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One year ago, the Cubs world lost one of its own – Ron Santo. His unique exuberance is missed, and I imagine he’s enjoying this offseason’s changes – in the words of the new guys – “from afar.”

  • Chris Bosio, as expected, has been hired as the Cubs’ new pitching coach, news he broke himself (much like bench coach, Jamie Quirk). Bosio, 48, was the AAA Nashville pitching coach. After his playing days, Bosio was a pitching instructor around the minors, and was the pitching coach for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2003 (under Lou Piniella). He soon after left that position for family/health reasons, and has been working his way back up the chain in the last few years – including a brief, interim stint as the Brewers’ pitching coach in late 2009. An official announcement on Bosio, and the rest of Dale Sveum’s staff, is expected next week.
  • The biggest piece of the coaching puzzle still missing? Sveum really wants to hire Craig Counsell on as a coach, but Counsell isn’t sure he’s done playing baseball quite yet. Counsell, 41, had a .503 OPS last year in 187 plate appearances. It’s time to coach, Craig.
  • You gotta love the hot stove season: not two hours after Troy Renck reported that the Rockies were hoping to land Blake DeWitt from the Cubs in exchange for Ian Stewart, Renck reported that the Rockies didn’t feel like DeWitt was enough (I’d say the odds are good that his report circulated, Rockies officials saw the reactions (yes, of course the Cubs would make that trade (in isolation)), and made sure Mr. Renck had a new story to tell. That story? The Rockies want Tyler Colvin or a minor league pitching prospect of comparable value. Whether or not the Cubs would/should make that deal (probably/probably), the thing on Stewart is this: he’s going to make a fair bit of money next year (~$2.5 to $3M), is surplusage for the Rockies, and might be non-tendered in a week and a half anyway. There isn’t going to be a haul to be had for Stewart from any team. The Cubs would be wise to continue to seek out other 3B options first before potentially settling on Stewart.
  • Various Cubs’ prospects/marginal players continue their Winter league marches, and Bryan LaHair is really struggling since his return to the VWL from a November break – he’s just 2 for his last 15. Among others, lefty reliever Scott Maine – who occasionally made an appearance with the Cubs last year, usually in order to give up a home run (four in just seven innings last year) – is tearing up the DWL: 0.90 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and nine Ks in 10 innings of work.
  • Tom Ricketts on Crane Kenney, whom Ricketts is expected to extend: “I don’t know why the media seems to think that talking about Crane is relevant. He runs the business side of baseball .… I look at it as hey I’ve got I guy here who works very hard, executes well, has built a good team around him, so I’m very comfortable with Crane .… I figure I got him on the business side and Theo on the baseball side and that’s a pretty good darn team.” Shrug. For what it’s worth, that’s always been my attitude about Kenney: unless we’re talking about the business ops, I’m not sure why I’m supposed to care about him.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington is being a good soldier, and telling folks he didn’t really think Dale Sveum was a fit. “I don’t think [Sveum would have been hired at the end of the process],” said Cherington. “I think the way this evolved, as we got deeper into the process, this was a learning experience for me.” I genuinely feel bad for Cherington – well, as bad as you can feel for the GM of a major market team.
  • In the same article, Cherington described the never-ending Theo compensation issue thusly: “It’s like cleaning the garage. You know it’s out there and you’ve got to do it, but you’re going to do everything else first. It’s that thing that you know you have to do at some point, but you’re sort of working on other stuff.” He doesn’t expect MLB to have to become involved.
  • For those who remain unclear on why the CBA changes bother me so much, here’s an anecdote from Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman, which helps demonstrate why:

“I saw what Theo was doing in Boston,” Cashman said. “I had a heart-to-heart with George and I had told ‘The Boss’ I wasn’t going to stay because I didn’t like how we were going about our business.

“I said: ‘Listen, they’re over-slotting in the draft. They’re going to have a great farm system. They’re spending money like we are in free agency. (They’re) going to pass us up.’

