Cubs Notes: 2nd interviews not official? Ausmus 7th candidate?; Tanaka, Castillo, and the DH

Cubs Notes: 2nd interviews not official?  Ausmus 7th candidate?; Tanaka, Castillo, and the DH
Dan Vogelbach

The baseball season has come down to a 3 game series with the Red Sox knotting up the series 2-2 on the strength of Clay Buchholz's pitching and Johnny Gomes's 3-run shot.

Try to make sense of the managerial search

Meanwhile the Cubs wait for the series to talk person-to-person with 6th candidate Torey Lovullo.  Eric Wedge has not been formally interviewed, though he did have a phone conversation with the team.

In case you missed it, Ken Rosenthal announced A.J. Hinch and Rick Renteria would get 2nd interviews, but Patrick Mooney says that is not the case, though the two candidates are still in play.  Mooney has been on target so far, so we'll hold off a bit on that Rosenthal version.

Mooney also says that sources are sending signals that Brad Ausmus may get an interview and is definitely a factor in the search and that Manny Acta is not a primary candidate right now.  I have heard from my own sources that Dave Martinez isn't a major candidate either.

If the Cubs continue the same pattern as last season, they will eventually choose 3 candidates for 2nd interviews.  Renteria has long been considered the favorite but A.J. Hinch is the outside-the-box candidate whose unique experience working closely with prospects makes him an intriguing candidate.   Even though the Cubs haven't come out and formally said it, I believe they are leaning toward those two right now, but with 2 to 3 other candidates yet to interview they cannot really say that right now.

What if the other 3 blow the Cubs away?  Not likely, but possible.  If the Cubs indeed want to narrow the list to 3 again, it would put them in a difficult position.

For what it's worth, assuming Acta and Martinez are out, I'm hoping the final 3 are Hinch, Ausmus, and I think Renteria's bilingual ability gives him the edge over Lovullo for my 3rd choice, though I do like Lovullo a lot and he'd be my 3rd  choice if Ausmus doesn't get an opportunity.

Masahiro Tanaka top priority

We've been reporting this for almost 2 months, since this September 5th article, but Phil Rogers formerly of the Tribune and now with MLB.com reported this weekend that Masahiro Tanaka will be the Cubs top priority this offseason.

It makes a ton of sense because it will only cost the Cubs money.  And even though it may be an overpay in terms of dollars, it will not cost the Cubs any long term assets in terms of players or draft picks.  Considering the Cubs are still trying to build, that is a key for them.  Rogers believes the competition will be as strong or stronger than it was for Yu Darvish because of Darvish's success with Texas.  That has added to the confidence that Tanaka can succeed in the MLB.

Welington Castillo

The Cubs certainly have contingency plans in place and some speculation has them willing to consider moving Castillo, but only if they acquire a lefty hitting young catcher (i.e. Jarrod Saltalamacchia) and if they can get a strong return for their up and coming backstop.  If he were to enter the market, I have heard that the Dodgers, Rays, Marlins, and even the Astros could come calling despite the presence of their own top young catcher, Jason Castro.  If that is indeed true, I'm imagining here that the Astros  are just in the business of collecting assets or that Castro himself would be involved in the deal.  Either way, that seems like a pretty big stretch.

But the Cubs are also in the business of collecting assets and trading Castillo makes little sense unless the Cubs can deal him and still somehow increase their overall inventory of potential pre-prime core players.  I think it's a long shot but an angle the Cubs may have to consider if other avenues are closed.

The DH coming to NL?

Not yet, but Bud Selig didn't rule it out, according to this piece by Paul Hagen, who covers the Athletics for  MLB.com.  The appeal to the Cubs, of course, is the ability to add another hitter to the lineup.  We talked about Dan Vogelbach and how some scouts rave about his hitting ability and that while he has improved his defense, it is still below average.  It would go a long way toward solving the Cubs lack of LH hitters in the minors.  With the prerequisite disclaimer that "not all prospects pan out", Anthony Rizzo and Dan Vogelbach in the middle of the Cubs lineup along with Bryant, Baez, Soler, Almora and Castro sounds downright scary.

 

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  • No thanks to Salty. I say let Castillo catch a majority of the games this year and see what he can do offensively.

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    In reply to Javier Bryant:

    I'm with you on Salty...just don't see the upside there, other than switch hitting. He had by far his best offensive year this year, and defensively he's nothing special.
    On another note, I've said it before, but it's time to stop playing with two different sets of rules! I've always been a NL fan, but the DH isn't going anywhere in the AL, and it just plain sucks to see such a big impact in the World Series brought on by the total rule change between ballparks! Let's just see which team plays better baseball, already! (Plus, I would selfishly love to see Vogs in Wrigley!)

