Stung by the memory of the Chicago Cubs casually sliding out a press release announcing Theo Epstein as the team’s new President of Baseball Operations after 10pm ET on a Friday night last month, I am not particularly interested in being asleep the next time the Cubs announce big news. So, last night, when I had a sense that some managerial news might be breaking late, I forced myself to get up every couple hours (easier to do once a baby has trained you) and check in to see if anything had broken. By 2am, the Dale Sveum stuff had come sufficiently together to merit a post. I mean, I couldn’t fairly call it an “obsessive watch” if I didn’t do that, right?

  • Dave Kaplan hears that Kerry Wood will indeed be coming back to pitch for the Cubs in 2012 – and possibly 2013, too, as he might get a two-year deal from the Cubs. The financial side of things remains to be seen, but I fully expect Theo and Jed to stand by their “you pay for future performance” thing, despite what would be a totally excusable desire to “reward” Wood for all that he’s done for the Cubs.
  • The story coming out of Boston is that Dale Sveum is likely going to the Cubs, so count that as further confirmation. As you know, these things can change on a dime, so I’ll wait for the official word to declare it a fait accompli (and do a mini-squeal). ESPN says Sveum won’t accept until he hears whether the Red Sox want to make him an offer, which is suppose is the pragmatic thing to do. As I noted overnight, the Red Sox have said that they might be expanding their search – doesn’t sound like they’re planning on making Sveum an offer any time soon.
  • Terry Francona has kind words for Sveum. “Players love him and they should,” Francona said Wednesday on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000. “I played with him actually in Milwaukee. He’s kind of a players’ player. He does things right. He’s solid.”
  • Someone must have thrown up the columnist dunce signal when Theo Epstein met with Carlos Zambrano earlier this week, because Steve Rosenbloom and Rick Telander emerged from their respective caves (I’m being a bit unfair by putting Telander in the same category as Rosenbloom) to expound on Epstein’s position that Z can “earn his way back” onto the Cubs. Rosenbloom, predictably and embarrassingly, dumps on Epstein for publicly declaring that Z could work his way back onto the Cubs. And Telander compares Zambrano to Snoop Dogg (whom I’m shocked Telander doesn’t call “Snoopy Dog Dog”) with all the convincing hipness of your grandma on a skateboard.
  • Carrie Muskat says a group from the Cubs, led by Jason McLeod, will be observing Cuban free agent Yoenis Cespedes in the Dominican Republic today, though I’m told that observation took place yesterday (and Cespedes looked good, as did fellow Cuban prospect, Jorge Soler). Maybe it’s carrying on today, too? Or maybe yesterday was a public observation, and today is a private workout? The Red Sox, led by GM Ben Cherington, are scheduled to observe Cespedes today, as well.
  • The Astros’ sale to Jim Crane will be approved by MLB owners today, and everyone knows this because it turns out Crane was told his purchase would be approved only if he agreed to move the Astros to the AL West in 2013. He agreed, so the owners agreed, so it’s happening. Crane will get a 10% off coupon to use on the purchase price in exchange for the move.
  • Mike Quade did not win the NL Manager of the Year award (Kirk Gibson took it home), but does show up on a list for the worst NL managers of the year. On Quade: “Flawed roster? Yes. Injuries? Sure. But Quade was still pretty overmatched and appeared to lose control of his locker room by July. This was coming from a guy many players endorsed prior to the season.”
  • Mark McGwire will stay on as Cardinals’ hitting coach after the hiring of new manager, Mike Matheny. Pitching coach/lead voodoo master Dave Duncan will also stay on.
  • Jeff Beliveau threw a couple scoreless innings and DJ LeMahieu had a couple hits yesterday in the AFL. LeMahieu leads the league in at bats, so his team must think he’s doing something right. He’s hitting .309/.380/.398, which is decent but not great for the league, and has been playing all over the diamond.
  • Cliffy

    QT @nickcafardo: In the Globe: Red Sox seek significant compensation from Cubs for Epstein –

    Old story but renewed intensity = re-action to possibly losing Sveum

    • Brett

      Yeah, I’ll be writing about that later today. So ridiculous.

    • Bails17

      What a bunch of Boston Tools!!

    • JasonB

      I seek an unclothed encounter with Mila Kunis – that doesn’t mean that it’ll happen.

      • Internet Random

        … not with that attitude.

      • JulioZuleta

        Watching a certain scene from Black Swan repeatedly is the best most of us can hope for.

        • CubFan Paul

          i have that movie on my dvr but havnt had the desire to watch it any good/worth my time? spoilers please

          • JulioZuleta

            Never seen it, other than a certain “romantic” scene between Mila Kunis and…uhhh…another hollywood star. It is my obligation as a man to encourage, if not demand, that you watch at least that part.

            • CubFan Paul

              Mila kunis definitely does ‘it’ for me, so i’ll watch it this weekend (gotta wait for my gf) ..hopefully its not to chick flick-ish

              • JulioZuleta

                Let me just say that the “other hollywood star” will not disappoint.

