Tag:Theo Epstein
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:55 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:08 pm
 

Cubs will not interview Ryne Sandberg

Sandberg

By Evan Brunell


Ryne Sandberg is not interviewing for the Cubs' opening at manager, he confirmed to the Chicago Tribune.

The forner Cubs star, who left the organization last season after Mike Quade was chosen to lead Chicago, is now hoping he lands somewhere else as manager, if not the rival Cardinals.

"I hope the opportunities arise, and that's one of them," he said. "I'm still optimistic and excited about the possibilities."

Sandberg found this out when president Theo Epstein, proactive as always to head off potential stories, reached out immediately to tell the Cubs Hall of Famer he was not a candidate.

"Moments after the press release came out, Theo called me and left me a message stating Mike Quade was not going to be back in 2012," Sandberg said. "And he said they were going to do a managerial search of four to five candidates and that major league coaching experience or managing experience was one of the criteria that they were going to follow, and I would not be a candidate for that job.

"I called him back and told him I'd received the message, appreciated the phone call even though it wasn't owed. But it was appreciated. I wish him all the best and good luck in his new job."

Sandberg didn't seem to be bitter about the situation, and was looking ahead to the Cardinals and perhaps even Boston.

"I'm still hopeful for an opportunity to get to the major leagues somewhere," he said. "I don't know what else I need to do after this season. I'm comfortable with that, and still hopeful for a chance."

Actually, one thing Sandberg could do is become a third-base coach in the majors for a couple of seasons. That would cement his chances to manage. Even Epstein told him as much -- if he had major-league coaching experience, he would be considered. That's a logical next step for Sandberg to take. And why not back with the Cubs? Somewhere, some team should be willing to have Sandberg as a major-league coach, as long as Sandberg is willing.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 2, 2011 6:25 pm
 

Red Sox, Cubs have another week for compensation

By Evan Brunell

The Red Sox and Cubs have been given another week to work on compensation for new Cubs president Theo Epstein, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told reporters (ESPN Boston) on Tuesday.

The saga, which has dragged on for almost a month now, will continue because both sides have struggled to address compensation issues with all the other tasks surrounding Epstein and Cherington in their new roles. Earlier on Wednesday, Epstein fired incumbent Cubs manager Mike Quade while Cherington interviewed Dale Sveum for Boston's managerial vacancy. (Read who could replace Quade in Chicago.)

If both sides still cannot agree on compensation by Nov. 9, commissioner Bud Selig will step in and determine compensation. That would work in Chicago's favor, as MLB does not want to set a trend for, in essence, trading a general manager and extracting a high price to do so.

Read more surrounding Epstein's departure from the Red Sox, and his new role in Chicago.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.




Posted on: November 2, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:11 pm
 

Who will replace Mike Quade as Cubs manager?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Since the end of the season, there's been the assumption that Mike Quade would be out as the Cubs manager and he'd be replaced by Ryne Sandberg. Everything seemed to be playing out that way this offseason when Theo Epstein was hired by the Cubs and never really gave the impression that Quade would return.

The Cubs made the first part official on Wednesday, but made a question of the second part in a release the team sent out saying Quade would not return in 2012. While Sandberg would be a natural fit, Epstein's quote in the release gives some pause:

"The managerial search process begins immediately.  We are looking for someone with whom and around whom we can build a foundation for sustained success.  The next manager must have leadership and communication skills; he must place an emphasis on preparation and accountability; he must establish high standards and a winning culture; he must have integrity and an open mind; and he must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level."

That means Sandberg -- who has spent the last five years as a minor league manager -- won't be considered. According to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, Epstein has alerady informed Sandberg that he wasn't in consideration.

If Sandberg isn't a candidate, who will manage the Cubs in 2012?

Here's a look at some of the possibilities:

Terry Francona: Francona will always be tied to Epstein. The two had success in Boston and there's definitely a mutual admiration. Epstein has gobbled up former Red Sox cronies since joining the Cubs, what's one more?

Dave Martinez: The Rays' bench coach is one of the hottest names when manager positions have opened up -- and he's got a Chicago connection. Martinez had two stints with the Cubs, breaking in with the organization in 1986 before being traded to Montreal. He also played there in 2000.