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    I'd rather the Cubs keep Castillo too. I think they should treat him the way they treat all their core players -- you only trade him if you get signficant surplus value in return and a young replacement. I think the odds are against that happening.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    We agree on that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I can't imagine why the Cubs would want to move Castillo, I just can't, especially after this past season. And get what to replace him? Salta-whatever isn't showing much in the World Serious. I fear that if they moved Castillo, we would see Hill make another appearance to plug a gap. Just don't do that already! Just don't!

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    I'm with you. I'd rather find some other way to plug holes, but I'm really just mentioning it more as the Cubs keeping all options open. My guess is that nothing like that actually goes down this offseason. Too many things have to fall right into place and the Cubs have to come out way ahead for it to happen, and I find that unlikely.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Just think. Ross, a career back-up , is playing as much as Salty in the series. Something John Farrell and Torrey Lovullo know that no one else does?

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    "...even the Astros could come calling despite the presence of their own top young catcher, Jason Castro."

    I'm remember Kevin Goldstein tweeting in August of last year before he took the Astros job that he believed the Cubs had found their catcher of the future in Castillo.

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    He did say that. He's always kind of liked Castillo. But the Astros do have their own catcher of the future, so I think it'd be a weird trade.

  • I wondered when Ausmus's name was going to come into this. He has everything they want in a manager except the experience, kind of like Hinch except he does have some experience at least,albeit not successful at first stop. It will be interesting to see which way they go. I wouldn't be against a smart guy who only lacks experience given a shot.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    I'm really hoping for an outside the box choice this time, so for he that's either Hinch or Ausmus. I feel good about Renteria and Lovullo, but something about the other two to me seems like they have more upside to be something special.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Might be time for a fresh approach to the game, Ausmus spent 18 seasons behind the plate. After all this isn't rocket science, 2 guys in the series had little or no experience.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    No experience keeps him off my list and shoudl do so to the FO..

  • Love VogelBOMB! But detest the DH idea.

    I taking Felz's approach to the "Meh-nager" search. Wake me when it's over....

    Watching Salty's defense, or lack thereof... and this FO's penchant for playing solid D. Can't imagine they'd target him as anything but a younger more consistent platoon partner for Beef, not a replacement. Navarro was awesome, but similarly left a lot to be desired defensively. Can he repeat a career year?... A replacement for Navarro would be my only interest in Salty...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    FWIW, having a platoon partner will help Beef's offensive numbers, and make him fresher for end of season/post season play, lengthen his career, etc...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Salty is going to get a starting spot somewhere, can't see him going anywhere as a backup.

    I'm pretty excited about the candidates, actually. I know they're not brand name guys, but I think they have an excellent group.

    As for the DH, I'm not that much of a purist in baseball. I know that others are but for me it's about putting the best talent on the field.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Actually John, it's not the candidates, or this FO and their process that bore me (though I wouldn't say I'm excited by any of them).... it's the media working every conceivable angle and at times, creating news when there is none. i.e., this FO never said they were shopping Beef....

    Salty & Navarro both may get starting gigs somewhere... all we need is a b/u catcher with an avg stick. It's be nice if they hit LH.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I was excited about the last managerial search process, the candidates and the final choice. Given how that all worked out, my enthusiasm (and faith that they willl make the right choice) has taken a hit.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I could be viewed as a purist for sure. But to me there are two different things going on here, the second of which is never discussed. So this isn't a shot at John, just a fundamental disagreement, and since this is a good forum for debate I will throw it out there.

    When I hear purist I believe that is a term that has a negative connotation, without care to the actual term. I am a purist in that the AL doesn't play baseball, they play a game much like it but it should have a different name. That is how much the DH alters the game from it is created form. So am I a purist? yes, if others are eager for a different game that is a different discussion for a different day.

    Again, not a shot here but just a point. John, your comment of "for me it's about putting the best talent on the field." While that probably sounds good, the logical conclusion to that thought process is that we should have a pitcher and 8 fielders with a lineup of 9 players. As long as that fits in my 25 man roster the hitters and fielders need not matchup one bit. We just want to have the best talent on the field and to maximize that by having the top fielders and hitters in the game at the same time. Mind you the game was never created to be a game like that, players needed talents on both sides of the ball.

    That is what we have in just a limited basis in the A.L. It isn't just the pitcher not hitting, it is Big Papi not having to man 1b all season. The wear and tear that would take. In fact I often argued I don't understand the AL rule that only the pitcher can be DH'd for. Why not a second baseman, if my pitcher can hit?

