Some Saturday bullets for your consumption…

  • Bruce Levine guesses that the managerial candidates rank this way in the minds of the Cubs: (1) Sandy Alomar, Jr., (1a) Mike Maddux, (3) Pete Mackanin, (4) Dale Sveum. I’d flip Maddux and Alomar, and then flip Sveum and Mackanin. Guesses are just guesses, after all.
  • Most people are guessing we won’t have a resolution on the manager search until the end of next week, or the week after. The primary reason: interviews just concluded, and there are GM meetings next week for the first part of the week.
  • Speaking of those meetings, Theo and Jed will be meeting with other front office members in Milwaukee starting on Monday. “We’ve had a number of conversations about free agents and about trade targets,” Hoyer said. “I think for both Theo and for me, it’s exciting to go up to Milwaukee and start having face-to-face conversations with different teams about our guys. I’ve been trying to make as many GM phone calls as I can so I can have some pre-GM meeting discussions. It’ll be interesting to see what idea the other teams have, what players they have interest in, because we haven’t had this as members of the Cubs yet.”
  • At those meetings, Theo will probably talk to Red Sox GM Ben Cherington about the outstanding compensation issue.
  • Theo has had a quick phone chat with Carlos Zambrano, who is pitching in Venezuela this Winter (and is scheduled to make his second start today), but the two are planning to meet in person at some point soon.
  • Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, 24, has been rescued in Venezuela. He is safe and healthy, and we’re all relieved. To his kidnappers: you’re worthless pieces of crap, and I hope you rest uncomfortably in prison for decades.
  • Given how well Bryan LaHair is hitting in Venezuela, interest in him from Japanese teams is only going to increase. The Cubs hold LaHair’s rights, so they don’t have to do anything until after Spring Training, but they may feel compelled on a personal level to make a decision about his likelihood of being on the roster next year sooner rather than later.
  • Commensurate with the release of their new logo and uniforms, word leaked that the Miami Marlins have made “substantial” offers to free agents Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes. They’ve also reportedly made offers to pitchers Mark Buehrle and Ryan Madson. Did I mention that Fish released their ridiculous new logo and uniforms yesterday? Timing is everything.
  • The Other Matt

    Aside from signing a major name, how can LaHair not get an opportunity? I can’t imagine another one year deal for a stopgap first baseman when it appears LaHair can do every bit as well.

    • Kyle

      The Pacific Coast League has a long history of making guys look a lot better than they are, especially veteran sluggers.

      Quick quiz of four Iowa seasons from a slugging 1b/LF veteran minor leaguer:
      .316 .389 .630
      .343 .387 .614
      .331 .405 .664
      .307 .399 .664

      One of those is LaHair’s 2011. The other three are Julio Zuleta. Can you tell which is which without looking it up? :)

      I wouldn’t hate him as a cheap pinch-hitting option of the bench (I’ve always thought teams underestimate the value of a pure power PHer in a bench role), but he has done nothing to make me think he can be an everyday starter. He can’t hit lefties, he can’t play defense, and he’s not a good enough slugger to overcome those two facets without the PCL park factors propping him up.

      • JulioZuleta

        Dont hate

        • BetterNews

          we dont hate—But when we debate, we have our facts straight.

          You Birds are done, as in well done!

          Go Cubs Go! We are “rolling”!

  • Cliffy

    Bruce Levine speculating that the Cubs will trade Soto for pitching and possibly then bring in Jason Varitek as backup catcher/quasi coach for Castillo or Clevenger.

    • Brett

      Great stuff. Thanks, R.O. (Resource Officer) Cliffy. The Soto rumors are going to swirl quite a bit this Winter (as they should).

      • Larry

        If the Cubs do trade Soto, what teams are looking for a catcher and what pitchers might they target in return?

        • Brett

          Quite a few teams would like to add a catcher like Soto (Rays are the first that come to mind). I’d have to think on it.

          • hogie

            I heard that one of the top priorities for the Dodgers was to get a catcher, but I don’t know what they have for pitchers that would be traded.