Pete Mackanin: A Chicago native, Mackanin has already interviewed for the Red Sox job and in addition to serving as the Phillies' bench coach in each of the last three seasons, Mackanin has twice been an interim manager -- and both of those stints came in the NL Central, with the Pirates and Reds.

Dale Sveum: Like Mackanin, Sveum is being interviewed in Boston. And it shouldn't be a surprise that there will be overlap in candidates between the two, since Epstein was involved in rounding up the candidates for the Red Sox manager position. The two organizations will have similar lists when looking for its next manager. Sveum spent two years as the Red Sox third base coach and impressed the Boston brass (including Epstein) before returning to Milwaukee where he has served as third base coach, bench coach and hitting coach under three different managers.

DeMarlo Hale: Hale's been on Boston's staff since 2006, including the last two as Francona's bench coach. Hale is a Chicago native.

Tim Bogar: Like Hale, Bogar's also been on Francona's staff in Boston, serving as the team's third base coach the last two seasons and the first base coach in 2009. He also worked for Joe Maddon in Tampa. He's also managed in the Cleveland and Houston minor league organizations.

Mike Maddux: Not only is Maddux a respected pitching coach, he also happens to be the brother of a Greg Maddux, who is beloved by the Ricketts and has served in the Cubs front office. 

Joe Maddon: Maddon was a finalist for the Red Sox job when Epstein hired Francona. While Maddon has said he's not interested in going anywhere, there's always a chance. 

John Farrell: Sure, the Blue Jays put on a full-court press to keep him away from the Red Sox, but maybe they'll be more open to let him talk to a team outside the American League East. Farrell's son is currently a pitcher at Northwestern.

Joe Girardi: Girardi's name is always going to be connected to the Cubs job when it's open, even if there's little-to-no chance he leaves the Yankees at this point.

Bobby Valentine: His name comes up with just about every opening nowadays, so why not one more?

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 1, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 10:20 pm
 

Team-by-team NL free agency outlooks



By C. Trent Rosecrans

With open free agency set to hit us at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, it's worth taking a quick look at what every single team is going to be looking for. We've already done detailed breakdowns in the R.I.P. series, so here are some quick hitters for the National League:

East
Atlanta Braves | R.I.P.
Needs: shortstop, corner outfielder, relief pitching
Money to spend?: Not much. The Braves' biggest need was getting rid of Derrek Lowe, and they did that and have saved $5 million to boot. The team has good, young starters, but put too many innings on their bullpen. They'll need more bullpen arms and also a bat in left field and a shortstop. With Tyler Pastronicky just about ready, the team could use a veteran backup just in case he doesn't work out.

Miami Marlins | R.I.P.
Needs: starting pitching, center field
Money to spend? Oh yeah… with the team preparing to move into a new stadium, owner Jeffrey Loria is expected to make a splash in free agency and could raise payroll to the $100 million range. South Florida will be a favorite of baseball agents in the offseason who will use the Marlins as leverage -- they may even be more popular than the "mystery team" of the past off seasons. The Marlins will be rumored as a possible landing point for nearly every big free agent. The question is, which ones -- if any -- will actually take their talents to South Beach.

New York Mets | R.I.P.
Needs: starting pitching, closer, relief pitching, middle infield
Money to spend? There are plenty of questions about the Mets ownership group, so nobody outside GM Sandy Alderson really knows what's going on and how much money he has to play with. It doesn't look like the team will go crazy in trying to re-sign Jose Reyes. The team will instead hope to improve its bullpen and rotation.

More Free Agency
Position rankings

Philadelphia Phillies | R.I.P.
Needs: shortstop, corner outfielder, closer, relief pitching, first base
Money to spend? It seems like they always find it when they need it, so there's no real concern about the budget. Even with Roy Oswalt likely to leave Philadelphia, there are few worries about the team's rotation. The bullpen, however, will need to be addressed. Ryan Madson may be re-signed and used as the closer, but the Phillies need middle-innings guys, as well. Left field is still an issue and the team could look to upgrade there, but will also need to address first base while Ryan Howard recovers from his Achilles injury. John Mayberry Jr. can play first, but moving him there creates a spot in the outfield.