            • chris margetis

              Black Swan should have won the Oscar for best picture based on that scene alone…

    • hansman1982

      I also saw a tweet from Jon Heyman last night at said the Red Sox and Cubs have a new rivalry…not sure what to say on that one other than I just want the Red Sox upper-management to suddenly find Jesus, become mormon’s and go on their vision quest

      • Toosh

        Hard to be rivals if not in the same division, league or city.

  • Smitty

    ESPN Insider is throwing out ideas of trades possiblities if Phillies trade Cole Hamels.
    They suggest the Cubs as a possible partner if they send Jackson, Cashner, and Lake. Would you make this trade? I would definitely make this move considering Hamels is a know commodity, and the other 3 are not. It would sting to lose Cashner but I would be fine losing the other two.

    • Brett

      If the Cubs had a window to re-sign Hamels to a long-term deal, I’d think about it. Without that, no way.

    • Kyle

      I love Brett Jackson, am ambivalent on Cashner, and skeptical on Lake. Giving up that package for the right player wouldn’t upset me too much, but it’d have to be a genuinely awesome player.

      Jackson is a very good bet to be at least an average starting CFer immediately, and you get him for less than $500k the next three years. If you trade him and go out and buy a CFer, you’ll have to pay 10-20 times that. Near-ready prospects such as Jackson are worth their weight in gold. Cashner is in a similar boat, but there’s a bigger risk that he can’t perform.

      Hamels is only team control for one more year, and you are going to have to pony up for a huge contract to get him to stay. You can’t even consider that trade unless you are ready to sign him to a huge contract, and if you are going to do that, why not go after a FA pitcher and keep your valuable young players?

      I love Hamels, but that’s way too much for one year of him, or if he wants a market-value deal to sign long-term. If he’s willing to sign a team-friendly extension, then maybe.

    • CubFan Paul

      three Top 15 Prospects for a guy that’ll command $15-$20million a year? No f’n way is that worth it ..two Top 30 Prospects maybe but not Cashner & BJax in the same deal ..Lake, Cash & BJax in the same deal would be unprecedented and highway robbery

    • Luke

      If Hamels agrees to a long term, cost controlled contract in advance of the deal… maybe. I tend to suspect that Hamels will test free agency, though.

      So why would the Cubs give up a near-future outfielder, a young pitcher with ace / closer potential, and a very intriguing infielder who could be playing third base in Wrigley in a year when they could just wait a season and sign Hamels while keeping all those guys?

      Trading for Hamels isn’t a bad idea, but a more realistic package might be Dae-Eun Rhee, Junior Lake, and Scott Maine.

      • Brett

        Aaah, come on now. Philly could get a lot more for Hamels than that, extension or no extension.

        • CubFan Paul

          but not much *more* because of their payroll. Philly would only explore a trade because they don’t want a $180million payroll, therefore losing leverage for a super top tier package of prospects.

  • Cliffy

    Reasons why Sveum likely will chose Cubs:

    ● Less pressure to win immediately
    ● The allure of trying to win world series in Chicago
    ● Likely better relationship with upper mgmt no Lucchino
    ● He lives in Arizona offseason, Cubs spring train there
    ● Viewed the treatment of Francona leaving as a negative

  • Cliffy

    Bruce Levine on at 9AM on AM 1000 with update

    • Brett

      Tidbits from the (short) interview:

      -Cubs are waiting to hear back from Sveum.

      -He could theoretically get an offer from the Red Sox, but hasn’t happened yet.

      -Bruce said Maddux might have been the Cubs’ top choice, but thinks there’s a chance he didn’t stick in that position when he wasn’t 100% committed to coming to Chicago (Levine was pretty critical of the “I want to be around my family” explanation – “his daughters are in college”).

      -Getting Sveum doesn’t help get Prince.

      • johnbres2

        I am glad to hear that Levine is being critical of Maddux for those reasons, as most observers would be too polite to even hint at disparaging any “want-to-spend-time-with-my-family” argument. His girls are both in college, exactly. Who then are you home with? Your wife? Can’t you work this out? Really, all this means is that Maddux didn’t want the job to begin with. He appears to be a bit challenged on giving straight answers. As funny as his “Boston is too far away” argument was, it now appears as disingenuous as this “family” argument. He appears to have decided, as do many public figures (which is their right) to give a plausible sounding half-true explanation instead of telling the real reason for something.

        Lurking brightly underneath these factors is the question: why the hell did he take the Cubs’ interview? For the experience of it? To see what it was like to interview for a managerial post? Many of us have submitted resumes to places, and interviewed for jobs we were not sure we wanted, or would even take, for the experience of it, or figuring, I will go as far as I can with this until I really have to make up my mind. But guys at this level in MLB really don’t do this. You don’t waste everyone’s time and effort by interviewing for one of the 30 most coveted jobs in sports if you are not sure you want the job. Of course Maddux had the right to do this; but if you are not all-in mentally, you really aren’t a candidate, so just stay home in Texas with the job you want.

