Before the Cubs can moving on their offseason, they face big decisions in their next GM, what to do with Carlos Zambrano, and how to handle Aramis Ramirez's $16MM club option. The latest on each situation:
- Cubs owner Tom Ricketts told ESPN's Dan Shulman last night that he found it hard to imagine Zambrano would ever pitch for the Cubs again. Buster Olney points out that the Cubs would have to reinstate or move Zambrano before the end of the season, should the pitcher win his grievance. On Tuesday, I presented 11 scenarios the Cubs could consider in their attempts to move Zambrano.
- Ramirez would have been "pretty much a slam dunk" to return to the Cubs next year under Jim Hendry, his agent Paul Kinzer tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. But now, Ramirez plans to step back, see who the Cubs hire, and also see what's out there on the free agent market. With his resurgent season, Ramirez may be the only viable free agent starting third baseman, and would be hard for the Cubs to replace.
- The Cubs have reached out to front office member Greg Maddux about remaining in the organization, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Maddux is close to Hendry. As for the team's GM post, Sullivan writes, "The names of Josh Byrnes, Andrew Friedman and even Theo Epstein have also come up in conversation. While the Red Sox are unlikely to let Epstein out of his contract with a year remaining, the Cubs seem interested enough to explore the possibility."
- Hendry, who Sullivan speculates could land in Arizona working under Kevin Towers, is off the hook for the Alfonso Soriano signing in the opinion of Wittenmyer. Wittenmyer says then-president John McDonough drove that disastrous contract.
- Ricketts said on Friday that he seeks a GM with a commitment to player development, a stronger analytical background, and a track record of success. I expect him to look into big-name current GMs like Epstein, Friedman, and Jon Daniels first. Those guys will probably stay put, at which point I can see Ben Cherington, Thad Levine, and Jerry Dipoto being candidates. Click here to see our top 20 GM candidates, among those who have not yet held that position permanently.
- ESPN's Jon Greenberg is "convinced the Cubs will be run by a forward-thinking general manager with a strong emphasis on advanced statistics, and reliance on cheap, farm system labor." I think the stats thing is a big factor – teams tend to go in the opposite direction from the previous guy.
- Talking to Wittenmyer, Cubs interim GM Randy Bush said he could see a lot of the team's front office members keep their jobs.