    Fundamental to baseball is the dichotomy of offense and defense. In one way or another it has been fundamental go the game. Heck, even today prospects are judged strictly and closely by it. Why isn't Voglebach not a top 20 prospect? His defense. The game was made such that to field the best TEAM you had to balance between fielding and hitting, and that included pitching. You can choose any 9 you like but they need to play both sides of the ball. The DH fundamentally changed that balance.

    I equate it to basketball, it is like the Western conference going to a rule that each team gets a designated free throw shooter. Every time there is a foul the team fouled can bring in there designated free throw shooter to take the shots. I mean who wants to see people brick free throws? Or the NHL has a league that allows a team to designate a player to go to the box instead of the offending player of a penalty? That keeps the best talent on the ice. Of course these would alter those games tremendously, and yet still not as much as baseball was changed by the DH. If fundamentally changed the basic putting your 9 best on the field. Now it is your best 10. Why not your best 13? or whatever number allows for your best lineup and best fielding team?

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Great way to put it, I totally agree.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Good for you! Thank you for that post.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Well put. Except for the problem of expanded rosters along with growing salaries, it would not surprise me one bit to see baseball eventually go to an expanded roster and specialists for offense and defense. The best hitters and the best fielders, just different people.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    I don't mean purist in a negative way, jUst as a word for those who don't want the game changed or altered. Maybe traditionalist is a better word. At any rate, we're only talking about taking the pitcher's bat out of the equation.

    Baseball is the only game that doesn't allow you to substitute players in and out of the game. You say NBA teams shouldn't have a designated free throw shooter. I agree. But every NBA team has the ability to put in their best free throw shooters in when the situation calls for it, then take them out again. They may change from possession to possession. Put your shooters in when you're down by 3 and have the ball, then call timeout and put your defenders and rebounders in the game. Hockey substitutes an entire unit in depending on whether they are one man up or one man down on a power play. Football makes substitutions based on yardage and down situations. All these sports let you change and then sub back your regular units once the situation changes again.

    Baseball rules are more rigid and they don't allow you to put your best personnel in for the right situation. I think the DH is a small move in that direction. Think of it as shifting in a better player for the situation. They don't need to do this for every player -- and at any rate the cost would be prohibitive, but I don't see anything wrong with subbing in a hitter for the pitcher.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The upside of the DH is that one can watch guys like the 'Big Papi' hit more, but part of charm of baseball is that it's different than other sports with no clock and limited substitution rules. The DH doesn't ruin the game as much as it puts it closer to being the same as lesser spots.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I have been watching the WS and man, can you look away when Ortiz is at the plate? no way. no DH and he probably does not have the same career. he is a monster right now.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Amen Brother, preach on. If it's about putting the best talent on the field, a guy who isn't good enough to play in the field isn't the best talent. In the old days, if you wanted Dave Kingman's offensive potential, you had to put up with his liabilities in the field. You had to make a choice. If you're going to have a DH, why not just have offensive and defensive teams and completely ruin the game forever?

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    Exactly!

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Agree. On all counts!

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    John. Have you read this interview?
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/torey-lovullo-future-big-league-manager/

    Seems like a perfect fit.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    I have seen it. I linked it once. i think he's a good name in this. My favorite in this is still Hinch with Lovullo/Renteria being solid choices too. And if Ausmus enters the fray, I'd be intrigued to learn more. I heard he blew the Red Sox away in their interview and might have gotten the job had they not been so set on Farrell.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Loved that interview. It made him potentially my favorite candidate.

    One thing he mentioned that I haven't seen elsewhere was finding consistency in a lineup card, something that Sveum sorely lacked (and something I feel helps player development). If you go to the park having no idea where you'll be hitting, you have to do more thinking than just preparing. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Castro would have done at least a bit better by staying in a consistent spot in the lineup last year.

    That also tells me that Lovullo can blend the numbers with the "real life" old school, more mental aspects of the players and the game.

  • John, I'm glad you put in the prerequisite disclaimer that "not all prospects pan out" because Cubs fans craving the DH in the NL just to see V-bomb are nuts. Call me a purist, but I do not want it. If his bat can carry him to the Majors, he'll be there (either with the Cubs or on another team, but having brought good assets to the Cubs). If he doesn't pan out, the ramifications are much worse. Then the Cubs would have to find yet another player to provide DH-level contributions. This doesn't even mention the added need for better pitching when teams are facing DHs for 162 games a year.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I like the Cubs chances long term with a DH because of how good this FO is at scouting hitters. I think if it's not Vogelbach, then it will be someone somewhere down the line.