        I have detected nothing from Sveum other than being all-in. Waiting to see what the Red Sox will do before accepting the Cub offer shows a high degree of self-confidence, but I seriously wonder if that rumor is true. Why would the Red Sox be saying they are expanding their search, after each team met with Sveum and the Cubs made an offer? Cherington must suspect he has lost the Sveum-battle with Theo, and he has moved on. If the rumor is true, it means the Red Sox have not told Sveum this. That seems odd. If true, it makes Cherington look like he is in a bit over his head. One feels that perhaps he blinked and did not know what to do, while Theo reeled in Sveum. As you say, it is still all a bit premature, but I do like Levine’s balls to come out and give Maddux the slight critique he deserves in this.

  • Fearbobafett

    In response to kaplan’s comment on “reward” Wood for all he has done for the Cubs, haven’t they already rewarded him by paying 10’s of millions while on the DL?

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Wood and was glad when he was brought back, but come on, the Wood/Cubs relationship has been a Win-Win so far for both.  When the Cubs declined arb on him, it was for business reasons, and there was no way we should have shelled out what would have been an accepted arb deal on his end.  In the long run that helped Wood out as he got to learn a new pitch from one of the best and probably gain several years of a career.


    • Brett

      Kap didn’t say reward. That was my comment on the article. And that’s the point: the Cubs shouldn’t be worried about rewarding him.

  • Chris

    Sawx management has become really irritating. Allegedly Epstein and Cherington are close friends. One wonders whether this impasse is affecting their relationship. Hopefully they’re keeping it professional.

    This is really an odd scenario – if two general managers cannot agree to a normal trade involving your basic tradable asset, then they say good day to each other and move on. However, this is a transaction that “must” happen, despite the disagreement between the parties. I would imagine it to be taxing

    ps, this was in response to the link posted in the comment section. Regarding Brett’s initial post, I’m thrilled at the thought of Wood returning. Even if he wasn’t still an effective pitcher (which he is), there’s something to keeping franchise players around. Varitek has stayed with the Red Sox for many years, Posada with the Yankees, Konerko with the Sox, et al. I was at Kerry’s 20 strikeout game and for that and other reasons he will probably remain my favorite Cub for some time

  • packman711

    What do you think Woody will get per year?

    • Brett

      I can’t imagine it would be more than a couple million per year, given he’s limited to “Cubs or bust.”

  • Sam

    “Rosenbloom, predictably and embarrassingly, dumps on Epstein for publicly declaring that Z could work his way back onto the Cubs.” What does Rosenbloom want Epstein to say, does he want him to say Zambrano sucks dick and we don’t want him on our team anymore? Child please

    • Alex

      I stopped reading Rosenbloom a while back. I am a happier person and much better off without reading his drivel.

      Keeping the campaign alive. Don’t read Rosenbloom!! Don’t click into his blog!

      • Fishin Phil

        The only problem is that sometimes when I google “Cubs News” it just says the source is Chicago Tribune.  If it said “Rosendouche” I would not click on it.  I have accidently read his blog several times after I actively started trying to avoid it.  I always feel the need for a shower afterward.


  • Cliffy

    WEEI is roasting RedSox for how they’ve handled Sveum and basically assuming he will take the Cubs job. They are calling Boston management arrogant.

    • JulioZuleta

      Niice, yeah they really have not handled anything well since the end of the season. We thought with the way they handled the Theo thing that they might scare off front office guys down the road, it may already be happening with managers in Maddux and Sveum.

      • hansman1982

        I LOVE it, the bahstan arrgoance is showing throw, serves em right that they lose out on their top two choices TO THE CUBS.

        Brett,  you need to start floating out the idea of Quade to the Red Sox – see if it can gain some momentum.

  • mac

    Telander is as bad as Rosenbloom. No need to correct yourself, Brett.

  • Spencer

    Is Cherington not in Milwaukee for the GM meetings? Or did those end and now he’s going to the DR to see Yoenis Cespedes?

    • Brett

      My understanding is that the GM meetings wrap up today (early, perhaps?) as the owners meeting starts up. So, either Cherington’s plan is to head to the DR now-ish, or he skipped today altogether.

  • Brian Peters

    Brett, I have just one thing to say to you: My grandma could rock a skateboard like nobody’s business! In fact, Tony Hawk came to HER for lessons. Never underestimate the old folks. LOL

    • Brett

      My bust. :)

  • MightyBear

    Escepedes worked out for the Phillies yesterday and other teams were allowed to watch. I read that he’ll work out for the Cubs today and the Red Sox tomorrow and other teams we’ll be allowed to watch as well.

  • R.I.P. Santo

    why dont Boston give us a break I mean we took Calvin Schiraldi off their hands for gods sake