There Could Be a Couple Finalists for the WGN Radio Gig and Other Bullets

cubs broadcast boothLittle kids hear everything. I know that everyone says that, and you’re warned in advance. But it’s hard to moderate your normal speech patterns – say, during a surprisingly tight, and ultimately disappointing OSU/Michigan game – when a kid’s development takes place over such a long period of time. It’s not like one day you can say anything you want, and then the next day you have to stop. They understand almost nothing, and then a little more, and then a little more, etc. But, like, yeah, we’ve definitely reached the point where we can’t say anything around The Little Girl without her adopting it wholesale in her own vernacular. Nice little mirror she is …

  • There may be only two finalists for the open color broadcasting job on WGN Radio, according to a report from Robert Feder: Todd Hollandsworth and Ron Coomer. Hollandsworth has been doing pre-and-post-game stuff with CSN for a while now, and Coomer has been doing broadcast work with Fox Sports North (Twins). The 2014 season might be the last one on WGN Radio, so part of the negotiations will involve either a very short-term commitment, or the ability to transfer the broadcaster’s deal to whatever radio network the Cubs end up on after 2014. We could learn of a decision within the next couple weeks.
  • MiLB.com interviews Kris Bryant about his whirlwind year. I particularly like the note that he was as tense as we all were during that extra long pause when it was the Cubs’ turn to pick in the draft.
  • Tony Andracki writes about Starlin Castro’s struggles last year, and whether Rick Renteria will be the manager to get him back on track.
  • The Cubs will light the tree at Wrigley Field on Thursday at 5:30pm CT, complete with hot chocolate, cookies, and Santa. I imagine it will be a fun diversion.
  • Yesterday was the busiest offseason day I can remember in the last five years. So many trades, so many signings (including a big one). And I chuckle to myself at the rash of folks who say, “And the Cubs are just sitting on their hands!” Setting aside the fact that I’m quite sure they’re not doing nothing, there’s this Veruca Salt mentality with folks (“Don’t care how, I want it now!”), which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in the context of an offseason-long effort to build a roster (to say nothing of the broader rebuilding plan). That the Cubs were one of 15 teams that didn’t make a move yesterday is neither surprising nor troubling. There was no deadline yesterday. Chill, baby.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

99 responses to “There Could Be a Couple Finalists for the WGN Radio Gig and Other Bullets”

  1. Spriggs

    I like Coomer and Hollandsworth OK. Either one will be an improvement over Moreland, but sort of like replacing Barney with a Donnie Murphy type. Just hoped for a little more. Would have like to see them consider Mark Grace.

    1. gratefulled

      Isn’t Grace still on house arrest? I think Holly would make for a great color man, but I’m unsure how well he would fit with Hughes.

      1. Spriggs

        No, Grace has served his time. He was a hitting and 1st base coach this summer for the D’Backs in the Arizona rookie leagues.

      2. Spriggs

        I guess there could be parole restrictions on moving out of state, but I doubt it if there is anything that couldn’t be worked out.

  2. mdavis

    i’d like them to go with coomer. mainly because i enjoy holly on the pregame/postgame show. i think he does good work, has good energy. and of all the moves yesterday there was no one that i thought to myself “damn!! wish the cubs had snagged him!” so let these other teams throw 7 years at a constantly injured player.

    1. gratefulled

      Ditto. I like how conservative the Cubs are being with the market. The FO has been putting together a great core and seems to be seeing the whole picture. I suppose there are still people that wish Hendry was still throwing money around for a chance at the playoffs. It’s gotta be tough to fight the win NOW mentality of so many fans when you are trying to put together a dynasty.

      GO CUBS!!!!

      1. Crazyhorse

        The Cubs are not exactly throwing any type of money around and the comparison is getting old. honestly. even the Marlins and Astros had an exciting day at the beach and those team usually just stay indoors.

        1. mdavis

          Salty comes with a major K rate, and big splits. Fowler had a huge BABIP last year and major splits home and away. Coors field was helping him out. no thanks.

          1. David

            He’s saying at least they got involved. Not saying I want the Cubs in on either of those. But we could at least try to nab Ubaldo for 3-4 years. Put fans in the stands.

            1. mdavis

              right, and i’m antsy as much as the next person. but i’m not going to bash them for not getting involved, JUST to be involved. you know? I could get on board with ubaldo at the right price. but basically i just meant of the guys that have gone off the board as of now, there has yet to be one where i think the cubs were/should of been involved.