“(Steinbrenner) said, ‘Go ahead, man, and you take it over and you do what you think you have to do.’ I basically tried to match everything they were doing to get us back on line.”

  • Spencer

    Why do you feel bad for Cherington? Cause his bosses are idiots?

    • Jeff

      Because he’s one of the bright young minds in baseball, and he’s forced to take the heat for Lucchino now. He’s the new scapegoat in Boston. He had to backtrack on Svuem, he had to endorse Bobby V as his guy, and he will be the man to get blamed if anything goes wrong there now when it is pretty clear that Larry Lucchino and John Henry are making the calls.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        All of the above.

  • Katie

    Because he’s a puppet.

    • BetterNews

      Didn’t answer the question.

    • hansman1982

      Ya, I have a bad feeling that someone who was hyped as a great mind and a potentially great GM is going to get 100% of any bad contracts in his tenure thrown on him while the powers that be in Boston are sure to make it know that the good contracts/players/drafts had their fingerprints all over them, and that is going to ruin his chances to go anywhere.

      Basically, Boston is screwing itself for after Ben leaves because potential GM’s are going to see that they are a GM in name only.

      • BetterNews

        I feel anger.

  • Jeff

    “It’s like cleaning the garage. You know it’s out there and you’ve got to do it, but you’re going to do everything else first. It’s that thing that you know you have to do at some point, but you’re sort of working on other stuff.”

    That, and you’ve got your wife/boss nagging you to get it done.  I really feel bad for him too.  The more this process plays out, the more I feel that Boston shouldn’t get any compensation. Cherington moved into Epstein’s role, and it has become obvious that Lucchino has all the power there.  It’s becoming clear that Theo got a promotion that was never going to come in Boston.  That place has become a mad house.  Am I the only one that thinks that Bobby V sounds like a lunatic when he talks to the medai?

    • BetterNews

      No doubt–They are all going “bonkers” at BoSox filtration!(I like to keep language “toned”)

  • hansman1982

    The article you pulled the Cashman except from was an odd one.  They talked a lot about Theo building an empire here without saying much about Theo building an empire here.

    Additionally, isn’t Counsell the type of player that you hate because he always seems to get a critical bloop hit late in the game against the Cubs and seems to scrap for every hit and play that he makes?  If so, sign him up immediately, that is what the Cubs need.

    • BetterNews

      BetterNews–You talking to me?

  • Jeff

    I was just reading an article on Cub killers at HireJimEssian

    • BetterNews

      O.K>

    • Dougy D

      Just don’t sign Jeff Blauser again!

  • Pat

    It’s hard to really have much of an opinion on Kenney, seeing as it’s rather ambiguous as to what he actually does. Honestly, my guess is not much other than act as a go between with Ricketts and the department heads.

    The only thing I know for sure is his responsibility is getting the triangle building built. Eight years later his record isn’t exactly stellar in that department, unless his directive under the Trib and now Ricketts was to stall the city as long as possible, in which case he’s doing a great job.

    Of course, that’s really on the city for not specifying a date it actually had to be built by. I would have stipulated that if it wasn’t done in five years you lose the additional night games and bleacher occupancy has to go back to pre expansion levels. But we are talking about the government, so I guess it’s no shock they didn’t close the loopholes.

    • BetterNews

      Excellent quest. I don’t think anyone has an answer.(Paper boy witha big title)

    • Ron Swanson

      I think the reason Kenney remains “relevant” is because of the taste many fans and the media still have in their mouths from when Kenney WAS dabbling in the baseball side. Fair or not, it will take a while for many to get over his perceived bumbling ways in areas he had no business being involved in.

      Over time, if he can accomplish the goals Ricketts has for expansion and renovation, his image may be changed. Until then, he will remain a lightening rod for criticism of the old regime.

      • BetterNews

        Swanson—as in dinners? Kenney is irrelavent as your chicken dinner DeLux!