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    In reply to cubbie steve:

    It would be nice if AL and NL teams had a level playing field and consistency in the rules. Whether that means get rid of the DH in the AL or make it an option in both leagues is irrelevant.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    We could make all parks identical in dimensions and conditions too, thus completely eliminating any type of variation in the game.....

    Not picking on you personally. But eliminating the DH or making the DH universal is just as outlandish as my statement to some.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I just hate to see the World Series outcome potentially affected by Napoli not getting in on a double switch in game 3 (or being on the bench in the first place). I'm not saying that cost them the game, but in the World Championship of the highest level of baseball I would like to see it decided by who plays the game the best, not who manages best by a set of rules they haven't managed by all year. Just my opinion.
    I wouldn't mind seeing Yankee Stadium have to do away with their short porch in right, though...

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I think that's a great way to put it.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Outlandish is one league with essentially two "divisions" (I don't know how else to define it) playing under separate sets of rules. It has nothing to do with variation in the game. Using your line of reasoning, why not put four outfielders in the National League and six infielders in the American league? A DH in one league and not in another, when both leagues play each other consistently and based on which team has the home field advantage is not a variation in the game, it is a variation in the rules.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Aggh. Once again the DH rears it's ugly head. Under your logic why not have and offense and a defense like in football? 18 guys: 9 that hit, 9 that field.How is hitting for the pitcher any different than hitting for a catcher?

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    The way I see it, they do have consistency when all things are considered. At AL stadiums, you can play a better defensive player and DH a better bat. Yes, NL teams won't have as great of hitters on their benches, and yes that is a weakness at AL stadiums. But the trade off is that when same teams play in the NL stadiums, teams have to decide whether to sacrifice offense or defense. And there's the strategy aspect of it. Double-switches, bunting, being "forced" to go to the bullpen for the sake of offensive situations. David Ortiz playing first base the past couple games is part of the beauty of the sport to me.

    Just my opinion, but I like both as they are.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Good points on the DH. If we Cubs fans think we'll have a decided advantage with Vogelbach as a DH, think again:
    a) If he doesn't pan out, it leaves another starter spot to fill;
    b) Other NL teams have their own Vogelbachs ! E.g., Matt Adams/ Allan Craig.
    c) He will probably need a RH DH as a platoon, which means another role/roster spot.
    d) As you say, we will need better pitching in our hitter-friendly ball park to combat other teams' DHs.

    Even though we like Vogelbach's potential now, we have to think more long-term on this DH issue. It isn't linked to just one guy on one team.

  • We'd all like this to be over, but it ain't, and won't be for a while as nearly as I can see. I'm in no rush. I just want to get somebody who might stick. IMO Dusty might be the most over-rated manager in my lifetime as a fan. What happened to Prior alone is plenty of evidence.

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    The DH isn't going away, and it's time for both leagues to start playing by the same set of rules. Given the evolution of the DH, the NL is now at a competitive disadvantage in being able to sign players to long term deals.

    It's pretty obvious the Cubs are waiting around to talk to Lovullo, and Ken Rosenthal is wrong almost as often as Bob Nightengale. So I tend to not put a lot of stock in anything he says.

    I'm against trading Castillo and signing Saltalamacchia unless the net return obviously makes the Cubs a better team over the long haul.

    There are more rumors out there about the Cubs moving Samardzija this winter. The rumors say that him and the Cubs are a long ways apart on an extension, and as a result, the team will look to move him this winter while his value is at it's max.

    It's not unthinkable that, if the Cubs signed Saltalamachhia, they might attempt to package Samardzija and Castillo together in order to get the most return possible. Throw in Schierholtz and you have the potential for a mega-deal.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    They aren't going to give Castillo away. Look at who has interest two teams should bring up big flags.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    100% agreed!

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    NL teams are not at a competitive disadvantage when playing in NL parks. Maybe MLB should bring back orange baseball's, 'little people' pinch hitters' and legalize PED's. Personally, I don't see the big deal having the DH in one league and not the other. It's a means to please both purists and homerun derby fans.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    You didn't read what I said. So here it is.

    "Given the evolution of the DH, the NL is now at a competitive disadvantage in being able to sign players to long term deals."

    That statement says nothing about games being played in AL or NL parks.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Ok, sorry. Unfortunately, there is that.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Only because guys that are defensive liabilities i.e. Big Papi or the ChiSox new cuban FA have no place in the NL.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    You don't think it is kind of bizzare that Boston has to sit their cleanup hitter on the bench, in the biggest games of their season, because they are playing under different rules? Only baseball has such a ludicrous setup.