Washington Nationals | R.I.P.
Needs: center field, starting pitching, relief pitching
Money to spend? Oh yeah. Like the Marlins, the Nationals have money to spend and unlike the Marlins, they have shown a willingness to actually use it. Last year the team overspent on Jayson Werth, something that certainly caught the eyes of free-agents-to-be. Several top names will certainly be courted by the Nationals, including Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and C.J. Wilson. The Nationals really can't be counted out on anyone.

Central
Chicago Cubs | R.I.P.
Needs: first base, third base, closer, relief pitching, right field
Money to spend? The Ricketts opened the pocketbooks for their general manager, so it's unlikely they'll close 'em for players. Epstein says he wants to build a team from the bottom up, but that takes time and there will be pressure to win right away, and free agency will be part of that. Expect the Cubs to at least talk to the likes of Pujols and Fielder, even if they don't sign them. With Epstein in the fold, it'll certainly be interesting to see what route the Cubs take.

Cincinnati Reds | R.I.P.
Needs: closer, relief pitcher, corner outfielder, shortstop
Money to spend? Not much. It looks like the team will stand pat in the rotation, but after not picking up the option on Francisco Cordero, Cincinnati will need someone to finish out games. Last year Walt Jocketty stayed quiet during the offseason, but this winter that may not happen. However, the team is more likely to use the trade market than spend big in free agency.

Houston Astros | R.I.P.
Needs: shortstop, relief pitching
Money to spend? The Astros are in full-on rebuilding mode, as evidenced by their July fire sale. There's also the holdup of the sale of the team and the possible switch to the American League. If Jim Crane is approved by MLB, he may want to find his own general manager. The Astros won't be much of a player in the free agent market, looking for low-priced.

Milwaukee Brewers | R.I.P.
Needs: first baseman, shortstop, third baseman, relief pitching
Money to spend? Some -- for the right people. The team will try to make a pitch to retain Fielder and possibly Jerry Hairston Jr., but are likely celebrating to be free of Yuniesky Betancourt. The team probably won't be in the race for Reyes or even Jimmy Rollins, but could be in the market for a second-tier shortstop like Clint Barmes. They'll also need to add some arms in the bullpen, but could try to re-sign the likes of Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins.

Pittsburgh Pirates | R.I.P.
Needs: catcher, first base, shortstop, corner outfielder, starting pitching
Money to spend? Yes, as much as $25 million or even a little more, but they also have plenty of holes. The Pirates took some steps forward in 2011, but will need to fill out their roster and will likely be going for the second-tier players to fill out a lineup around Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia, Charlie Morton and James McDonald.

St. Louis Cardinals | R.I.P.
Needs: First base, shortstop, relief pitching
Money to spend? Some for the right player. The Cardinals have nearly $60 million tied up for 2012 in six players -- Matt Holliday, Kyle Lohse, Lance Berkman, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Jake Westbrook. There's also the little matter of Pujols -- who will listen to offers from the Cardinals, but is unlikely to give much (or any) of a hometown discount. The team also needs a shortstop and could use another left-handed reliever.

West
Arizona Diamondbacks | R.I.P.
Needs: second base, middle infield, relief pitching
Money to spend? There's not much tinkering expected of a team that surprised everyone by winning the NL West in 2011 -- the rotation is looking good and most of the positions are already manned. The team declined its option on second baseman Aaron Hill, but could also look at former Diamondback second baseman Kelly Johnson. The bullpen was radically rebuilt last season, but could use some tweaking.

Colorado Rockies | R.I.P.
Needs: starting pitching, second base, third base
Money to spend? The team needs a starter and also two infield spots -- all without spending much money. They could be looking to trade to find their infielders and a lefty reliever. But they also need a pitcher that can throw 200 innings in a season, but those don't come cheap on the open market. They'd also like a right-handed bat.

Los Angeles Dodgers | R.I.P.
Needs:catcher, second base, third base, starting pitching, relief pitching
Money to spend? Who knows? With the Frank McCourt mess, nobody knows what the future holds for the Dodgers. If they are sold, the timing may still be off for any big additions to the budget. In a perfect world, the Dodgers are looking at the big names like Fielder, Reyes and Wilson, but it doesn't seem like that will happen.

San Diego Padres | R.I.P.
Needs: closer, relief pitching, corner outfield, middle infield
Money to spend? The Padres have money to spend and spots to fill -- but don't expect them to be wooing the big names. Big money in San Diego is still small money to the likes of the Phillies and Cubs. The highest-priced free agent likely to sign with San Diego is closer Heath Bell.