    • hansman1982

      Kenney is like Ricketts, they both have made some bumbling moves in the past and the worst for me was the suite renovation letters that went out.

      Now Ricketts has completely redeemed himself these past 3-4 months so if he wants to keep Kenney on the business side, especially with having a premier head of baseball operations like Theo, I will trust that he knows what he is doing with the business, especially considering the businesses that Tom and other members of the family have built.

  • die hard

    So thats why Cashman suckered Theo into over paying for Crawford. Well, at least Theo learned his lesson and hopefully wont repeat mistake (at least not on such a large scale) with Cubs. By feigning interest in Fielder and Pujols, he may even be trying to pull same trick. But who tricked Theo into signing DeJesus?

    • BetterNews

      Die Hard—Theo vs DeJesus trick, who could have pulled it off?

      • die hard

        Astros come to mind as they knew Theo want to be sure they dont finish ahead of Cubs in 2012 and they knew Theo knows they want to show fans serious about competing under new mngnmnt

        • BetterNews

          What if Cubs finish under Astros?

        • Jeff

          The Astros have nobody in place to sign anyone or negotiate contracts.  I’m not sure anyone else even made an offer to DeJesus.  I think it was more the case of Theo going out and getting his guy earlier than anyone else was willing to.  I’m not sure why you feel he got tricked into signing him, other than he had a bad year at the plate last year.

          • die hard

            A scarier thought is that Theo feels that nobody in organization can do better than DeJesus.

            • Jeff

              Honestly, I’m not sure that I don’t believe that DeJesus will have a better year than any of the Cubs current outfielders.  At worst, he’s easily the best defensive outfielder in the system.

            • BetterNews

              Now its getting scary.

              • Jeff

                It’s been scary for a while man, where have you been?

                • BetterNews

                  Well I’ve always tried to be BetterNews.

                  • BetterNews

                    Better to be BetterNews than a “deadbird.” LOL

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Let’s not do that…

  • bacboris

    Is it too early to start asking where the Oswalt or Bedard rumors are? I have to imagine, that there’s some chance of signing one or both. Right? Hopefully?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Not even a whisper of a connection to Oswalt. Has to be a reason…

      • die hard

        If Oswalt and/or Bedard would take incentive laden contract and if Theo feels that nobody in organization can do better than either, then why not? Consistency has some virtue.

    • Jeff

      Oswalt’s agent is meeting with Boston, seems like a good fit for both teams, probably not for the Cubs.  I do think that if the Cubs are shopping for low-risk, high-reward types, that they should look at Erik Bedard.  He has alternated pretty good pitching with injury riddled seasons.  I also read that they may have some interest in Tim Wakefield, which kind of scares me.

      • BetterNews

        Say it isnt so, say it isnt so

        • BetterNews

          I like Weezer by the way, could you tell? LOL

          • Rancelot

            In the immortal words of Walter Sobchak, STFU Donnie!  You’re out of your element!

            • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

              Nice

  • Toosh

    Two personal opinions. 1. If I’m Counsell, I keep playing ML baseball as long as I have the desire. He can coach (at whatever level) when that desire or the offers to continue playing are gone. 2. As a Cub fan I’d like to see the team win the World Series probably as much as anyone. I would prefer that happen because the Cubs outperform their competition from the ground up, not because they have the ability to outspend them. That being said, the new CBA doesn’t bother me. I hope the new regime is the best at scouting and projecting at the developmental stage and the best at putting a Major League roster together.

    • Jeff

      What’s up Toosh?  You’ve been kind of quiet since you lost out on the GM job.

      I agree with you.  The new rules kind of close a loophole that other major market teams have long exploited and the Cubs have long ignored.  At least the Cubs got into the mix in a pretty loaded draft.  That said, I’d much rather see the Cubs draft well with their high picks and develop their own guys to win.  I’ve long been a Yankee hater because it seemed that they just outspend everyone, and I really don’t want to see the Cubs go that way.  It is nice to see them flex their major market muscle every once in a while though.  Also something that they haven’t really done in the past aside from one ill advised Hendry spending spree.