            2. JM

              Why do you care if there are fans in the stands? If that were the only criteria for spending, the Cubs would be among the tops in baseball. The goal is a winning franchise, which necessarily dictates signing players that make sense to the goals and future. Not just fans in the seats.

  3. macpete22

    Brett, I forgot to ask yesterday but how would you have felt if the return on a trade of Edwin Jackson was the same one the Tigers got for Fister?

    1. David

      Much more expensive contract than Fister. If a team accepted him in a trade, we should be happy.

  4. Eric

    Bryant just seems to be a pleasant young man. I hope he stays that way regardless of how his baseball career turns out.

  5. Jono

    Hansman is Augustus Gloop ;)

    1. Jono

      Don’t feel bad, Hansman. I’m an oompa loompa :(

  6. George

    It’s way too easy to say chill. This regime preaches patience. Easy for them to say. Apparently, also easy for you to say. But there are die hard Cub fans dying every day without sniffing a title. And while it’s only a game, and a title is promised to Boone, it sure would be nice to try for one each year. How about this novel approach: while building a farm system, you buy some real players who give you an earnest chance? We trot out a sad bunch. McDonald, Sweeney, Rasmus, et al. This is a MLB ready starting, competitive group? And what about the great “fan” Tom Ricketts statement that if they get the $500million renovation, that THEN the Cubs can compete for a world series? How do all of you media types give him a pass for that statement? So we are to keep shelling out the dough for this rag tag bunch, who even the owner acknowledges cannot compete. It’s a load of crap. I didn’t like the Theo hire. I don’t like the Theo hire. I hope I am wrong and have to eat my words. But please, stop telling us to be patient, or to chill. Is that what St. Louis tells its fans? The Yankees? Don’t think so.

    1. Cheese Chad

      Wrong, you hope you are right. You really really do.

    2. itzscott

      Aaron Boone?
      Pat Boone?
      Daniel Boone?
      T. Boone Pickens?

      1. Spriggs

        I was thinking Debbie Boone.

      2. wilbur

        whoever boone is the cubs should sign him.

        1. Jose's Eyelid

          And Rasmus too!

    3. Chad

      If you would like to move on to being a fan of a team that spends like the Yankees please do. As I have said and Brett has said, the Winter meetings have not even started yet! Everyone has considered this offseason a failure, but who knows what the cubs will do. Would a trade for Brett Anderson and Matt Kemp or getting Tanaka and a return of Archie Bradley for Shark make you happy**? That could all happen today and your griping would make you look like even more of a whiny child that wants his reward RIGHT NOW! At least be patient on this off season

      **I am not saying I want those things to happen or think they will, but you never know.

      1. brickhouse

        Love the optimism but you are not very realistic
        Bradley is not getting traded
        Cubs are not trading for Kemp
        If the posting program doesn’t favor teams with losing records then the Cubs aren’t getting Tanaka
        The Cubs will sign some filler and hope for the best with their prospects

        1. Chad

          I said I don’t think these things will happen. But you are extremely debbie downer, which makes me feel sad for you, and you are judging things before the winter meetings even happen. You say these things won’t happen. If I asked you in October if you thought the Tigers would trade Fister and Fielder you would have laughed to. I’m just saying calm down and don’t make judgements until at least ST.

          1. Chad

            Sorry brick, thought I was replying to George. I don’t know if you are overreacting to early or not, but I just don’t think people should be calling this off-season a bust quite yet.

        2. BT

          WE ARE ONLY 16 WEEKS AWAY FROM OPENING DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOR GOD’S SAKE, DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          1. Voice of Reason

            They’ve improved the minor league system and invested money in it and overseas scouting.

            They are doing stuff. Its not Going to equate to more wins this year, though.

            My question: knowing this item is in a rebuild who do you think they should sign free agent wise?

    4. mdavis

      you don’t get it george. Who would you like to throw money at? Is it working for the Angels? They’ve sure thrown a lot of money around. Yankees just committed $150 mil+ to a guy who cant stay on the field and about to enter his downward trend. thats appealing? i respect what they are doing, theo and jed. they have a plan, and they’re seeing it through. you build the farm so you have a constant suppyl chain to the big league team and then you SUPPLEMENT it with a big FA or 2. you want to be more like the cards? that’s how they do it. look at that roster. a lot of them have come from the farm, and they supplemented with a Beltran signing. it doesn’t happen overnight.

