Much was made about the compensation that would be going to the Red Sox after the Cubs were able to sign him away just after the season ended. There was some heavy debate about what should be going to the Red Sox, and for the time being it was left up to the
clubs to decide the outcome. Quickly it became apparent that this scenario was not going to work, and that Bud Selig himself would be the one deciding who or what would be going to Boston. Ever since that announcement there has been little to no news about what would be taking place, that is until today, or should I say, last night. Compensation discussion came to the forefront as Epstein and Boston GM Ben Cherington participated in the Hot Stove Cool Music panel discussion at Fenway Park’s State Steet Pavilion last night. While nothing was settled, it’s clear based on the comments of both Epstein, and Cherington that the deal is almost complete, and the Sox still expect something “significant in return.
Another sign that spring training is right around the corner, aside from the 50 degree temperatures in Chicago today, is that the Cubs have announced the twenty one non roster players that will be invited to spring training. Headlining that list is 23 year old outfield prospect Brett Jackson. While none of these players will necessarily break camp with the Cubs (nine have previous MLB experience) they will all have the same opportunity to do so during spring training. It will be interesting to see how the Cubs new staff on, and off the field evaluates the organization’s time in Arizona.
Lost in the hoopla surrounding the Cubs since the end of the season was the little matter of deciding Mike Quade’s future. Even if we, and most Cub fans knew that Mike Quade was not Major League manager material, the Cubs brass
needed to make that official. Shortly after the Cubs front office was completely re energized, the no brainer decision to let Mike Quade pursue other opportunities, most likely in the minors or outside of baseball was made. We will give Epstein some credit here with the way he handled the process of letting Quade go, very professional. He made multiple trips to meet with Quade, and had a number of conversations with him and others in the organization to see if he would be a good fit, not based on what he had done it the past, but where he thought, and wanted this team to go in the future. Clearly, Quade’s idea’s did mesh with the idea’s of the new regime that was now in place, and he was let go from his two year deal that had one year remaining on it. Epstein and company didn’t have to go far to find the 52nd manager of the Chicago Cubs, just a short trip up I-94 to Milwaukee to find Dale Sveum. Sveum, serving as the third base coach in 2004 with the Red Sox, won a World Series title with Epstein. Since 2006, Sveum was on the Brewers coaching staff with titles ranging from third base coach, to bench coach, and to most recently hitting coach. Sveum did get a crack at the managerial position albeit a short one in 2008 when he took over for Ned Yost and led the Brewers to a 7-5 record down the stretch and a NL Wild Card berth. Along with Sveum, the following coaches will be joining the Cubs this season...
Before this blog moves forward, we would be remiss not to mention what has transpired since the disenchanted 2011 season came to a close. The Chicago Cubs as a team and organization took a giant step forward in not only changing the direction of the club, but the culture as well.
On October 25, 2011 the Chicago Cubs named a new President of Baseball Operations, none other than Boston GM Theo Epstein. Talk about making a splash, and for once, it actually makes sense because it’s off the field where it was needed most. Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t much to like on the field the last couple of years, but in order to fix that, the real issue needed to be addressed, and it was. In order for Epstein to make the move to the North Side of Chicago he had to take a role that was above his current GM role in Boston. That in it of itself is a giant win for Ricketts, many die hard Cubs followers probably didn’t think Ricketts had it in him, but he proved them, including us, wrong in a huge way.