  • That is no more bizzare than a one tool player earnings millions annually. Maybe they should have considered a DH with some positional flexibility? Or maybe they should have considered a 1B with some positional flexibility since they knew they would have to accommodate their DH?....

    There's lots of angles to take... Why should we change the rules of a historic league to accommodate these one tool wonders?

  • they don't "have to" sit their cleanup hitter. Quite honestly, this is what makes it even when NL Clubs have to play AL clubs. You act like StL wasn't at a disadvantage having to put a bench player in their regular starting lineup the first two games. It all evens out in the end.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Mega deals are rare and if you give up those three players in one trade you are bound to get the short end of the deal as compared to packaging them separately. "Throw Ins" for lack of a better word are designed to level slight differences in valuation between two teams. If the Cubs gave up those three players to one team you would either be bankrupting some other team's minor league system, which probably won't happen or, paying too much for too few top prospects.

  • It's interesting that the Cubs have emerged as the Alpha dog in tabbing managerial candidates, as the other teams with openings are now interviewing previous unknowns, like Renteria. I also admire the regime for their moxy, letting it be known through the media that their situation offers the best opportunity. With either blind arrogance or strong confidence, they are sticking to their process guns and showing no fear that they will be the last ones standing in this game of manager musical chairs. Theo must once again be relishing wearing the "Boy Genius" tag, when you add the AFL hype and the Red Sox rebound to his managerial candidate dictates. When was the last time the Cubs were in the news so much during the WS? Go Theo!

  • If the Rays and Marlins are interested in Castillo doesn't that mean any team interested in Stanton or Price would be interested in Castillo?

  • In reply to KGallo:

    You're saying 3 way, then.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes

  • I'd like to see the Cubs get Masahiro Tanaka, but I don't see it happening... With the new changes to the International posting, the player will be able to choose from 3 teams or so... And let's say the Cubs are finalist... But also the Dodgers and Yankees... Why would Tanaka select the rebuilding team over 2 teams in it to win now?

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    Oh, and though I didn't say it in my comments above, I will say it here. There is no reason not to be seriously interested in Tanaka. This organization desperately needs FOTR type starters, and he will only cost money.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Couldn't agree more. And that's not to minimize the importance of spending money, but if you're getting a rare commodity in his prime, not giving up prospects or losing draft picks, that's the time to overpay if you have to.

  • No on Salt. Yes on Tanaka. Maybe on Ausmus. My gut says Ausmus as he fits except that he has no experience, but he could grow with a young team. He's a leader, charismatic, and good with the media. Ausmus was the glue on those tough Astros teams. By the time that the Cubs are ready for post season play, he could be the manager every team wish that they had. Hinch is interesting as well as an out of the box guy. I'm not sure that he is would even be considered a retread like Acta and Wedge with short stint and mostly FO credentials.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'd be good with Tanaka and Ausmus as the two big additions this offseason.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I say tack on Nelson Cruz on a two year deal, too.

  • I don't see the cubs outbiding the yankees for Tanaka, so I am as good as sold that he won't be heading to Chicago, but I am interested to see which free agent starters and outfielders they target for possible midseason trades. I don't know the market on gavin floyd but I think the change from AL to NL could help him at least for the first half of the season. We could get a nice return seeing as he is still youngish. David Murphy also seems like a possible target. I don't see the Cubs going after any of the big name free agents like Elsburry or Granderson. Choo fits with Theo's strategy but I could only see them getting him if he like Michael Bourne/Kyle Lohse end up free agents late in the game and no one is willing to give up their first round draft pick.

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    In reply to Mick:

    Apparently, they won't necessarily have to outbid the Yankees:
    http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2013/10/28/5038350/mlb-nearing-new-posting-agreement-for-japanese-players-what-it-means

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    I'm not buying the rumored interest in Ausmus, at least not for the managerial vacancy, and here's why. They could've interviewed him anytime they chose to over the last few weeks, but they haven't, at least not that we know of.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Well, it's an on going process. Why not?

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    In reply to 44slug:

    I could see them wanting Ausmus to be on the coaching staff, but based on all the factors they said they were looking for, I don't think he is what they had in mind. Besides, why wait to interview him? Last time I checked, the Padres didn't make the playoffs. If he's really being considered, they would've gotten together with him before now because there was simply no logical reason that we know of for them not to do so.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    It would have to be that the FO is underwhelmed by interviewees thus far.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Again, no reason for them not to have already given him a first interview.

  • Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 1m
    An early draft of the BP 101 has three #Cubs prospects in the mix for top ten consideration. That's #rig.

  • Just imagine our DH batting for Barney when Wood is on the bump.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Sadly true.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Before long, I don't believe that we'll need to imagine this unless Barney stays on as a utility infielder, which is OK. He'd be a good one. However, he'll be replaced as starting 2B before the end of next season unless he starts swinging Roy Hobbs' Wonderboy bat.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Exactly. Whether it's Baez or Alcantara, by next September Barney will either be with another team or riding the pine. (I hope we move him for a couple of low level, high upside/projection type prospects personally)

  • Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 1m
    Baez and Giolito. Elite potential. RT @WexlerRules @ProfessorParks Outside of Buxton, which player in MiLB has the biggest overall upside?

    More from the Professor...

  • There may be an interest in Ausmus for several reasons: 1. Being a former catcher he has a better read on when a pitcher is done and should be taken out of a game; 2. He's not a retread and there are advantages to having a fresh face in the picture - namely, his contract situation could be an advantage for the cubs; and 3. More well-known managers are passing on the cubs because it appears they'd rather work with a core of veterans than with developing a team

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    Potential managers passing on the Cubs? Surely you just!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    jest

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Girardi ay be one example although his family probably played a major role in his decision. The two managers Quade and Sveum had a tendency to depend on veterans. Maddix took himself out of consideration - he just may be more comfortable where he is. There has been talk about Theo being interested in a former Red Sox manager, but nothing further there for whatever reason. Dusty won't be considered. So why aren't top managers jumping at the opportunity? Maybe its for the reason I mentioned, maybe not.

  • A potential Castillo trade? Judging whether it makes sense or not all depends on what they can get back in return. But philosophically, Catcher is a position that if you can get someone to overpay, it is easy to get a veteran catcher through free agency as the White Sox did in 2005 with Pierzynski and Russell Martin did in recent years for the Yankees and the Pirates. Part of the reason is catcher and closer have been the worst places to put long-term dollars. (Consider the different experiences of the Twins and Giants with Mauer and Posey.) Consequently there is always quality available for contenders to plug in with. Since the Cubs aren't ready to contend this year, I would definitely consider offers, just as I wish they had many years earlier with Soto.

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    In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Agreed. It is important not to look at is the Cubs giving Castillo away and signing Saltalamacchia. If the return on Castillo in trade warrants that trade and then signing Saltalamacchia it is a no brainer. It is not like the Cubs are going to sign one catcher and then simply release Castillo. So if Castillo yields you some young pitching or pitching prospects and you have to buy a catcher on the open market then you do that.

    For all the bitching and moaning about how the Cubs refuse to improve, almost everybody is against signing free agents or trading young players. It's hard not to fall in love with your own players but you have to keep an open mind. Measurable success should be the goal with every move you make.

    It has to be one or the other. The team as it sits isn't going to somehow be a legit World Series contender next year and simply adding Tanaka, a pitcher who will give you 27-33 starts and probably 4 wins over replacement at best, isn't the missing piece, but rather, one of several missing pieces.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Well said. My position is if trading one piece can net you two good long-term pieces in return, that's how you improve the team -- which is the goal (versus forcing a few fans to update their team jerseys). And if you can get two back plus replace with a veteran free agent to provide leadership in the infield and for the staff, all the better... especially as it relates to continuing the development of Samardzija and Wood. Samardzija is my bigger concern. One always worries that with the double hero-worshipping he gets from Wrigleyville-ites and the South Bend idolaters that he rests on the laurels of being the presumed staff Ace (with a 4.00 ERA - egads). I love the idea of getting a veteran free agent catcher in here to lead the young pitchers by word, example and occasional kick in the butt behind closed doors, which is what any quality major league team needs.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Makes too much sense.

  • Is it just me, watching Ellsbury in this World Series, does he look like a 150 million dollar contract player to you? He puts up the numbers, but I am not seeing a guy with a huge impact on the game.

  • I'd rather leave a CF spot open to see if Alcantara can play in the bigs, while allowing Baez & Olt to play too.

  • Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks now
    Almora might be the #Cubs top prospect. RT @dixonm13 @ProfessorParks Baez, Bryant, Edwards? Can't see Almora or Soler there yet.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Parks has always been big on Almora and I imagine there's a lot that factors into Almora being at the top, including his ability to play a premium defensive position at an elite level. I think when all is said and done, it's possible Almora may have more overall value than any Cubs prospect, even if other prospects put up bigger numbers.

