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.