Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekend Roundup: Getting Set for the Busy Season

The Cubs should start making offseason moves some time in the near future! Here are the latest news, rumors and notes-
  • According to several reports, Dale Sveum has asked Chris Bosio to be his pitching coach. No word on whether or not Bosio will accept the offer.
  • Carlos Zambrano got hit in the face with a line drive while pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League last week. He will not pitch for Caribes again until December 6.
  • If Craig Council decides to retire, there is talk of him joining Sveum's staff.
  • Buster Olney tweeted this weekend that neither Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder are ideal long term targets for the Cubs.
  • The Cubs offered arbitration to Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena, but not Kerry Wood. Wood is still expected to return, while Ramirez will most likely turn down the arbitration offer.
  • Bruce Chen, a pitcher whom the Cubs had some level of interest in, re-signed with Kansas City last week.
  • According to ESPN Chicago, Dale Sveum has the support of Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
  • The Cubs are rumored to have interest in CJ Wilson.
That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cubs Black Friday Shopping List

It's black Friday, which means it's almost time for some holiday shopping for Theo Esptein, Jed Hoyer and the Cubs. The Winter Meetings are just over a week away so some deals could get done shortly. Here is a list of the Cubs offseason needs!

Priority #1: Pitching Depth
The Cubs need to add to their starting rotation. Matt Garza is most likely going to be the ace of the staff with Ryan Dempster a solid middle of the rotation veteran. But after that there are three question marks. Randy Wells has never lived up to his potential, but he will likely be given a spot in the back of the rotation. Andrew Cashner and Casey Coleman will be in the mix once again. Carlos Zambrano's return is still up in the air. The Cubs need to add one proven arm to the mix.

Priority #2 Re-sign Kerry Wood
At this point it appears to be a forgone conclusion that Kerry Wood return, but making it official has to be high on Theo Epstein's to-do list.

Priority #3 Find a Third baseman
It doesn't sound as if Aramis Ramirez is returning, so the Cubs have to have someone to take his place. The Cubs minor league system does not have much to offer at the hot corner and the free agent class is not strong, so a trade could be the best bet.

Priority #4 Make a Decision on Pena
Carlos Pena put up decent numbers in his first year as a Cub. He could be worst bringing back if the Cubs do not feel that they have a strong option on the minor league level. Pena could find himself in the middle of the Cubs order.

Priority #5 Add a Bullpen Arm
Assuming Kerry Wood returns, the Cubs still need another guy to help Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall and Wood late in the game.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What are Cubs fans Thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving Cubs fans! I hope everyone has a great day eating, giving thanks, watching football and being with their families.

Every year here on Everything Cubs Blog, we take a look at a list of things that Cubs fans have to be thankful for. Although the Boys in Blue are coming off back-to-back losing seasons, there are still a lot of factors that make it a good time to be a Cubs fan.

  • Tom Ricketts was able to bring Theo Epstein to Chicago.

  • The 2012 Cubs will feature a new president, general manager and manager.

  • Dale Sveum does not sound like he will put up with guys like Starlin Castro, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano slacking. Sveum wants to crack down on Castro's defense.

  • Only two months until the Cubs Convention.

  • Just three months until Spring Training.

  • A week from Monday is the Ron Santo Hall of Fame announcement... maybe #10 will finally make it in.

  • You cannot get your Cubs fix all winter long as CSN Chicago has added a Hot Stove show covering the Cubs and White Sox on Tuesday nights.

  • Baseball's Winter Meetings are just over a week away and the Cubs are poised to make some moves.

  • It sounds as if Kerry Wood will return next season.

  • All baseball fans can be thankful that a new CBA has been reached and that the NBA is the only sport facing a lockout.

  • The Cubs have some solid prospects at the minor league level, led by Brett Jackson.

  • The Cubs have one of the best play-by-play men in all of baseball, Pat Hughes.

  • Matt Garza, Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney.

Once again, have a happy Thanksgiving Cubs fans!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2012 Cubs Spring Training Schedule Released

Can you believe it is that time already? Baseball's Winter Meetings are just over a week away, December starts next week, Thanksgiving is two days away and the Cubs Spring Training schedule has already been released!

The broadcast schedules for TV and Radio will be released at a later date... but here is a full look at the Cubs Cactus League slate! (All times CT)

Sunday March 4 VS A's 2:05
Monday March 5 VS A's 2:05
Tuesday March 6 VS Rockies 2:05
Wednesday March 7 @ KC 2:05
Thursday March 8 VS Seattle 2:05
Friday March 9 @CWS 2:05
Saturday March 10 @Brewers 2:05
Sunday March 11 @LAD 3:05
Monday March 12 VS Reds 3:05
Tuesday March 13 @SF 9:05
Wednesday March 14 VS Brewers 3:05
Thursday March 15 (ss) VS D'backs 3:05, @Rockies 3:10
Friday March 16 VS Giants 3:05
Saturday March 17 (ss) @A's 3:05, VS Rangers in Las Vegas 3:05
Sunday March 18 (ss) VS CWS 3:05, VS Rangers in Las Vegas 3:05
Monday March 19 @Seattle 3:05
Tuesday March 20 (ss) @A's 3:05, VS Rangers 3:05
Wednesday March 21 Off Day
Thursday March 22 @Texas 3:05
Friday March 23 @Rockies 3:10
Saturday March 24 VS Padres 3:05
Sunday March 25 @Indians 3:05
Monday March 26 (ss) @D'backs 3:10, VS Padres 3:05
Tuesday March 27 VS Reds 3:05
Wednesday March 28 VS Indians 3:05
Thursday March 29 @Padres 3:05
Friday March 30 VS Dodgers 3:05
Saturday March 31 VS Angels 3:05
Sunday April 1 @Angels 3:05
Monday April 2 @D'backs 3:10
Tuesday April 3 VS Brewers 2:05