  • For those of you who are interested in knowing more about Ausmus and what he might bring to the dugout, this is a great interview:
    http://www.npr.org/2011/08/18/139649031/covering-the-plate-a-baseball-catcher-tells-all. I don't feel qualified enough to really know if he's the right guy for the job, but I think John's onto something - there's a lot of upside there.

  • In reply to LBJCubfan:

    Thanks for the link LBJ.

  • With regards to the Cubs ability to land Tanaka with the new posting system, I was scared at first. But if the main competition is the Yankees, why would Tanaka & his agent want to negotiate with them if it is known New York wants to stay out of the luxury tax as much as possible? Even without directly speaking to the Cubs, it should be evident that they have the ability to spend the most on a contract, especially with their current modest payroll. That contract is obviously what Tanaka will be most concerned with, as he'll see none of the posting fee. His agent will do his homework & I'm sure the Cubs will be at the top of his list.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Realistically I'd think the biggest threats to the Cubs for Tanaka would be any team willing to throw around stupid money (read: irresponsible, obviously overvalued contracts). To me that's the Dodgers and maybe the Yankees and Red Sox. We know the Dodgers don't mind getting stupid. The others? TBD.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    I agree on the Dodgers, but can they keep spending money like that? Some saw the Yankees as the biggest threat and I think this system hurts them. The point is I still like the Cubs chances.

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    In reply to ChiRy:

    The Dodgers have so much money they could pay the luxury tax 30x over and not care. They own everything that produces revenue during a home game at Chavez Ravine and they have a top-two (if not the best) television deal in the league.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I'm wondering if an offer of 60 million posting fee and a guaranteed contract of 6 years and 60 million would get the job done?Darvish was signed to a 6 year. 56 million deal after the Rangers paid a posting fee of 51.7 million,for a total of 107.7 M.Is Tanaka worth it at that price ? It's going to be interesting to see the final numbers and whether the Cubs are really all in on their bid.

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    In reply to TheRiot2:

    Under the new system, I would guess a lower posting fee could keep them in the discussion, but it's likely it would take a higher annual salary to land him.

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    Twitter chat between Professor Parks and I that I thought might interest folks here:

    Michael Dixon ‏@dixonm13 44m
    @TheCCO @ProfessorParks Baez, Bryant, Edwards? Can't see Almora or Soler there yet. Would be quite the jump for C.J.

    Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 43m
    Almora might be the #Cubs top prospect.

    Mike Moody ‏@mqmoody 19m
    @ProfessorParks Have a hard time seeing Almora over Bryant with the offensive display the latter has put on.

    Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 14m
    @mqmoody Almora profiles as a legit CF at the highest level, with the chance to be a .300 hitter with power.

    Mike Moody ‏@mqmoody 11m
    @ProfessorParks I get that, and I love Almora, but a lot of projection. Bryant looks close and legit middle of the order terror at 3B.

    Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 10m
    @mqmoody I see him more as a RF, but yes, the bat is very legit and he's one of the safest prospects in the minors.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    So the Cubs have two of the safest prospects in the minors, and both of those prospects could be top 10 overall? Oh, and they both happen to be Theo/Jed/Jason picks? Ya, I'm not worried about who this FO picks for the next manager. These guys know what they are doing.

  • Gotta believe the big 3 on Tanaka will be Yankees, Cubs and Rangers, and probably in that order. The sleeper 3 would be Dodgers, Phillies and Boston. In the end, I predict he ends up with the Dodgers because they have ALL the money.

  • Jim Callis ‏@jimcallisMLB now
    My latest @MLBPipeline AFL report is on the #Cubs, w/focus on @KrisBryant_23: http://ht.ly/qfTAN

    Nice to read MLB.com content from someone other than Mayo...

  • Even though I'm in Maryland playing with my granddughter I
    still find time to look at this great site. Back home late Tues.
    They find the money for the right player

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Thanks E! Have fun out there.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    And I agree. They're not going to spend money just to spend it, but they'll spend it for the right player.

  • I will be incredibly upset if Castillo is moved. Finding a legitimate catcher who can be a mainstay for a while is not easy to find today. Many teams end up shuffling catchers like a deck of cards.

    Beef is only 26-years-old, hit .288 with a .388 OBP in the second half last year (meaning he adjusted to the bigs), all coupled in with terrific defense.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Right. I agree. I don't think anybody would trade Castillo if they didn't have to -- but if they could arrange a series of moves in which they actually improved (i.e. replace Welly with a young catcher and then get top young talent for Castillo in a separate deal), then you'd have to consider it. Ideally you'd like to keep Castillo. I'm just saying you explore all avenues to improve the team -- and if they can't do it by trading Castillo, then they should not do it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It is also is related to getting balance in the lineup. If not Wellington then we are looking at trading Bryant, Baez, Castro, Almora, or Soler etc.