          • Lou

            Good call Brett. Rays are actively shopping Wade Davis. Would like to see him in starting rotation for 2012?

            • BetterNews

              Davis is signed through 2014 I believe with a 15-17 option.

              Don’t see anything happening there.

              • Lou
                • BetterNews

                  Lou–Thanks for link. I would also like to hear Bretts opinion on this one. I would say Go Cubs Go on this one, but
                  with Dempster coming back is this workable as his contract
                  is “tipping” the boat so-to-speak.

                  I guess this also depends on what happens with Zambrano. Zambrano is the better
                  pitcher, is owed plenty of dough, and is national league proven.

                  • Lou

                    I don’t know if I think of it as “tipping the boat.” According to Cots, Davis’ contract is rather favorable. He’s owed $1.2 mil for 2012, $2.8 for 2013, and $4.8 for 2014, with club options for 2015-2017. Don’t know his advanced metrics, but if the Cubs can’t afford Davis, should we really be going after FA starting pitching?

                    • BetterNews

                      Yes. I don’t know what I was thinking.
                      I thought Davis was in the 5-8 mil range.

                      I say go get him if they dont ask for too much
                      in prospects.

    • Katie

      Cliffy, I’m fine with that. I’ve had a chance to watch Castillo down here on the farm and he’s decent. Soto needs to go.

    • Kyle

      I guess it depends on the pitcher. Soto is in the process of leaving his cheap years, and I do like the idea of giving Castillo a chance on the cheap so we can focus more money elsehwere. But Soto is still a valuable asset and I hate to sell low on him coming off a bad year.

    • hogie

      Castillo’s defense is SOOOO bad though, I would not want to rely on him as a starter to begin his pro career unless he does some serious work over the offseason.

  • Todd

    I’m looking at the candidate rankings the same way as Levine. I don’t see the Sveum appeal.

    Anyone worried about the Red Sox trying to nab the best candidate before the Cubs? I’m not. I just don’t get the feeling that the candidates look at the Boston gig as the best one out there. There’s been speculation on this site, and many others, that the gutless scapegoating of Francona and Crawford would make free-agents/managers shy away from Boston, and I agree with that.

    • Brett

      I could be kidding myself, but I genuinely believe that if I’m one of these guys, fandom aside, the Cubs job looks SO much more attractive to me, even considering the rosters.

      • Todd

        I agree. When juxtaposed, the Cubs job appears to have all the resources, with more upside. With that said, do you see Boston moving quickly on Alomar if he’s head and shoulders above the others?

      • Kyle

        If I’m a managerial candidate, I’d be pretty Machiavellian at it. You have relatively little influence on the team’s wins and losses, but you are primarily judged by them. You are especially judged by a difference between what was expected and what actually happened. Plus, the longer you manage to stick around, the more you have the “proven manager” label and that helps your chances of getting future jobs.

        I’d also want to maximize my career as a manager, where I’ll be making tons more money than I ever could as a coach.

        In Boston, I’d get some immediate wins, but I wouldn’t get a lot of credit for them because of expectations. I have a brutal fight for a playoff spot each season. I would have a great shot at winning a World Series, but that doesn’t seem to buy a manager as much time as you’d think (see Brenly, Francona, etc.)

        With the Cubs, there’s a chance I’d get Quade’d and saddled with a bad team that I couldn’t do anything about. But given the division and the payroll, I’d also have a chance for a quick winner, at which point I get double credit because the team won and wasn’t necessarily expected to. That should buy me several years, at least.

        • Todd

          I tend to agree with you, Kyle. If I were under consideration for these jobs, it would be hard not to accept the first one that was offered to me. In the grand scheme of things, they’re both wonderful job opportunities (along with the Cardinals gig).

  • Iain

    So is the Francona thing over with then?

    • Brett

      Not officially, but it feels like it’s pulling that direction.

  • hansman1982

    Right now I would say I agree with Levine that my choices are Alomar 1a, Maddux 1b, then Sveum 2a, the other dude somewhere near 534.