That's it for now... the countdown is on!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Coaching Staff Decisions

Now that Dale Sveum is in place as the manager of the Chicago Cubs, it is time to starting figuring out the rest of the Cubs coaching staff. The team announced today that Rudy Jaramillo will return as its hitting coach. Jaramillo is entering the final year of his three year contract.

Sveum is also slated to meet with the two other coaches that are under contract, Lester Strode and Pat Listach. Most likely Bobby Dernier, Ivan DeJesus, Dave Keller and Mark Riggins will not return. In fact, Dernier and DeJesus have already been informed that they will not be back for next season.

Sveum is going to conduct interviews for his own pitching coach and bench coach jobs. Listach could return to the staff in a different role.

Sveum already has a list of candidates that will be interviewed for the job of pitching coach. He is looking to bring in someone who is very close to him as the bench coach. Mark Riggins spoke to Sveum over the weekend. The two are expected to talk again soon.

The full coaching staff should be in place sometime in the next few weeks. That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sveum Introduced as Cubs Manager

This morning Dale Sveum was officially introduced as the manager of the Chicago Cubs during a press conference. Here are some of the most important news and notes.

  • The Cubs will be talking to their current coaches today, but the staff will most likely not be announced until after Thanksgiving.

  • Sveum is really excited about Starlin Castro's offense. He said that he is a tough guy to pitch to.

  • Whoever Sveum brings in as the infield coach will start working with Castro right away.

  • Mike Maddux called Sveum one of the best baseball guys he knows.

  • Robin Yount is not in the running to be the new Cubs pitching coach. Sveum said that that role will take awhile to fill.

  • Sveum is a big believer in playing the game hard. He wants to see all of his players work hard every single day.

  • "Losing is not okay. Not running out a fly is not okay," he said.

  • On an unrelated note- all indications are that Kerry Wood will return to the Cubs next season. Expect him to re-sign soon.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Breaking News: Sveum Named Cubs Manager

A busy offseason for the Chicago Cubs continued today with the announcement of a new manager. Dale Sveum has become the 52nd manager of the team, signing a three year contract with an option for 2015. Sveum (pronounced Swaim) will be introduced by Jed Hoyer and Theo Esptein at a press conference tomorrow morning at 9:00.

Sveum was a big league infielder for seven different teams from 1986 to 1999, spending the 1992 season in Chicago playing for the White Sox. He coached on the Boston Red Sox staff during 2004 and 2005 seasons before spending 2006 to 2011 with the Brewers. His only big league managerial experience was in September of 2008 when he was named the interim manager for the final two weeks of the season after the firing of Ned Yost. Sveum served as a third base coach, bench coach and hitting coach during his time as a coach.

That's it for now, but we'll have much more on the Cubs new skipper.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ron Santo Baseball Voices CD Set for Release

Baseball Voices, a series of audio tributes to legendary broadcasters put together by Cubs play-by-play man Pat Hughes, has released its latest CD. Hughes longtime partner and Cubs legend Ron Santo, who passed away last December, is honored in a CD.

The tribute to Ron is set next Tuesday, Nov. 22. It is available for pre-order on the Baseball Voices website. The CD all about #10 is the tenth installment in the Baseball Voices series.

The cost per CD is $14.95. Here is a list of the tracks included-
1. Open
2. Intro
3. Cubs Legend
4. Itching
5. Hairpiece
6. Sno(u)t
7. Cough Button
8. Fashion-Food Cop
9. Marketing Guru
10. Cage Dancing
11. Mixed Up Mix Up
12. 1998
13. Let Them Eat Cake
14. Yogart Overboard
15. Al Fonseca
16. Damn Hankies
17. Munsters/Addams Family?
18. Booth Bugs
19. That is My Hall of Fame
20. Credits

I have already ordered my copy and cannot way to listen to it!

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Updating the Cubs Managerial Search

According to those of you who voted on our recent poll, Cubs fans are excited about welcoming Theo Epstein as the President of Baseball Operations. (Thanks to everyone who voted on the poll, by the way.) Epstein's first order of business as the Cubs President is to name a new manager... which leads us to our new poll question- who is the best Cubs managerial candidate? Four options of guys that are in the mix are listed on the right sidebar, please vote.

Now let's catch you up on the latest regarding the search for the next skipper.

  • Mike Maddux interviewed with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod and Randy Bush. According to all report, the interview went very well and Maddux could even be the leader to land the gig.