  • Samardzija extension unlikely, according to Gordon Wittenmyer... If this is true, what trade scenarios do you see out there, John? Maybe CarGo? Jameson Taillon? Tyler Skaggs or Archie Bradley?

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    In reply to Caps:

    If the Cubs could get Archie Bradley, they would probably need to wear ski masks. That dude is going to be a freak. I have a feeling if Bradley was on the table, Shark would already be gone.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    I heard thr Dbacks inquired about Samardzija and the Cubs asked for Skaggs and Bradley in return and the conversations ended there... if he's available, then go for it, IMo.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Must get a ML ready pitcher in the deal and at least another
    top prospect

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Agreed, and I also don't see the harm in going year to year with Samardzija. His surface numbers aren't "ace"y so he won't reap monster arb payouts, plus he's not young and the rumored extensions I've read weren't really discounts for the team.

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    So, we trade him to the Yankees for Pineda? Not saying I would do this....throwing it out their for reaction.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I absolutely wouldn't. Pineda is a young arm, but he's coming off of a major surgery and he's only 24-years-old. That's not a good sign getting hurt that early. Pineda was also a product of pitching in an extremely pitcher-friendly ball-park (2.92 ERA at home and 4.40 ERA on the road).

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    If Dylan Bundy was available from the Orioles, would you trade for him?

  • The day the DH comes to the NL is the day I say to hell with it and find something else to occupy my time besides watching baseball.

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    I can't go that far. I go to games in AL parks and it's still a good game, but it's not a very strategic affair.

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    IMO, they should keep the things that makes the NL different from the AL and like you, I prefer baseball where all players get to hit, including the pitcher... The DH not only takes away from that but it takes the strategy factor away.

    I am not sure I can get used to baseball without the pitcher bunting, managers being careful with how they use their bench, pulling the trigger on a pitcher at the right time, double switches and other things that would change... Things like that will slowly disappear... The game will also become more offensive and hr oriented, like the AL.

  • In reply to Caps:

    If I wanted to see a DH type game, I can just go to a local park and watch fat guys as they drink beer and see how far they can hit a softball. It's the same thing to me.

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    Kris Bryant keeps on Kris Bryanting: 1-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout, and a two-run home run.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It's crazy, I wanted Gray so bad before the draft. Turns out he is the Ace I thought he was (which was my worst fear that Cubs would pass and he would dominate), and I'm STILL happy that the Cubs picked Bryant.

  • Theo and Jed have one crack to get this right before losing credibility after that last fiasco of a hiring. I have to ask why, oh, why would anyone thin AJ Hinch is the right guy for this job? He was ill-placed in AZ. He had ZERO experience and did poorly. He alienated his players and was terrible at in-game strategy. If the idea is he is good with young players, hire him to do just that--find an groom players--not mis-manage them.

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    In reply to FergieJ:

    I really don't think Epstein is anywhere close to losing credibility.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Agreed.

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    I am so happy to read Tanaka is their priority FA target. Exactly what I said should be the case in one of the comments fields beneath one of your recent blogs. Also glad to hear Ausmus may get a look. Again why limit yourself if you're the Cubs. There is no strategical nor any organizational advantage to limiting your options. So you found out for sure Lovullo doesn't speak Spanish?

  • I am not a fan of trading Castillo, but jumping on the bash Salty band-wagon is not my game either. The only play I FAULT him for is when he didn't go out and block that wide throw that Beslow threw away. That 2nd throw compounds the issue in the public eye. The throw to 3rd base in game 2 was not his fault. He tripped over Molina's leg and got off balance when he was striding into the throw. That wasn't anymore his fault than Middlebrooks legs.

    If the Cubs end up with Trea Turner in the draft, it is very possible by 2016 that Castro is traded, if Baez or Alcantara is at 2nd base. Turner will beat out Castro IMHO. My guess is Bryant moves to LF, Baez goes to 3rd, and Castro and Alcantara battle it out for 2nd base if Turner comes to the Cubs.

    Keep the DH over in the "beer league". However, if the DH was imposed on a superior form of baseball, then Vogelbach could definitely be the LH answer!

    Just pure dreaming!

    Turner SS
    Almora CF
    Bryant LF/1B
    Rizzo (LH) 1B or traded, in 4th slot only because he is LH
    Baez 3B
    Allcantara 2B or Castro
    Soler RF
    Castillo C

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