If the Cubs are going to keep up the pace of news, announcements and press conferences through November, they’re going to have to find someone else to fire – because I reckon next week will be taken up with a hiring.
- The Cubs and Red Sox will have at least another week to settle their Theo Epstein compensation dispute, despite the imposition of a “soft” November 1 deadline by Commissioner Selig. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it was the initial focus of the bullets yesterday morning. The Sun-Times had the scoop, but apparently deemed it so unimportant that it was treated as a mere footnote to an article focused on other topics. It took until last evening for other sources to confirm, at which point it blew up into a big story. Gotta know what you have, Sun-Times.
- On the subject of that compensation, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington – who got the job, mind you, only because Epstein left – said something strange. “We were still in a position of having a really good team in 2012. [Epstein] was under contract. And then we had a manager leaving, we had a manager search going on. There was a lot of things that were going on … that made him leaving perhaps challenging. And so I think that’s where our ownership feels we need to be compensated.” Um, what? The reason the Red Sox should be compensated for an employee leaving for a promotion is because the timing was bad for them? Surely, sir, you must be joking. At least now the Red Sox are being honest about what we’ve suspected for weeks: they’re putting the screws to the Cubs because of their own crappy situation. Are you listening, Mr. Selig?
- Theo Epstein has already reached out to Greg Maddux to gauge his interest in continuing to have a role with the Cubs’ organization going forward. Maddux was a special assistant under Jim Hendry last year, but has been dealing with family health issues of late. I’m only speculating, but it’s easy to imagine that Maddux would be more willing to stay on – or even increase his role in the organization – if his brother, Mike, were hired as manager. Of course, I like Mike Maddux on his own credentials – I’m just saying the continued services of Greg would be a nice bonus.
- Aramis Ramirez won the Silver Slugger award for third base in the National League. The award, which honors the best bats in the game, was Ramirez’s first. I’m sure the Cubs letting Ramirez know he won the award a day after telling the world he wouldn’t be back with the team wasn’t awkward at all.
- Three members of Mike Quade’s coaching staff have contracts for 2012: hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, bench coach Pat Listach, and bullpen coach Lester Strode. Each is being allowed to look around at other options while the Cubs conduct their managerial search – whether any will return next year is going to be up to the new manager, as well as Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein.
- Speaking of coaches, Ryne Sandberg says Theo Epstein did not discuss a coaching job with the Cubs when he called Sandberg to inform Ryno that he wasn’t up for the Cubs’ managerial gig. I doubt anyone believes it would be a great idea to have Sandberg – an icon whom many fans and media members want to be the Cubs’ manager – sitting just over the shoulder of the next manager.
- New Cubs’ GM Jed Hoyer finds his front office roots in fantasy baseball. Apparently, in the early days of the “sport,” Hoyer was something of a prodigy, ripping off older members of the league in trades as a 13-year-old. My fantasy football teams are regularly awesome, so I can only assume this means that, in 15 years, I’ll be running the Bears.
- Chris Carpenter continues to rack up the strikeouts in the Arizona Fall League, though he also gave up a couple runs in his most recent outing yesterday. Another top relief prospect, Jeff Beliveau, got his first work in the AFL after pitching for Team USA in the Pan Am Games. He struck out one in a scoreless inning. Josh Vitters had a couple hits and a couple RBI, playing first base.
- Oh, good. Albert Pujols has a statue. I wonder if the statute will stay up long after this, from CNBC’s Darren Rovell: “There will be no team signed Cardinals WS ball available for fans. Pujols wanted too much, made ball cost prohibitive.”