      • Toosh

        I’m ready for more player movement.

    • Todd

      Toosh, I also don’t mind the new CBA. At first, it felt like a low-blow because the Cubs were finally starting to be big spenders in the draft, and now that advantage is gone. I also didn’t like that it would possibly turn away elite, two-sport talent from baseball. But I’m starting to come around on what I think they’re trying to accomplish. Baseball was on-track for an NFL style draft, where the first 5-10 picks became too expensive. The financial risk was enormous but the public backlash of passing a top 5 pick because of cost was even greater. With baseball picks being inherently riskier than football, I think the new CBA is financially sound because it allocates more money toward free agents, which are safer investments. Though, the deal would have been sweeter for the Cubs if they took away a year from the free agent service time.

  • BetterNews

    We have a person with a captains hat and the boat is going in the opposite direction!

    • BetterNews

      “Opposite” direction. LOL.

  • BetterNews

    Are we gonna be a “AA” team now?

    • BetterNews

      I dont know?!?! Maybe a “A” team now? Oh my garsh!

  • Brian

    I don’t care how we get to the world series, be it free agent signings, drafting right, whatever. As long as the team is winning consistantly and is playing the game right, hustling out ground balls, playing strong defense etc. They could buy the whole damn team in free agency and I would be cool with it. Obviously that is not going to happen because we are finally drafting better prospects, which is a smarter way. The Yankees (while i despise them) have a great farm system and roster, very balanced. And Cashman doesn’t trade away his potential star minor league players for some one who isn’t worth it.

  • ferrets_bueller

    I love Counsell, and really hope he ends up here…..But, obviously, preferably as a coach. Is it just me, or is it ridiculously hard to come up with anything to complain about with this new regime? They’re pretty much doing and saying everything I’ve been saying they should. So strange.
    Theo strikes me as a guy who does due-diligence on literally every possibility, which is exactly the strategy I myself would employ. Hard to argue.

  • Michael Cerami

    Yu darvish is coming to the states CSNchicago tweeted

    • BetterNews

      Probably to see the “sites.” LOL

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Again: I’d recommend against doing that. I think you know what I mean.

        • Cerambam

          were u talking to me? i just made this accound, im MC

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Nah, you’re all good.

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Thank you, it’s very inappropriate

    • Lou

      Still think the money would be better invested in Fielder. Sort of a known vs unknown factor at work here.

  • Fishin Phil

    Oops.

  • Oswego Chris

    I hear people saying that if the Cubs could get Alexi Olgando from Texas for Garza they would have to make the trade…..Garza is younger than Olgando….and he is a Dominicican 28 so who knows…..

     

    • Lou

      As a PART of a package for Garza, though, he would be a cheaper and effective part of the Cubs pitching rotation. Don’t agree.

    • Lou Cub

      I have no problem with Olgando as long as Scheppers and Olt are part of the deal as well.

  • die hard

    As long as Garza in play what about to the Orioles for three from this list: Schraeder, Esposito, Schoop, Bridwell, Wright, Lino and Adams?

  • Bobo Justis

    Surplusage? Nice, another archaism. As Mark Twain said in Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses, “Eschew surplusage.”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s actually used quite frequently in legal writing, which is why it fell out of my head.

  • miggy80

    Oooooh, Chris Bosio that makes more sence. For the life of me I couldnt figure out why Chris Sabo would be a pitching coach.

    • TWC

      I still hate Sabo for stealing the 1988 ROY from Mark Grace. Bastard.

      • Jeff

        I hate that whole Reds team. Sabo and his stupid goggles, Eric Davis, Hal Morris, Jose Rijo, Rob Dibble, even Lou Pinella. I gave Lou a reprieve when he took over the Cubs, but that’s over now, back to the hate.

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