San Francisco Giants | R.I.P.
Needs: shortstop, corner outfielder
Money to spend? The Giants will spend for the right player, and Reyes may just be that player. Or Rollins. The team may also try to retain Carlos Beltran, but at his age and injury history, the Giants are unlikely to gamble with a multiyear contract.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 1, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Red Sox, Cubs compensation deadline looms



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Remember that whole compensation thing that held up Theo Epstein's departure from Boston? Well, it appears it will be going to the judge… or at least the commissioner, Bud Selig.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told the Boston Globe that there has been no real progress on the talks between the two, and with Tuesday being the deadline for the two to work it out, Selig will likely determine what the Red Sox get in return for their former general manager.

"It's a difficult deal to work out because it's too hard to quantity the value of Theo Epstein," Cherington told the Globe's Peter Abraham. "I have an idea of it and Theo doesn't think he's worth as much as I do. We haven't been able to bridge that game yet."

The new Boston GM did say he hadn't talked much with the old GM -- "We've talked a little bit but he's pretty busy with other things and so have we," Cherington said.

Cherington said he would take one more stab at resolving the compensation issue, but didn't sound hopeful.

Cherington said each side would make a case before either Selig or his representative, and then Selig will make a ruling. Some seemed to see Selig's involvement as meddling, but at this point, it's a necessary evil to get this done and put behind everyone.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 8:23 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 8:35 pm
 

New Padres GM Byrnes won't let team suffer

Byrnes

By Evan Brunell

In a move that could decimate the Padres for years to come, new Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is razing the Padres front office, sniping Padres GM Jed Hoyer and his assistant, Jason MacLeod, who will fill similar roles in Chicago. San Diego will get a player to be named later as compensation, expected to be a low-level minor leaguer.

This move has been expected for a while, but now that it's finally official, we can look at the shockwaves of this deal in San Diego. Lost in all the hubbub over Theo Epstein joining the Cubs and the Red Sox promoting Epstein's protege, Ben Cherington, is the impact these moves have on San Diego. The club is losing two of its top executives to what is now a "dream team" structure in Chicago, after Epstein went looking for lieutenants he trusted once Boston refused to allow any executives to follow Epstein to Chicago. While the move was done with the blessing of Padres CEO Jeff Moorad, who now gets to elevate Josh Byrnes into the GM seat, it's a major change that could derail the club.

GM Carousel
Byrnes and Moorad have previous ties, when Moorad steered the ship in Arizona and brought Byrnes to town from Boston. The then-35-year-old was hired in 2005 (allowing Hoyer to rise to the assistant GM role with the Red Sox) and was given an eight-year extension prior to the 2008 season Under Byrnes' watch, the Diamondbacks did improve the from the season before, but that's pretty easy to do when the 2004 team lost 111 games. The team did go on to win a division title, but floundered for three seasons before Byrnes was cut loose partway through 2010.

The Diamondbacks' philosophy upon starting its franchise in 1998 was to go hard after top free agents and pay money for them to come to town. It paid off in 2001, with a World Series victory in a series that hasn't been matched since. However, all the deferred cash coming due to aging veterans hit the team hard, and Byrnes came in to try to turn it around. Under his watch, the D-Backs worked their way up from irrelevancy to winning the division title in 2007 with 90 victories. However, the club slumped after that season, all the way to last place in 2009 with 92 losses. When Arizona got 2010 off to a similarly poor start, that was it for Byrnes in town. In the meantime, the farm system suffered, as the club ranked No. 22 heading into 2011, according to Baseball America. However, as BA notes, 'Zona's system is rich in the low minors, which could eventually bear fruit. And of course, the Diamondbacks won the NL West in 2011, in no small part due to Byrnes' contributions.