      1. D-Rock

        I would like to see them sign Choo and Tanaka and trade Shark but only for top prospects, if not, extend him. They would still have a low payroll, right?

    5. D-Rock

      BTW George, who is Rasmus? Didn’t know the Cubs had a Rasmus.

      1. David

        I’d assume Colby Rasmus but isn’t he a Blue Jay?

        1. D-Rock

          Yes, still a Blue Jay as of this morning…

          1. mdavis

            im guessing he met cody ransom.

            1. mdavis

              meant*

              …course he may have met cody as well.

      2. Spriggs

        I will go with the conspiracy angle and say Rasmus and Boone are the same person.

    6. JM

      You think its easy for them to say? Whose tail is on the line if this fails? Not yours. Actually, it’s easy for you to say….

      When you belive in something, you hold true to it, not alter course when things look bleak.

    7. ari gold

      The Cubs haven’t had a plan for over 100 years. At least we have a plan now. If it doesn’t work then blast away. Maybe you don’t agree with it, but the foundation is being laid.

      1. aaronb

        So the plan is to be as cheap as possible? Pretty sure this plan has been tried several times before.

        The spending money plan was only really tried over a couple of seasons. And it DID lead us to several playoff appearances over a short period of time.

      2. YourResidentJag

        With Dallas Green, they had a plan. The absurdity of this statement is very real.

        1. aaronb

          Agreed,

          I love how the apologists can offer nothing more than talking points when defending ownership. There has been a plan many, many times before.

          And regardless of plan or not…The results have been better at any other point in Cubs history as well.

        2. Jon

          They had a very similar “plan” when McPhail started as well.

          1. YourResidentJag

            The had a plan post 2007 as well. Not that it went well thereafter, mind you.

            1. Jon

              And the original plan in Fall of 2011 was to operate on “multiple fronts” and “treat every opportunity to win as sacred”

              But someone that has morphed into back to back (and soon to be back-back-back) tanked seasons.

              1. Jon

                “somehow” not “someone” derrr….

                1. willis

                  Back to back to back with 2014 looking worse than any of them.

          2. auggie55

            I was about to say the same thing. Even though those Trib execs were idiots for firing Green, many young players he had drafted were on the Cubs when they won the Eastern Division in 89. I’m talking about guys like Dunston, Grace, Maddux, J. Walton, D. Smith, and Joe Girardi.

  7. crazyhorse

    Ever miss a ferry? thats what yesterday seem like. Cant blame people getting anxious another ferry will arrive ……..shortly.I think after the winter meeting people interest will dwindle.. I enjoy reading all the comments after a hard days work and tonight will be no different . If the Cubs are movers then they create excitement last years team was terrible . Fans want to be optimistic and that ship slowly sails away when your team is stuck on the Pier.

    1. DarthHater

      Ferry, shmerry. I’m swimming! :-P

  8. jmc

    well we got a first base coach anyway

  9. Randy

    Well by June there should be 5 people listening everyday when they are already 15 games back after the crappy team they will throw out there. Every season is sacred may mean something to Theo but evidently not to Ricketts.

    1. itzscott

      How you know that you’re a Cub fan:

      Be excited about everything leading up to Opening Day and the prospects that this will be the year they win the World Series.

      By Memorial Day, begin hoping that the Bears open training camp soon.

      1. Norm

        Or, complain about every move that the Cubs do or don’t do, no matter how minor or how big of an overpay/albatross it would be.

        1. Edwin

          I’m waiting for Brett to post more details on who is hired to be the Santa at the Wrigley tree lighting so I can complain that they should have went out and gotten that other more expensive Santa like all the other teams.

    2. Eric

      Ok, who do you sign? Ellsbury? No thanks, not for what he got from NY. Choo? Probably get the same or more than Ellsbury. Cano? Absolutely no thanks. Should the Cubs be making moves just to be making moves?

      1. Jono

        I agree with all that. I bought into the plan long ago. But I do want them to get Granderson, assuming they don’t sign him to something like 7 years. It would have to be a reasonable time length

        1. Chad

          Sounds like he might get 4 years from the mets. We have to remember as well that some guys just might not want to play for the cubs. He may prefer NY.

