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The Rangers have pulled to within one win of saving Cubs fans from a nightmarish hell of an offseason. The win was aided by a failure on the part of the Cardinals to get the right guy up in the bullpen late in the game. When Tony La Russa called to the pen to get hard-throwing righty, Jason Motte up, the bullpen coach apparently heard “Lance Lynn,” who was not available to pitch that day. But Lynn got up anyway, and when La Russa wanted to call Motte into the game to face righty Mike Napoli, Motte was still sitting in the bullpen. The Cards had to leave a lefty in to face Napoli, who promptly drove in the game winning runs. Oops.

  • Today at 11 a.m. CST, Theo Epstein will be introduced as the new President of Baseball Operations of the Cubs (which press conference will be covered live here at BN), but the new boss has actually been in town since late Sunday. He met with key front office personnel, including Farm Director Oneri Fleita and Scouting Director Tim Wilken, yesterday, and is ready to hit the ground running. The Red Sox will be holding their correlative press conference to introduce new GM Ben Cherington later in the afternoon.
  • Speaking of introductory press conferences, the San Diego media expects the Padres and Cubs to hold press conferences introducing their new GMs (Josh Byrnes and Jed Hoyer, respectively) the day after the World Series ends.
  • Hey, media: stop calling Theo Epstein “the savior.” I don’t know a single Cubs fan who thinks of him that way, and the hyperbolic nature of your message is only doing a disservice to what he’s actually accomplished, and what he’s here to do. Also, it’s incredibly lazy. Epstein is an excellent executive, and was probably the best the Cubs could get. He’s here to turn the Cubs into a perennial contender. That’s plenty.
  • Theo Epstein, in his own words. Epstein wrote an Op-Ed piece for the Globe, explaining his decision to head to the Cubs, and discussing, frankly, the end of his days in Boston. It is smart, honest, funny, and will only make you more giddy about the man the Cubs are getting.
  • Mike Quade is expected to come to Chicago this week to meet with the new bosses, but sources close to Quade don’t expect him to keep his job. (In the same article, Gordon Wittenmyer refers to Epstein not as the “savior,” but as the “messiah.” I find that label even more unsettling, and also, considerably tone deaf.)
  • Phil Rogers adds to the Ryne Sandberg fire by contending that there will be a great deal of competition for Sandberg’s services in 2012 (I’m not so sure), and that Epstein should just give Sandberg a try for a couple years. If it doesn’t work out, the two sides can move on. “Giving it a try” seems like a pretty bad approach when it comes to an organizational icon, particularly at a time when the organization is trying to rebuild itself. Either hire Sandberg because he’s the right guy for the job, or don’t because he’s not. “Giving it a try” because he’s a legend would be an irreversible mistake.
  • Another Sandberg article on the lack of room on the team’s big league bench. It sounds like, unless one of their coaches is poached by another team, the Phillies are resigned to losing Sandberg to another team this offseason.
  • Joel Sherman, who was among the first to call Theo Epstein to the Cubs, drops a few names into the Cubs’ expected managerial search: Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux, Brewers’ hitting coach Dale Sveum, and Blue Jays’ manager Mike Farrell.
  • An interview with the last wunderkind GM to come to the Cubs as President: Andy MacPhail. He says there’s more pressure on Epstein, and advises that Epstein not take any shortcuts to try and win sooner rather than later. That’s sound advice, but I suspect it’s the very reason the Cubs are hiring someone like Epstein in the first place.
  • The Phillies declined a big money option on 34-year-old starter Roy Oswalt, which theoretically adds another arm to the starting pitching market. With Oswalt’s back issues, though, and lingering threats of retirement, he’d be a risky multi-year sign, even if he does still flash ace stuff. I highly doubt the Cubs would come calling.
  • One Boston Herald columnist sings the praises of Epstein, and muses on how he’ll be missed. Another talks about how overrated Epstein is, and how replacing him is no big deal.
  • Fishin Phil

    You are correct,  the terms “savior” and “messiah” have no place in any conversation about what Theo brings to the team.  He brings plenty, but that kind of talk is ridiculous.

    Agree on Sandberg as well, we have had decades of “oh what the hell, let’s give it a try”.  Ricketts has raised the bar, this franchise is now going to be about due diligence and getting the best man for the job.

  • LARRY

    Mike Maddux is an interesting name to throw in as a possible manager.  Would that mean his brother would stick with the organization in some capacity?

    • Bails17

      Would love to have Mike Maddux as a pitching coach for sure.  However…not all great pitching coaches make great managers.

  • Edwin

    A baseball team without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And Theo Epstein isn’t always gonna be here to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe… Theo Epstein.

  • hansman1982

    I want to type more but I can’t because of the amazing article from Theo.

  • EQ76

    why is it that most Chicago media writers are complete jackasses?  they’re already ripping Epstein before he even starts.. they’re like the nerdy kids in school that were always jealous of the popular kids and athletes and are taking it out on them now..

  • mac

    Theo’s article was very classy. We’re getting a good one in Chicago.

  • oswego chris

    love the Stripes referrence…here is what I REALLY like so far…a good leader is only as good as the people around him…Theo went out and put his”band” back together from the two title teams…this to me, says a lot about him…knows he is at his best with these guys around him…his ego is obviously not as big as some people have portrayed it…

    • Frat Rat

      You hit the nail on the head, Chris. The most successful leaders in this world will tell you they surrounded themselves with people MORE intelligent than themselves…………

  • Cedlandrum

    That Epstein letter was very cool. Chicago media types minus Bruce Miles are just douchey.

