may or may not be the team’s top choice in the GM search, but, either way, the Cubs would be wise to continue reaching out to other candidates. Maybe Epstein is ready to come, but the Cubs want to talk to Andrew Friedman first. Or Brian Cashman. Or Billy Beane. We can’t know. The secrecy and lack of leaks at this point in the search is truly remarkable.
  • Aramis Ramirez says he was surprised by Cubs’ color man Bob Brenly’s strong criticism of him the other day. “This is the first negative thing that I’ve heard from anybody about my ability to produce on the baseball field,” Ramirez said. “This is the first time in 8½ years in Chicago I’ve heard that. Everyone during my time with the Cubs has been great to me. And the fans are the best there, they supported me and the other players when we were good and when we were bad. But I’m surprised that Bob would say those things now.”
  • Trey McNutt had a successful AFL debut yesterday, throwing three scoreless innings (which, in the AFL, is like throwing back-to-back shutouts). About his disappointing regular season, McNutt confirmed what most people thought – his May injury took things off course, and he wasn’t quite able to recover. “I started the season strong. I had the injury at the end of May that carried into the first week of June and it was hard me for to get going, to get sharp again,” McNutt said. “The second half, it just wasn’t a good half. I [was] trying to take something positive from it. The adversity was probably the best thing for me.”
  • The Cubs finished second in attendance per win this year, with more than 42,000 folks showing up per win. We’re nothing if not loyal. Don’t break our hearts, Tom.
  • Here’s Nyjer Morgan being all kinds of classy after hitting a walk-off single last night. Warning, there’s a whole lot of profanity, which is kind of the point:

  • Mikey

    Tour groups roamed Wrigley Field on a gorgeous fall afternoon in Chicago, oblivious to the possibility Theo Epstein might be in the ballpark.

    Was he, or wasn’t he?

    There was no confirmed evidence the Red Sox general manager had slipped into town for a surreptitious job interview Saturday. Red Sox ownership has yet to acknowledge a report the Cubs have asked permission to talk to Epstein. Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts hasn’t commented on the job search, except to say he’s conducting one.

    No one was talking again … except for one Lakeview resident in a purple T-shirt who believes he spoke to Epstein on Saturday morning at a Starbucks in Lincoln Park.

    So was it the real Epstein, or just a reasonable facsimile?

    “It was Theo all right,” said Noah Pinzur, a lifelong Cubs fan. “I’m 99.9 percent sure.”

    [Edited: huge copy-and-paste jobs like that are, unfortunately, a no-no. Thanks for posting it, but, in the future, try to just post a snippet and then a link.]

  • MrCubs73

    Since the Red Sox fans think Carl Crawford is such a bad signing, then I have a solution. After the Cubs bring Theo in to run the show, he can ship Soriano and Zambrano to Boston for Crawford. I will take the no good left fielder that Boston seems to hate so much these days. Then I bring up Jackson to patrol center moving Byrd over to right, while the Cubs wait for Szczur to show up and take over for Byrd. I sign Papelbon to take over for Marmol. I either shop Marmol or move him to the rotation, his control scares me. Not the guy I want on the mound in the 7th game of the World Series. I go after Edwin Jackson and Javier Vazquez to complement Garza , Cashner (Wells if Cash is not healthy), Dempster (Wells if Dempster opts out). While I am at it, I go out and trade for David Wright to play 3rd (Marmol, Lake & Barney or LeMehieu)

    C Soto/Clevenger
    1B Lahair/Vitters (Pena for one year deal, if he will come back for one year)
    2B Barney or LeMahieu
    3B Wright
    SS Castro
    LF Crawford
    CF Jackson
    RF Byrd/Colvin

    SP Garza
    SP Dempster
    SP Edwin Jackson
    SP Javier Vazquez
    SP Cashner or Wells

    CP Papelbon
    RP Marshall
    RP Samardzija
    RP Wood
    RP ?

    This won’t happen, but this is my 2012 Central Division winning Chicago Cubs!

  • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

    I’m glad you’re keeping LaHair.He may be the real deal. I’d disagree in terms of Byrd. Offer him and Barney for Wright. You’re right about Marmol. Never liked him. Offer Colvin and Marnol to a club that can give us a young pitcher for the starting rotation. The rest seems fine.

  • MrCubs73

    I am not much of a Byrd fan as an everyday guy either. I would trade away Byrd and Colvin if there was a taker, neither will have much market value. What could actually get in return as few teams will pay high for either. Byrd only has one year left on his contract and would make an ideal 4th outfielde/insurance poilicy. Byrd is an ok guy in the right role, I just don’t like him as a starter. Part with both, then who plays right? Vitters clearly is on the fast track in the AFL to be the first baseman, so the potential direction could be Vitters at 1st and LaHair in right, but the the real problem presents its self if one or neither pan out. Keeping Byrd in the mix is merely and insurance policy.

  • Michael A. Fobber

    I’ll take Andrew Friedman first and Theo Epstein second. Andrew Friedman works with one of the worst payrolls in baseball and he’s found a way to put together a very good baseball team ever since being in Tampa Bay. I could only imagine what could become of the Cubs if this guy kept the same mentality in Chicago and at the same time had access to financial resources. WOW!!!!! I think Theo Epstein is much better then average and obviously one of the top GM’s out there. He is very good at player development but I feel he loves to overpay for free agents and get them into long term contracts and I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen Jim Hendry cripple this team for many years to come by doing the same thing and that scares me. Unlike Hendry though, Theo Epstein has a style that seems to balance out or put himself ahead of the curve regardless of his bad signings and the same cannot be said of Jim Hendry