Yesterday’s rain bought the Cubs an extra two or so days of Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod’s services, because it created an off-day on which the Cubs and Padres could announce the front office move. The rain also bought me a weekend free from obsessively scouring sources for the precise moment the Cubs announce the move.

  • Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein may not have a lot to work with on his new team, but he’s got a heck of a talented shortstop. And he knows it. “This kid is only 21 years old, most 21-year-olds are maybe getting to High-A ball and thinking about sniffing Double-AA,” Epstein said of Starlin Castro. “When Derek Jeter was just about the same age he made 56 errors in the low minor leagues. [With] defense especially there is maturation that only comes with time and experience …. Offensively, the things he has done is what guys who go on to be ten-time All-Stars and Hall of Famers do. Again it’s our jobs as management to get to know him and help him reach his ceiling, and in his case his ceiling is immense …. This kid has a chance to be a great all-around player, not just one with tremendous physical ability.” Castro is, perhaps, the only player on the roster whom Epstein could reasonably think of as a son, so there’s that, too.
  • Carlos Zambrano looks to be keeping himself fresh this offseason by pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League. Here’s hoping he looks all universe.
  • In his introductory press conference on Tuesday, new Red Sox GM Ben Cherington was asked about Boston personnel following Theo to Chicago. Obviously we’ve not yet gotten word of anyone coming, but Cherington added that “Theo hasn’t asked me about anyone yet,” with a strange, wry smile. So, I got the sense that the issue will be resolved in tandem with the Theo compensation issue.
  • Gotta love some of the Chicago columnists/talking heads/blowhards. They aren’t going to let a silly thing like the Cubs getting the best front office in baseball keep them from dumping! Rick Telander compares the Cubs’ new front office members (and Tom Ricketts) to Wall Street executives who used some fancy financial tricks to line their pockets at the expense of a number of Main Streeters. The reason? They’re smart and well-educated. You can’t make this stuff up. Chris DeLuca rips Cubs fans for getting too excited about the arrival of Theo, playing out the same ‘ole tired argument that we’re expecting a championship in “two or three years.” I’m not. I’m expecting a consistently good, competitive team in two or three years. How about you guys? And then there’s Dan Bernstein, making decent points about the attitudes Cubs fans should have in this new era, but doing so in a condescending, smug, angry tone that destroys any of the credibility his points might have earned.
  • You can probably cross Blue Jays manager John Farrell off of any hoped-for managerial lists. The Blue Jays announced a change in policy that they will not allow employees under contract to interview for lateral moves. The decision, I’m sure, is in response both to the Cubs’ efforts to raid front offices, and to the Red Sox’s presumed request to interview Farrell.
  • Phil Rogers wonders if the Cubs might be willing to let Mike Quade manage in 2012, because Rays’ manager Joe Maddon, among others, is a free agent after 2012. Then again, what if the Rays let Maddon talk to teams now? Rogers also wonders if the Cubs would take a run at him – he’d be awfully expensive.
  • If Quade hopes to stay, here’s his 2011 rap sheet, which he can use to “debrief” Theo Epstein.
  • Speaking of managers, Epstein is complimentary of Ryne Sandberg, but says it’s too early to talk about him as a managerial candidate (like, duh – Mike Quade is still the manager, right?). “Ryne Sandberg obviously was a great Cub, great player, great guy by all accounts, but he’s a Philadelphia Phillie,” Epstein said. “He’s a Triple-A manager. It would be just so premature for us to talk about [Sandberg as a managerial candidate].”
  • Chris Carpenter added another two scoreless innings in the AFL, and a few more strikeouts. He’s once again showing no reason not to consider him for a bullpen spot out of Spring Training next year.
  • Draft bonuses (i.e., “hard slotting”) is the only major issue remaining in baseball’s labor talks. Emperor Selig wants hard slotting, and the Player’s Association does not. I’d expect a resolution soon, and probably in favor of the players (which, to remind you, is good for teams like the Cubs, who are willing to spend big on the draft).
  • hansman1982

    I guess I see the Boston compensation issue as more of an issue on who else is coming with Theo than as compensation for Theo…

  • The Big Mustafa

    I like the part when Theo signs with the Cubs.

  • Fishin Phil

    Thought this might make a bullet today: “Epstein not necessarily giving up on Soriano”

    I don’t think Soriano fits the plan at all.  Rather, I think this is a case of Epstein talking up a piece he may try to move, instead of running him down in the media.

    My, what a novel approach!

    • Brett

      Full article, not a bullet. :)

      (Ditto Epstein’s thoughts on Zambrano, and Ramirez’s recent comments.)

  • pfk

    Brett, glad you picked up on and wrote about the articles by Telander and De Luca. There are some good sports writers in Chicago but overall, for the 3rd biggest market in the country, Chicago is loaded with poor writers. Not to be pandering but BN is not only alot of fun and entertaining but it is very insightful and extremely well written. Telander is a very good investigative journalist but a brutal daily columnist. De Luca is just plain poor. Rosenbloom (who has now reversed his course and stopped calling Ricketts the “Fan Boy Owner” in not only a jerk but has no command of the English language. Wiitenmyer hasn’t a clue and Rogers is just average. Sullivan is decent as is Muskat. Hough is a very good writer even if I disagree with his opinion. How Morrissey has such a high profile is beyond me. Truth be known, New York’s writers aren’t much better. It seems to be a dying art.

