Cubs notes from the GM Meetings

It's been a bit of a slow start for the Cubs so far as GMs just started arriving about a couple of hours ago.  There was some big news around the league as Matt Kemp signed an extension with the Dodgers and Jonathan Papelbon signed a staggering deal with the Phillies.  Check out the author on those two links, by the way ;)

I'm going to keep this as an open thread and add things as we get Cubs news.  So keep checking in and feel free to add news you may have heard in the comments section.

  • The news of Shiraz Rehman's hiring as an Assistant to the GM broke today on several mainstream websites.  Gee...where have we heard that before?
  • Carlos Zambrano and his agent Barry Praver arrived at the meetings, presumably to speak face to face with Theo Epstein.
  • According to a tweet by SIs Jon Heyman, the Cubs will have a second round to their managerial search.  He didn't say if this was just a second round of interviews with the same 4 candidates or whether any new names would be added -- or have been eliminated for that matter.
  • Aramis Ramirez is looking for a 4 year deal or at least a 3 year deal w/option.  They will not be talking to the Cubs, however, saying "that ship has sailed".  Indeed it has, and it was the Cubs providing the wind behind those sails.
  • Starlin Castro's agent, Paul Kinzer, says Castro will be in Chicago Friday to meet with Theo.  Perhaps to talk about that long term deal I've been clamoring about?  Let's hope so.  Because he's so young, the Cubs may want to buy out his arb years and at least one free agent year.  He'll be in his peak years by the time he becomes a free agent.
  • Aramis Ramirez's agent is talking with the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Scott Boras plans to talk to Epstein about Carlos Pena, per the Sun-Times via twitter.
  • A source tells Jim Bowden that the Cubs are leaning toward Mike Maddux as their next manager.

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  • Like they say "Your the Man" just keep the info coming.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Thanks!

    I'll keep an eye on things and keep the news coming...hopefully we'll get something a bit more substantial as the day goes on.

  • Well, I guess we can conclude Theo and Jed weren't that impressed by any of the candidates. This is becoming pretty frustrating. The Cardinals picked their manager; why can't we pick ours? Was the "short list" of the 4 who have interviewed incorrect? If so, why? Why was the list made up of four people, none of whom the Cubs wanted?

  • In reply to johnbres2:

    They haven't ruled any of them out, so I think they're still trying to choose. There's been no word as to whether there will be any other candidates, so it seems more like they like more than one of the current guys right now and want more info. Don't forget the Red Sox are also conducting a second round. Unfortunately, Heyman wasn't very specific in his tweet.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Here is his exact tweet...

    "Cubs will do a second round in managerial derby. So far its between maddux sveum alomar and mackanin"

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Wow! You mean it is between the four guys the Cubs have interviewed? That Heyman sure is a hot-shot investigative reporter!

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Haha...I like how h added the "so far", which means there could be more candidates...or fewer...could mean anything. Another heymanism!

  • Not a fan of the Kemp deal, seems to be a little of the speculative side. How many times have we seen a good player have a great season, become overvalued and then revert to being simply good?

    Over the previous three seasons he averaged a slash line of .278/.334 /.466 and 150+Ks ...yes he is a good player who has always shown great potential, but is a single season of living up to that potential worth a 8 year, $160mm guaranteed contract?

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    I'm not a fan of the Papelbon deal. It's just a lot of money for a closer. He's also on the other side of 30 now.

    I didn't analyze those deals at the time since the news was breaking quickly but I would have been more in favor of the Kemp deal because of his youth and athleticism, but no doubt it's a huge risk for that kind of money.

  • Congrats on the by-lines, John. Is this a new gig for you?

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Thanks. Yes, I'll be writing part time (Mon,Wed from 1-3) for SB Nation/MLB Daily Dish, but my main focus will be right here on Cubs Den, of course!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Very cool John!! Man you are blowing up! Back to John Heyman.....I think i'm going to start calling Professor obvious...will because he is. I can say now John, you are one the the breaking news guys out there now.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Thanks Steve!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Of course John, you deserve it!

  • Interesting stuff about Zambrano. I'm sure Carlos and his agent want to try and strut him around a bit so other teams can perceive he may be "recovered." I'll be just as happy to see that resolved as I will be about the manager. Do you think the Cubs would consider Oquendo for manager? You seem pretty high on them and maybe Epstein and co., like you , thought he was a shoo-in for the Cardinals gig.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Honestly, I don't know if Theo would consider Oquendo. He's considered a good baseball man and he's well-liked by the players, but I don't know much beyond that. It seemed like a natural fit since he would provide continuity for the team, but apparently the Cards GM has been a big fan of Matheny for a long time...sounds a bit like the Padres owner Jeff Moorad and GM Eric Byrnes.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Cardinals have been sort of grooming Matheny for years, so i'm not shocked at all he got the job. The funny part is that the same Cardinal fans who ripped the White Sox for hiring Ventura with no experience in coaching are praising the Cards for the same thing....idiots.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    How do you groom a guy without even having him on the field to coach?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good question, but I remember when he was playing with the Cardinals and LaRussa and management "raved" about him. I kind of also think that the team did not think LaRussa was going to retire now and thought they had more time to "groom" Matheny. I still think Oquendo was jobbed and the Cards were so impressed by Matheny that he would be a better leader, pretty risky to hand over a world series winning team to a first time manager with little experience.