    The bad part is that the Marlins will probably land a few top FA’s and then win the WS in 2012 before starting another 5 year decent into oblivion where they throw something together for a year and win the WS.  Bastards.

    • CubFan Paul

      maddux should be 1B in levine’s article, not 1a when Alomar is 1 being picky but where’s his editor?

      • Brett

        Eh, I’m not sure I agree. Going from 1 to 1B skips 1A. You’re assuming that “1” is the same thing as “1A,” which I think it *could* be, but it’s really a matter of taste.

  • bacboris

    I’ll be honest, before the whole interview process I thought Sveum was the best available candidate. After the interviews, I (like many others im sure) were sold on Maddux.

    I have to ask though, where is all this love for Alomar coming from? There is nothing in his managerial background or in his stock interview questions that inspires much confidence. I mean, I legitimately would like to know what other people are looking at. Is it the player experience? Speaking Spanish? I really don’t get it.

    He strikes me as a perfect mets or marlins skipper of the late 90’s. He ‘goes with his gut’ and feels his way around situations. That’s all well and good for a player but when the clubhouse breaks down, (especially like Lou’s last year with reports of Aram and Zambrano turning the team into a bunch of malcontents and cliques), I don’t want a manager who throws out platitudes like Alomar seems to. In my mind, a manager who doesn’t do their statistical due diligence and is aloof enough to let ‘players manage themselves’ is a recipe for disaster.

    • Lou

      I suppose that’s correct but then again there are lots of player managers out there in the game that are or were successful. People forget Francona took the Sox to a WS. Ron Washington, clearly a players manager, took the Rangers to two. Bochy a players manager won the WS with the Giants–so success can be achieved without a dictatorial, edgy managerial style. I think it speaks more to the players the Cubs, in the past, have committed on their roster, which is why Jed and Theo have offered the concept of accountability and players having each others’ backs. Somehow, I don’t think Aramiz or Zambrano are about that, regardless of the manager. Remember when Pinella first came to the Cubs, he came here with the reputation as a “tough guy” manager.

  • Lou

    HaHa. One of the ads here says you can win a trip to Miami from McDonalds — to see the logo and new uniforms for the first time in person and go color blind.

  • Oswego Chris

    Brett, I didn’t know the Venezuelan kidnappers were BN users?…BN is really branching out internationally!

    “Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, 24, has been rescued in Venezuela. He is safe and healthy, and we’re all relieved. To his kidnappers: you’re worthless pieces of crap, and I hope you rest uncomfortably in prison for decades.”

    of course it would have to be translated…I imagine a Venezuelan prison wold not be very accomadating.

    great job on the bullets as usual…


  • CubSouth

    My only request is that the new manager does not at all, under any circumstances, use shorthand for the names of his players!!!

    • EtotheR

      Isn’t that annoying, CuSo?

      • Ol’CharlieBrown


  • die hard

    would Sotos numbers improve if moved to 1B or 3B?

  • johnbres2

    what is the difference between the meetings in Milwaukee this coming week and the baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas in December?

    • Brett

      I actually don’t know, other than to speculate that the Winter Meetings are more fully-attended by agents, other executives, etc. This might be a preliminary kind of thing – though I don’t expressly remember this November set of meetings being an annual thing.

      • Lou

        Well, isn’t one difference that the Hall of Fame committee votes during GM meetings, not that that couldn’t be moved. I suppose it’s a procedural difference.

  • Cheryl

    I aggree with Matt. Give LaHair a chance. They may even be forced to with the way he’s playing in Venezuela. Concentrate on pitching during the free agency period.

    • Toosh

      The free agency period is now. Teams may sign FAs as they choose and their payrolls allow.

  • rocky8263

    The Milwaukee meetings are also know as “sausagefest”.

    • Brett

      I approve of this joke.

    • Incredibad


  • BetterNews

    Brett—Going by developments yesterday, and the reports I’ve read, seems
    the managerial slot is officially at 5 interviewees and nobody else will
    be interviewed.