Meanwhile, Hoyer and MacLeod have brought the Padres along rather nicely in the two years they had to replace Kevin Towers, who is now Diamondbacks GM. The Padres have a fantastic farm system, strengthened by the trade of Adrian Gonzalez to Boston and have made several savvy moves to boost the major-league team, such as plucking Cameron Maybin from the Marlins and seeing him develop into a quality centerfielder like he was supposed to. There's no question that losing Hoyer and MacLeod will hurt San Diego, but Moorad is extremely confident in Byrnes, who is still highly-regarded may even be better than before, having seen how things transpired in Arizona and learning from it

It's near impossible to speculate how well the Padres will do under Byrnes, but fans shouldn't despair. Byrnes understands how to work in a small market and will cultivate the farm system. Fortunately, the club has a well-established manager in Bud Black to oversee the team, so there won't be a risk of Byrnes making a mistake on who to lead the team on the field, having hired a green A.J. Hinch in Arizona and drawing the ire and scorn of many in the game (and yet, there's none for Robin Ventura...), with Hinch and the club showing a lack of fire that destroyed the team. (Hinch remains well-regarded and should manage again or become GM one day.)

Given how Byrnes and Hoyer come from similar schools of thought and worked under Epstein, it's unlikely Byrnes will rip up the processes that have been installed in San Diego over the last few years. Rather, he'll continue them, while putting his own stamp on the team. The rise of Arizona in 2007 and 2011 should make Pads fans confident in Byrnes, even though the loss of Hoyer hurts.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: October 25, 2011 8:08 pm
 

Sandberg spotted in Chicago, rumors swirl

Ryne SandbergBy C. Trent Rosecrans

On the day Theo Epstein confirmed his Lincoln Park Starbucks visit earlier this month, there's another sighting of a possible Cub in the Windy City -- the Chicago Tribune quotes two Chicago baseball fans as having seen Hall of Famer and potential Cubs manager Ryne Sandberg in downtown Chicago on Tuesday.

Of course, Sandberg played for the Cubs for 15 seasons and has a home in Chicago, so reading too much into his strolling down a Chicago sidewalk on a Tuesday afternoon is quite the leap in logic.

Still, Epstein was announced as the new President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs on Tuesday and incumbent manager Mike Quade is perceived as a lame duck, while Sandberg was a candidate to get the job last year when the Cubs hired Quade and has gotten rave reviews from baseball people for his work as a minor league manager.

During his introductory news conference, Epstein said he would speak to Quade this week, but was noncommittal about his manager's future.

Sanberg interviewed for Boston's Triple-A managerial position last season, but he'd already committed to manager Philadelphia's Triple-A team, so he turned down the job in Pawtucket. Sandberg managed four years in the Cubs minor league system, winning the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year Award in 2010. Sandberg's Lehigh Valley team won the International League wild card, going 80-64. The IronPigs were 58-86 in 2010 before Sandberg's tenure with the team.

I've talked to several baseball people who have been very impressed with Sandberg's managerial style and aptitude for the game, so when he does get a managerial position -- and he will -- it will be because of his merits as a manager, not because of his exploits as a player.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 25, 2011 8:08 pm
 

Sandberg spotted in Chicago, rumors swirl

Ryne SandbergBy C. Trent Rosecrans

On the day Theo Epstein confirmed his Lincoln Park Starbucks visit earlier this month, there's another sighting of a possible Cub in the Windy City -- the Chicago Tribune quotes two Chicago baseball fans as having seen Hall of Famer and potential Cubs manager Ryne Sandberg in downtown Chicago on Tuesday.

Of course, Sandberg played for the Cubs for 15 seasons and has a home in Chicago, so reading too much into his strolling down a Chicago sidewalk on a Tuesday afternoon is quite the leap in logic.

Still, Epstein was announced as the new President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs on Tuesday and incumbent manager Mike Quade is perceived as a lame duck, while Sandberg was a candidate to get the job last year when the Cubs hired Quade and has gotten rave reviews from baseball people for his work as a minor league manager.

During his introductory news conference, Epstein said he would speak to Quade this week, but was noncommittal about his manager's future.

Sanberg interviewed for Boston's Triple-A managerial position last season, but he'd already committed to manager Philadelphia's Triple-A team, so he turned down the job in Pawtucket. Sandberg managed four years in the Cubs minor league system, winning the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year Award in 2010. Sandberg's Lehigh Valley team won the International League wild card, going 80-64. The IronPigs were 58-86 in 2010 before Sandberg's tenure with the team.

I've talked to several baseball people who have been very impressed with Sandberg's managerial style and aptitude for the game, so when he does get a managerial position -- and he will -- it will be because of his merits as a manager, not because of his exploits as a player.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
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