    • hansman1982

      I am now of the belief that most of the guys in sports “journalism” now were jocks in high school and never grew out of being a 16 year old idiot.  I have a sincere distaste for all things “Jim Rome-esque”

      • Ron

        Amen, that is why this place is different. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it exactly but that is it. I can’t stand Jim Rome and almost everything has trended that direction lately. But not here. Good on you Brett.

        • Brett

          Thanks, gents. If I ever start to veer in that direction, I expect you to put me in my place.

          • hardtop

            just don’t start calling your “followers” derogatory names and you should be alright. it starts with shitting on your fans, and then its all down hill…the next thing you know, you are annoying container of feminine hygiene fluid.

            • Jason

              Well said, pfk. You forgot to mention the radio media though, which may be even worse than the written media. I think they do kegstands during commercial breaks. And talk about drama queens – most of them sound like they’re an eyelash away from stepping off the ledge.

          • hansman1982

            How about this, give me the banhammer and if you ever starting becoming feminie hygiene product-y then I can bring it down upon you.

  • Brian

    “And then there’s Dan Bernstein, making decent points about the attitudes Cubs fans should have in this new era, but doing so in a condescending, smug, angry tone that destroys any of the credibility his points might have earned.”

    Well said indeed.

  • Edwin

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing Zambrano in the Cubs rotation next year. I know there are locker room issues with Zambrano, and everyone thinks it’s a foregone conclusion that he is gone no matter what. I just think that if people are smart, and realize that Zambrano will always be who he is, and stop trying to change him all the time, he can still pitch for the Cubs.

    Zambrano is still an average pitcher, and his salary is a sunk cost. Even if the Cubs eat some of his contract, I don’t see them I don’t need Zambrano to be a good teammate. I don’t need him to give Carlos Marmol a hug every game. I don’t need Zambrano to do any anger management or anything. He can be as angry as he wants. If anything he pitched better earlier in his career when he wasn’t trying to control his inner fury. All I want is to see less Doug Davis and Rodrigo Lopez in next year’s starting rotation. It’s just one more year.

  • Cedlandrum

    Anyone know what has happened to Bruce Miles? He has been absent from the DH for a while now. His blog and this one were the two best going.

    • Brett

      I don’t. I’ve reached out to him a number of times on Twitter, and, where he’d replied in the past, he has not of late. It could be a hiatus or vacation, or it could be that, as suggested by the paywall, the Herald is in trouble. Either way, it’s a bummer. I’d like his take on all of this.

      • Cedlandrum

        I wonder if he is on the move and has to stay quiet for a while or something. Either way I hope he finds his way in the Chicago market, because he is the best at what he does, hands down. Thanks for the response Brett.

        • Brett

          Yup, I’m a big fan. I genuinely considered reaching out to see if he’d considering writing for BN, even if just on a guest basis. Hard to know when that sounds presumptuous, though.

  • jstraw

    Quade managing in 2012? No. HELL no.

  • Jason

    “They’re smart and well-educated”

    Wait a minute, we’re hiring intelligent people with the ability to analyze and be creative to run our organization? I will not stand for that under any circumstances – bring back Jim Hendry immediately!

    Yet another reason to loathe the Chicago sports media – as much as I would love to see what that idiot said, I refuse to click on the webpage

    • Brett

      You’re Jason McLeod, aren’t you?

      • TWC

        McLeod…  I love the fact that we have a Highlander in our front office now.

        There can be only ONE!

        • Bails17

          Love it!!!  That must mean that the sensation I have been feeling is the quickening!!

          • Fishin Phil

            There can be only one.

      • Jason

        LOL – I wish!!

  • dreese

    2 to 3 years is what i was expecting to be competitive again. Its going to take awhile to get thing this team back together

  • Lou

    Bernstein the fraud. Here’s Bernstein’s logic. Don’t have emotions or romantic notions about the game of baseball. (By the way, a major selling point to the casual fan.) Go to games based on the team’s winning percentage not the venue. So, if the Cubs won the World Series we could move them to the Illinois State University campus and have them play in the dome there–and PEOPLE WOULD SELL THAT PLACE OUT! Right. This comes from a man who would berate a caller for stating the Cubs could do what the Rays could do, if need be with a smaller payroll, because of the front office in place. Bernstein idiot response–the Rays “have a short margin for error.” Yeah, and I LOVE watching games at the Trop, even on tv :)

  • Alex


    Bernstein being condescending and smug in his article isn’t anything new. We all know this is how he is on the radio everyday.

  • Dave

    I really dont get why owners would demand hard slotting.  Being able to spend on the draft and international free agency (which I assume will still exist) will (theoretically) stock your system with talented players under team control which would (theoretically) keep you from needing to give out $100,000,000 to grab a big free agent on the decline.

    • Brett

      Indeed – I guess, in practice, however, it doesn’t play out that way. Smaller market clubs spend big in the first two rounds – because they have to, picking early and all – and then not much after. There are exceptions (Rays, notably).

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