    It also seems Francona is a lock, unless he was to refuse the job.
    Based on his statement yesterday(He’d love to manage the Cubs)
    he is the man—-What say you?

    Theo said he does not even need to be interviewed.
    Hoyer did say they were only considering 4, but that is because
    Francona is “exempt” from the process.

  • Brian Peters

    BetterNews: So, just because Tito says he’d love to manage the Cubs, that means Theo is going to give him the job? That makes NO sense. You’re paying attention to what Francona has said, but you apparently don’t remember what Theo said (i.e., he doesn’t want Chicago to turn into the “Boston Show.”). IF Francona gets the job, it won’t be because he wants it… will be because Theo wants him to have it, which the majority on this site don’t see happening. I mean, if Theo wanted Tito to have the job, he would have already brought him on board.

  • BetterNews

    Brian—Tito was having reservations at first, for whatever reasons.
    He seems to have decided he’s good with it, and Theo was quite clear
    when he said he(Francona) does not even need to be intervied if
    he were interested. To me that is case “closed”.

  • BetterNews

    Brian—So if you lend any credence to what Theo said(and I remind you , he is in charge)
    It makes all the “sense” in the world!

  • Brian Peters

    Brett, PLEASE help me out with this one. Better, you really need to expand your horizons. Theo does not want his experience at the Cubs to be a carbon copy of his Boston days. Of course he said Francona does not have to interview for the job (BECAUSE HE KNOWS HIM SO WELL), but that in no way means Francona is going to get the job just because he doesn’t have to interview. I want all this to come to end so people will stop jumping to conclusions. I’m not the most logical person in the world, but I consult SEVERAL sources before I try and guess what someone is going to say or do. NONE of them say he’s even in the top three of POTENTIAL Cub managers. And before you post some comment about “well, he’s not one of the people Theo interviewed, so he wouldn’t be in the top three,” understand that I KNOW that. I’m talking about those who mention Tito as a POTENTIAL Cub manager. Geez, I need a drink!

    • BetterNews

      Brian—So what exactly are you implying?

      Are you implying that when Theo said he does not need to
      interview for the job it was because he wouldn’t be considered?

      That’s nonsense.

      Brett—-Please “help” me on this one, as Brian is forcing me to more
      than one drink!

      Who are your sources, Brian?

  • Brian Peters

    S.O.S., Brett!!! Twelve years of teaching, and I just can’t get through.

    • BetterNews

      Brian—If you’ve taught for twelve years, so should know
      to quote your sources. I see some good points you bring up
      but no mention of the sources you base your opinion on.

      No disrespect, just saying.

      • MichiganGoat

        Do you prefer MLA or APA citations?

        • BetterNews

          MG—Some kind of reference, a particular article, person, web site,
          SOMETHING! Before going off on a “tangent”, Brian should
          have something in hand.

  • Cheryl

    It would seem that they’d rather get the managerial position done with rather than string it out over the Milwaukee meetings. They may have already made an offer and are awaiting the results.

  • Brian Peters

    This is unbelievable. I have a Master’s degree in communications, Better News, so I’ve done my fair share of reading and deciphering texts (and I’m not talking about texts you find on your cell phone either). I have scoured the internet using several key word searches, looking at the Cubs’ opening from several angles, and while it is true that Francona would love to reunite with Epstein, and while it is true that such a reunion COULD take place, by most accounts, it is highly unlikely because, as I have said COUNTLESS times by now, Theo does not want the Cubs to turn into the “Boston Show.” I don’t know why you can’t understand Theo’s reasoning. Let’s put it this way: IF Francona came to Chicago, and IF they won the World Series in, say, 2015, what do you do you think outsiders would say….especially those from Boston?

    Now, as to your circular logic that presupposes that I implied that Theo would not need to interview Francona because he (Francona) would not be interested in the job, THAT makes absolutely no sense. If you would read my COMPLETE posts like I suffer through yours, you would realize that I already pointed out that Theo does not need to interview him because he knows Tito so well….actually, in Theo’s words: “I know him like the back of my hand.”