  • MrCub73

    Theo’s article shows the class of management the Cubs are getting.  If Theo and the gang do not succeed in winning the World Series in their time in Chicago, at least I am sure it will not be because they were not prepared or did not give it their best.  Regardless, the Chicago Cubs are headed in a new direction and the classless stories like the handling of Carlos Silva’s release last spring are sure to be a thing of the past.

    Regarding the next manager, Mike Maddux seems like a good option of non-name managers.  Maybe the plus to Mike Maddux as manager, he might be the one guy who could talk his little brother Greg into teaming up with him as his pitching coach.  Sandberg could still get his first action as a coach in the bigs as a 1st or 3rd base coach, maybe bench coach.  It would be a good cast of baseball minds in Chicago and would bring more competence and demand more respect from players in the dugout.

    I am ready to see a passing of it being a forgone conclusion that this free agent or that free agent is going to New York or Boston, it is time Chicago becomes one of the places players just want to play.  I fully expect Theo and gang to run the Cubs in this manner, not an organization the will settle for second rate, when they can have the best.  The Cubs have now proved that against all odds, they can win in October.  Soon, I hope this translates into against all odds, the Cubs win on the field in October.

     

  • pfk

    Very well written and heartfelt article by Theo. We are getting someone very special. So now begins his 10 years with the Cubs. If we have half the success of the Red Sox (one World Series title) I’ll be happy. But somehow, I think this franchise will get back to where it was in the teens, 20′s, 30′s and early to mid 40′s – one of the best in baseball and often going to the Series. The sports writers in Chicago make you believe that this franchise was never any good. Not so. Far from it. The Cubs were, for many years, a dominant national League team. They will be again.

  • JulioZuleta

    Wow, that Theo letter is cool. And the comments from Boston fans are about 80% positive. Does any one need any more evidence that the East Coast is such a heat of the moment, overreacting group of people? They loved Theo, then September happened and they hated Theo, and now that he wrote a nice letter, they like him again.

  • montellew

    Brett,
    I dont know if anyone else has asked you yet, but I picked up on this you said..

    “Speaking of introductory press conferences, the San Diego media expects the Padres and Cubs to hold press conferences introducing their new GMs (Josh Byrnes and Jed Hoyer, respectively) the day after the World Series ends.”

    Does this mean we won’t be getting Jed Hoyer after all? I am certainly hoping that isn’t the case. Or is it that they are proceeding business as usual until the Hoyer deal is complete?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m not sure I understand your question. As the quoted sentence says, the expectation is that the Cubs will introduce Hoyer as their new GM the day after the World Series ends.

  • Toosh

    Uh, reading a lot of posts on this ‘site, it’s seems as though a lot of fans are looking at Epstein as a “savior”. I believe the players on the field are more important.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Straw poll: anyone here view Epstein as a “savior”?

      • Bails17

        Negative Sir!!

      • montellew

        A Superhero from the halls of justice maybe, but not a Saviour LOL

      • Internet Random

        <Rumsfeld>

        It depends on what you mean by “savior”.

        He’s saved me from not having any hope for the team, so while the term might be a bit hyperbolic, maybe I can view him as a savior.

        God/Christ?  Guaranteed World Series winner? No.

        </Rumsfeld>

      • Rancelot

        Competant leadership, respected negotiator, winning tradition, visionary, and someone that possesses successful ideals: YES! Savior? That’s silly fairy tale stuff…

      • Dave H

        Savior no. “Chosen one” mmmm maybe. Difficult it is to see the future.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Haha. You are all killing me this morning.

      • Shawn

        He is a guy who who gives us a chance to contend year in and year out.  Thats all I can ask for as a Cub Fan.

        The pot shots taken at Theo Epstein, and calling him the “savior”, by some in the chicago media seem to be coming mostly from those who were pining for Rick Hahn as GM, IMO.

         

      • chris margetis

        Savior is a bad word, and I don’t feel that way at all. I do get the feeling that a lot of Cub fans think a WS in the not too distant future is a given with him though. That’s scary.

      • hansman1982

        I will be that 5th dentist:

        THEO IS OUR SAVIOR…from all things Jim Hendry!

      • dreese

        The force is strong with him but savior I think not

  • montellew

    Brett,
    I apologize for that question now – I realize I read it a little in haste! Thanks for pointing out what I missed :)

  • die hard

    If hes not the savior or messiah then why in the heck did we hire him?…..Could have gotten someone who would be just as good or bad for a lot less money and lot less baggage. He better be the savior or messiah lest we never break the curse.

    • TWC

      Savior = 

      • die hard

        looks like me 50 years ago….handsome cuss…would have been better…one day after I am gone you will remember these words….at least he has Cubbie blue in veins….Theo is a blue blood…not the same

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        YES!

  • Ol’CharlieBrown

    If the press conference doesn’t get picked up by ESPN or MLBN, we can all watch it here on
    the CSNChicago site:

    http://www.csnchicago.com/pages/live_cubs/

  • Fishin Phil

    Grrrrr… I have an 11:00 meeting with a company rep.  I think he planned it on purpose.  He’s a Sox fan.

     

  • dreese

    I heard from ESPN that the Phils are not picking up Lidge either

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      They aren’t, but I didn’t really see the relevance to the Cubs on that one. Plenty of bullpen arms ’round these parts.

  • Mike Foster

    Brett, I’m not so sure about the Cubs passing over Oswald, or Lidge. Might be a good one year contract for either of them, let some Minor leaguers mature a little with the carrot of the following year in front of them. Plus, it’s some immediate help and why wouldn’t they want to be part of this historic turnaround? Win- win- win to me.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s just hard to see Oswalt being the final piece to put the Cubs over the top in 2012, which is the only circumstance under which I could see the Cubs pursuing him.

      (Your spelling made me think of Oswald Cobblepot, and made me smile.)

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