          1. C. Steadman

            i think 4 years would be too much for granderson…i’d like the Cubs to be in on him for 2 years, maybe with an option for a third…if mets offering 4 years Cubs dont have a chance

          2. Jono

            exactly. Some people seem to forget that free agents have to WANT to sign with the Cubs, that the team can’t just decide by themselves to get a player. But Grandy did talk about liking the idea of playing for either Chicago team

      2. 1060Ivy

        When your team’s current ownership averages 94 losses a year since purchasing the team and your team isn’t expected to make make major improvements to the MLB roster, you can get a bit antsy when listening to other more successful teams moves.

        Payroll flexibility doesn’t get teams into the playoffs. Talented rosters coupled with sound management trumps payroll flexibility on the diamond.

    3. Randy

      Norm, I don’t complain about every move. I think I am complaining about a (lack) of moves and a shitty team. Sorry if I don’t see things thru your eyes.

  10. The Logos

    Just say “yes” to Hollandsworth. No more old guys in the booth, please.

    Also, the Yankees gave both McCann and Ellsbury no-trade clauses. Looks like Hendry does have some influence in NY after all.

  11. Jon

    I love how every time the Cubs miss out on a free agent, it becomes an exercise in “bargaining” for so many:

    That player will never be worth that contract!

    That team will regret it!

    I don’t care how good he is, if we signed him does that put is in the playoffs, no!

    That team(that has won multiple word series) is soooo silly!

    It’s a matter of principle! NO player is worth that money!

    1. C. Steadman

      i dont think this was a “Cubs miss”…they were never truly “in” on Ells…the top three were Yanks, Red Sox, Mariners with Tigers as a potential dark horse

      1. wilbur

        yankees signings like this dont just add players and salaries to their team, they also keep these players away from their main rivals, clemons for example.
        If the cubs do throw money at their roster like this some day, they should also try and do it in a way that deprives their chief divisional rivals of the players they want or need. thats a twofer.

  12. North Side Irish

    thecubreporter ‏@thecubreporter 4m
    AZ Phil estimates #Cubs’ projected 2014 payroll for the current 40-man, as of 12/2, is $75M, incl. $13M to Soriano. http://goo.gl/AGZemY

    About $35M less than in 2013…

    1. Jon

      If the Cubs go into with 2014, with a 75 million payroll, and a top 3 ticket price, that’s nothing but pure greed on Ricketts part. It don’t see how anyone can defend ownership in that case.

      1. Fishin Phil

        Fortunately there is no rule that says you must enter the season with only the payroll that you have as of 12/2.

        Sheesh.

        1. Jon

          That’s why is prefaced my post with “IF”. There is a good chance they do enter the season with a payroll around this range, especially if they don’t get Tananka.

      2. wilbur

        Adding more high dollar players in free agency like soriano isn’t helping matters much either is it? 13 million of the cubs payroll to sit on the yankees bench that is some deal there.

    2. D-Rock

      Ok, then we should be in on Choo. Come on…

    3. wvcubsfan

      If the Cubs go into opening day with the same 40 man roster that they have today then everyone will have a reason to complain. Until that point all of this speculation is just that, and as such has no bearing in reality.

    4. Jose's Eyelid

      Okay, so right now the ’14 payroll is 35 mil less than ’13, and the new national TV contract is increased by 25 mil for each team, so the Cubs really have 60 mil to spend, right?

      Here is how I would spend it:

      Choo 6 years at 18 million each
      Tanaka 6 years at 10 million each
      Garza 4 years at 13 million each
      Extend Samardizja 5 years at 13 million each

      Keep the remaining six to add a contract at the trading deadline.

    5. willis

      So really, a $62 million payroll for guys that actually will play for the cubs. Is that the lowest projected in the central? It would go along with my feelings about what will (won’t ) happen in the offseason. Tank at all costs is the new plan.

  13. Mr. Mac

    “There was no deadline yesterday. Chill, baby.”

    Or as Sam Jackson would say, “tell that bitch to be cool!”

  14. AceRemote

    While I agree with George that the Ricketts family has not been all they’ve presented themselves to be.—- mostly because they simply couldn’t really afford to purchase this team (“all revenue will go directly back into the team.”). But I don’t wamt 7 year bloated contracts on this team. It hamstrings you, and doesn’t really make much sense. Theo, Jed, and Jason have made the organization stronger by improving the farm system. You want to be pissed at someone? Start with the tribune company, Sam Zell, Jim Hendry, and Andy MacPhail NOT the regime that simply inherited a system lacking in impact prospects and a roster that may be capable of a .500 record. If you believe adding a couple 7 year contracts would have us competting with the Cardinals then you sir are an idiot. Don’t give me the “We could compete for a wild card spot.” agruement either because we’d still run into the Cardinals, Braves, Nationals, Giants, or Dodgers— all teams with superior talent and good farm systems. Also, why would we give long term deals to players just to block the young guys? Which player on the market right now is going to lead us to a division title or the playoffs? NO ONE! Why are the Cardinals so good? THEY HAVE A GREAT FARM SYSTEM!!!