    • BetterNews

      I have a BA in Engineering so one might say you trump me in education,
      and I say “might”, but what does that have to do “throwing” out
      and opinion, as you did, and saying your sources are better than
      everybody elses. You have presented no “evidence” to back up any
      of your claims! Do you have “inside” connections?

      Please explain.

      • TWC

        I have a WGAF/TA* degree.  Say your piece and get out.  Quit beating dead horses and straw men.

        *who gives a fuck/tedious argument

        • hansman1982

          To sum this argument up for everyone:

          Brian Peters: I am very professional

          BetterNews: You are acting like a baby

          Brian Peters: I am not a baby, I am a man, an anchorman

          BetterNews: You’re not a man, your a joke.  A big fat joke.

        • hogie

          Spoken like a true BN vet

      • Lou

        I have a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration with Bachelors degree in Communications–so in a round-about way I’m trumping you both. 😉

      • Cheryl

        This bit about education doesn’t matter. I could top you all with three masters degrees including a masters in communication. Nor does it matter if you’re an anchor. I have over ten years experience in newspapers. So, when it comes right down to BN the one who carries the ball and does a darn good job of it is Brett. As far as I’m concerned all that matters is you contribute like most of the BN veterans.

        • Lou

          Well, I wasn’t kidding about my education but my post was actually done in jest….so….um….yeah I agree.

        • BetterNews

          Cheryl—I would respond to that wholeheartedly but there are members
          of BN that don’t like my humor and are just waiting to accuse me of
          being sexist again. Not going there.

          So…UM….I have to agree also.

          • MichiganGoat

            Th better choice would have been to not respond to that comment at all, but I’m glad your listening

  • Brian Peters

    The sources are all over the place…..espn chicago, cubs website, google theo epstein, the score, Red Sox web site, Cardinals web site, google tito, etc., etc. We’ll see what happens when THEO makes the call. If it’s Tito (which God help us if it is), then I will say i was wrong. Will you do the same if one of the folks Theo is taking HIS time to interview when he could just go ahead and pick Tito lands the job?

    • BetterNews

      Brian—Yes I will

      I would just like to add one more point and we can move on.

      Theo can’t come out and say Tito was the man all along.
      That would be “PR” suicide, you and I both know that, come on.

      • MichiganGoat

        Seriously do you see the other comments. TIRESOME.

  • hansman1982

    good to see the evening BN crowd out in full force…

  • MichiganGoat

    Okay Brian and BetterNews you’ve both clearly made your well thought out points, and now it’s approaching the realm of arguement which will lead to TIRESOME (see BN Lexicon).

    • Katie

      I heart Michigan Goat, hansman, and TWC. That is all.

  • Brian Peters

    Have a nice night everybody.

  • Cheryl

    I’m beginning to wonder if Alomar is the favorite. While I like Maddux, would Theo want to hire one Maddux and then feel obligated to hire Greg? I’m not sying Greg isn’t good, but it is unusual to think about two Madduxs working in tandem.

  • Rancelot

    In other Better News…;)

    Per Rotoworld:

    Carlos Zambrano yielded three runs over six innings Saturday in the Venezuelan Winter League. Big Z struck out five but walked two batters.

    • BetterNews

      I’d like to start a BN poll on whether Zambrano should be considered back
      on the team. Some seem to think yes.

      Brett, if you catch this comment, maybe you could start an “official”
      vote by BN on why the think/don’t think Zambrano should be welcomed back.

      For now, I am interested on comments regarding the “Z’ issue.

      • MichiganGoat

        I think that horse has been beaten enough, something like that is message board material

  • BetterNews

    MG—I am on here a lot, but not always. Seriously, what did most
    BN memembers think on this issue. I dont want re-hash old news
    if a majority opinion was formed—Please elaborate on what the
    results where.

  • ACS

    Big z should be gone he has done enough damage in that clubhouse over the years. Francona has to be considered a front runner for the cubs job.

  • BetterNews

    ACS—I agree on both points.