  • Maddux did not rule out the idea of his younger brother Greg joining his staff if he is hired by the Cubs.

  • Mike withdrew his name from the Red Sox managerial search last week.

  • Dale Sveum also interviewed for the job this week. He told the media that it does not sound as if Epstein and the Cubs plan to enter a rebuilding phase.

  • Ken Rosenthal reports that Sveum is going to get a second interview with the Red Sox, but he is high on the Cubs list as well.

  • Pete Mackanin, who was the first to interview, is still be considered as well.

  • Sandy Alomar Jr. is the final known candidate for the job. The Cubs brass has indicated that the first round of interviews could be complete, but it has not closed the door on adding another candidate or two to the mix. Alomar's interview reportedly went very well.

  • Some think that an announcement of the new manager could come as early as this week.

  • The Cardinals have named Mike Matheny their new manager.

  • According to multiple sources, Terry Francona will not be considered for the Cubs job.

It is a busy time for the Cubs management with the General Managers' Meetings starting this week in Milwaukee. Both Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will represent the Cubs.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Radio Recap: Hendry on Talkin' Baseball

Former Cubs general manager Jim Hendry joined Bruce Levine on ESPN 1000 yesterday. Here is what he had to say.

  • Hendry has taken the last couple of month to spend a lot of time with his two children.

  • He has also played a lot of golf since departing from the Cubs.

  • Theo Epstein and Hendry are good friends. They met years ago when Hendry was the assistant GM for the Cubs. Jim is happy for the Cubs, and said he left on very good terms.

  • "Tom Ricketts and his family are terrific, and they hit a grand slam with Theo," he said.

  • Theo has already started bringing in quality people, while keeping the quality guys that worked there under Hendry.

  • Jim feels fortunate to spend 17 great years for the Cubs. "I have nothing but great things to look back upon on my experience there," he said.

  • Hendry is thrilled for the Cubs and things that it is going to be a great place for a long time under Theo.

  • He has taken the last couple months to think about nothing but his children. He has not wanted to think about what he wants to do in the future.

  • Hendry wants to work, but he does not have a clear cut path as to what he wants to do. He already has friends expressing interest in bringing him in to their organization.

  • "It's nice to have some options, and it's nice to spend some time with my kids," he said.

  • Mike Quade texted him just before the announcement of his departure last week. Hendry thinks Q and Theo both handled the exit well. Hendry has not spoke with Mike yet but he plans to soon.

  • Hendry thinks that the statistical analysis must be combined with good scouting.

  • Jim spoke very highly of Epstein, Ricketts and the entire organization throughout the interview.

  • "I think great days are ahead for the Cubs," he said.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Let the Interviews Begin

With the firing of Mike Quade on Wednesday, the Cubs have wasted no time begging the interview process to find the best candidate to become the next manager of the Chicago Cubs.

Pete Mackanin was the first formal interview for the position. He chatted with Theo Epstein and company on Friday. Mackanin told the media that Theo nailed him with question after question. The interview included watching game film and asking Mackannin what he would do in certain situations. Mackanin is the current Phillies bench coach. He grew up in the Chicagoland area cheering for both the Cubs and White Sox.

Dale Sveum, who is the Brewers hitting coach, will go through the interview process on Monday, followed by Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux sometime next week. Other names floating around include Sandy Alomar Jr., DeMarlo Hale, Terry Francona and Joe Maddon. According to David Kaplan, Alomar, the Indians' bench coach, will interview next week as well.

The Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are also hunting for a new manager. All three teams are interviewing a similar list of candidates.

The other bit of news this week was the Cubs decision to hire Joe Bohringer as Pro Scouting Director. Bohringer as 21 years of scouting experience under his belt and had been in the Arizona D'backs organization since 2006.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Breaking News: Mike Quade Out as Cubs Manager

Mike Quade will not return for the second year of his contract. Theo Esptein made his first big decision today by electing to go in a new direction with the team's managerial position. Epstein said that he wanted to start fresh. Quade took the high road with his comments today, complimenting Theo for the way he went about making the decision.

Ryne Sandberg also received bad news today. He will not be considered for the Cubs open managerial gig. One of Epstein's criteria is big league coaching experience. Sandberg also spoke highly of the way Epstein notified him of the decision that he would not be considered.

I think that Theo is making the right decision in letting Q go. Quade did not receive much of a chance, but he was never really big league managerial material. He was an assistant coach who took over for a brief one year stint as a manager. My guess is he'll remain in baseball as an assistant. He is a baseball lifer, a hard worker and a great guy, but he was not the right fit for a managerial position in Chicago.

Yesterday Jed Hoyer and Jason McCloud were introduced as the general manager and VP of Player Development respectively. When questions about decisions on players (Zambrano, Ramirez, ect) were directed at Hoyer, Theo jumped in and answered. All indications are that Aramis Ramirez will not return to the Cubs next season.

Today the big discussion is the removal of Mike Quade and the question of who will take his place is being tossed around. Lots of names were being tweeted and blogged today. We'll have a full breakdown of managerial candidates later in the week.

Things are never slow on the North Side of Chicago! Lots of news early on this winter. That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!