    1. aaronb

      It’s a complete fallacy that 7 year contracts “hamstring” you.

      They only hamstring you if you try to cut payroll every season WHILE you have those contracts on the books.

      If payroll had stayed up in the 145-150 million dollar range. Those contracts wouldn’t be bad at all.

      1. AceRemote

        Wrong, long term deals for older players hold up prospects.

        1. Jon

          This is generally false. If a prospect is busting through and legit, you can find a spot for him. The only recent example I can think of was Ryan Howard and that was just stupid by the Phillies.

        2. AceRemote

          As crazy as it may sound, I believe in less years more money.

        3. aaronb

          Why would it hold up prospects? Would Theo and Jed tell the ML coaches to stop coaching because we signed a good player to a lucrative contract?

          Phrases like ” long term deals for older players hold up prospects” are nothing more than homespun crap that ignores the reality of the situation.

          1. AceRemote

            No, what it does is force teams to eat a big chunk of cash to move the player to free up a spot. You should always pay for future production not past production. By hold up prospects, I obviously was referring to a position being log jammed with long term deals. In which case the team has to eat a chunk of the big contract to move it (as I stated in the first sentence) or they have to make the prospect change positions and possibly lessen their value as certain types of hitters fit certain types of positions.

    2. MichaelD

      In terms of team quality there is no difference between a 7-year $25 million contract to a player who provides the team with nothing and having payroll be lower by $25 million for that seven-year period.

  15. AceRemote

    want*
    competing*

  16. Blackhawks1963

    Ron Coomer sounds as about exciting as Jim Deshaies. Seriously though I don’t get wrapped up about who is the color guy on radio. It’s just not that important. I am one of the rare people (apparently) who cannot stand the creepy Pat Hughes and his cliched baseball voice, so radio listening is never on my high list to begin with. Plus in this world of 24/7 news and Internet feeds I find myself listening less and less to the radio play-by-play call anyway.

    1. Mick

      I live in Mpls and have been watching Coomer on Fox Sports North for at least 5 years. He’s mostly done pre and post game reporting but he’s also occasionally filled in color commentating when Bert Blyleven has been out. Coomer’s also was a regular on the Paul Allen showl (local sports talk radio station KFAN, check it out on iHeartRadio). From all of this I would highly recommend Coomer for the radio gig, he’s actually really interesting and great at his job.

      1. YourResidentJag

        Seems like a decent addition to the Cubs booth.

      2. wilbur

        Sounds good to me. Hollie is an unctuous Kaplan crony, also is more a Marlin than an ex cub. On long boring pat hughes broadcasts hollie could tell cubs fans what it was like being on the field when the cubs lost to his team in the playoffs.

  17. Eternal Pessimist

    I heard what I assume was a joking reference to “Jim Shorts” being the next cubs announcer. I’m not sure what kind of Cubs fan he is (think he is from Battle Creek) but his radio show on WLUP was phenomenal and he could entertain for 3 hours straight.

    Not sure if the Cubs would entertain hiring a “comedian” to do there games, but I guarantee I would listen to the radio coverage again if he were there.

  18. DarthHater

    Here you go, Bert ;-)

    9160539491_13f37f9c16_o.jpg

  19. Funn Dave

    Oh my god that OSU/Mich game. One of the best college football games I’ve ever, ever seen. I really can’t blame Hoke for going for it at the end but, man, what a letdown.

  20. North Side Irish

    More fun with Chicago politics…be interesting to hear where the remote parking is and if anyone will use it.

    Ted Cox ‏@tedcoxchicago 2m
    #Cubs night-game ordinance tweaked in @ChiCouncil committee. 35 skedded, 8 more possible if #MLB demands. Cubs to offer free remote parking

    #Cubs’ planned sports plaza held up in committee, @AldTomTunney says it’s to work out “responsibilities.”

    #Cubs to offer free remote parking for 1,000 cars for night games, up from current 500 cars paying $6.

  21. Tommy

    I was shocked and surprised we didn’t take Gray, and I have to admit I was disappointed.

    I was wrong.

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