Notre Dame fans have to be squirming: it’s being reported that Brian Kelly is taking a second meeting with the Eagles. It was fair to figure that he was just leveraging for a little bit more money from Notre Dame (his “dream job”), but now you’ve gotta wonder.
- Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein participated yesterday at the Hot Stove Cool Music charity event in Boston, the proceeds of which benefit the foundation he started with his brother. He spoke at a roundtable with Ben Cherington, Buck Showalter, and Peter Gammons, and obviously, being in Boston, the focus was fairly Red Sox heavy. Further, because the write-ups so far all come out of Boston, we might not get too many detailed quotes on the Cubs. A couple that have been written up focus on Epstein’s comments that he doesn’t want the Cubs to be seen as lovable losers after this season, and everyone wants to win as soon as possible. He also said that the Cubs are hoping to upgrade their facilities (indeed), and that having mutual trust with your players is important.
- More Theo from Vine Line, which has an interview with him in this month’s edition of the magazine. You can see a snippet of the interview at the Vine Line blog, and here’s the piece that caught my eye: “One thing to keep in mind, in previous years, the payroll had been artificially high, where there was sort of a habit of signing players like Carlos Peña and deferring a lot of the money into future years’ payrolls. Last year, for example, we were paying a lot of Carlos Peña’s money, even though he was playing for the Rays. And when [the Cubs] signed draft picks a lot of times, a good portion of that money was pushed off into future years’ budgets. Next year, we’re going to be paying for drafts from a year or so ago. So we’re really trying not to continue that practice.” Those aren’t huge chunks of money being deferred – for Pena, it was $5 million, and for draft picks it couldn’t have been much more than that in total – but it all adds up. There is a financial advantage to deferring payments when done thoughtfully (taking advantage of inflation, or of anticipated down years in expenditures), but I’ll agree with Epstein that it isn’t a great idea to make it an annual practice.
- It sounds like Theo Epstein played the role of matchmaker between the Red Sox and Ryan Dempster, as he was asked about Dempster’s character by the Sawx, and was asked about playing in Boston by Dempster.
- Carrie Muskat does her inbox thing, and of particular note is her response when asked about the lack of an official Carlos Villanueva signing. Carrie pointed to the full 40-man roster, and said the lack of the signing is “most likely” due to the need to first open up a roster spot. Obviously we’ve known that that was one of two primary possible explanations (the other being a hold-up with his physical (either indicating a problem, or just a logistical issue)), but Carrie’s obviously got a slight view to these things, so I’ll take her guess as being as good as anyone’s. And, if the 40-man is in fact the hold up, that tells me the Cubs are working on some things behind the scenes with broader implications than merely designating a random player for assignment – because that could happen at any time. If those “things” don’t work out, then they can DFA a guy if they have to.
- Vine Line with a short profile on Alberto Cabrera, who continues to start in the Dominican Winter League. He’s expected to be a starter at AAA this year after spending last year in the bullpen at various stops.
- With the Cubs Caravan schedule announcement this week, and the lack of a Peoria stop, a lot of folks were asking me if the Cubs had cancelled the previously-announced (and ticketed) Peoria visit. According to this article, that visit is still going to happen, on Wednesday at the Exposition Gardens.
- Former Cub Milton Bradley is charged with doing some awful things, and I hate even giving him any additional attention.