  • http://www.foxsportsmidwest.com/11/14/11/Matheny-now-must-shape-his-coaching-staf/landing_stlcardinals.html?blockID=604038&feedID=8745

    Or maybe they could get Oquendo to join the Cub's staff in some fashion.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    I wouldn't rule it out. Oquendo may be unhappy after the snub. The tricky part is he's still under contract as far as I know and the Cards may not want him coming here to Chicago. They've denied him access in the past when it came to looking for other jobs.

  • You would think though after the snub that denying him access would certainly cause some friction. And that would be awesome.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    It would be. Anything that can make the Cards as dysfunctional as the Cubs have been the last couple of years would be great for us.

  • Do you have any specific sources/knowledge that this is to discuss a contract extension? If not it just seems like baseless speculation to me.

    This could be a number of things, such as Theo wanting to meet one of the young cornerstones of the franchise.

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    That's why I used the word "perhaps" and phrased it as a question. It's purely speculation but I have talked to people in the industry who think that this is exactly what the Cubs should do.

  • Aramis on the Brewers would be fine with me. They are really worried about replacing Fielder's production. But with Ramirez' defensive abilities in decline, this is fine by me.

    Also, the Pirates were buyers at the trade deadline for the first time in a long time. Do you see them being players in the free agent market or will they stand pat? I'm trying to get a gauge of what the rest of our division will do in the off season.

    As far as the Cards, they have Matt Adams in the minors at 1b coming off a 32 hr. year in a very hitter friendly park and two top ten prospect RHP (Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez). Adams' defense is suspect though. Their pitching could continue to be downright scary. Moving forward, St. Louis should continue to be our number one enemy. It will be fun to finally overtake them.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    If they give him 4 years there's no way he finishes as a 3rd baseman.

    As for the Pirates, I don't think they'll spend big in FA. They may go after a couple of value guys. Really tough for a place like Pitt to get substantial free agents without overpaying, and that's something they really can't afford to do.

    I think the Cards will make a signing or two, especially if they lose Pujols.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Break ... even given the Dusty factor, don't overlook Jocketty and the Reds!!! Jocketty just signed a 3 yr extension thru 2014.

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    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/11/non-tender-candidates.html

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I was perusing that list. A name that sounded kind of interesting to me was Chris Volstad. Used to be a pretty good prospect with the Marlins.

  • Theo and Big Z were spotted at Goose Island today. ( Theo's probably gonna start ordering in if every time he goes out for a meal it winds up on the news. Since when do we spell Chicago with a TMZ....)

    Paplebon's las contract with the Red Sox was nuts, and the Phillies just topped it. That bubbles going to burst. I'd have a little contingency plan for Cole Hammels if I was part of the Theocrats...

    The St. Louis hiring makes a tad more sense than the White Sox hire. But just a tad. Then again, I haven't been impressed with the Cardinals for 5 years, and in that span they won 2 World Series. So shows what I know....

  • In reply to felzz:

    Can't believe that Papelbon contract either. He's coming off a great year...but still. And I don't know how the Cardinals do it either. They're always doing strange things and somehow they always work out. The Cubs do strange things and they just get stranger.

  • I really like Aramis and had a blast watching him all these years with but no WAY would I give him 4 years. His injury history/age makes it too much of a risk. If he does end up in Mil. I hope the Cubs pitchers got the memo. Don't throw the dude a first pitch fastball!

  • In reply to RyneK:

    Agreed...Aramis isn't going up there looking to work the count. He's going to swing at the first good pitch he sees. Make him chase and hopefully fall behind early

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    This is a good site, but you make it sound like you are driving the news cycle with "gee, where have we heard that before" and "that long-term contract I've been clamoring about." When is the blogosphere going to learn that bashing the mainstream media is biting the hand that feeds them? As a mainstream media person, I do consider blogs to be part of the media, but we all have to work together - not bash each other. It's not you vs. us. It's about providing as many outlest of information as possible.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Thanks for the kind words, Gregory.

    I agree it's a very symbiotic relationship and that both forms of media have their advantages. We should definitely work together. Sometimes the credit doesn't go both ways, though. You won't see the mainstream media link blogs when they come up with something but you'll always see blogs credit the media. We deserve as much credit for our finds as the mainstream media.

    I wrote about the Rehman hiring a couple of days before it came out, but the only mention of that came from another blog (Bleacher Nation). In the case of that link, I was simply crediting myself for finding it first. My intention in that case was not to disparage the media.

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