Cubs Rumors: Zambrano, Aramis, GM Search

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.

16 Responses to Cubs Rumors: Zambrano, Aramis, GM Search Leave a Reply

  1. BlueCatuli 4 years ago

    What flaws are you talking about? I’m not saying he doesn’t have flaws, I’m just curious. Just remember he is 21 years old and still has a high ceiling all while leading the NL in hits and is right among the leaders in most offensive categories for short stops . Most guys his age are working their flaws out in the minor leagues. Castro is a guy you build around, not trade to get a haul of A possibilities.

    • IdontknowwhyIpostonforums 4 years ago

      I agree he shouldn’t be traded, but he does have some serious fundamental issues.  First off he does not pay attention to the game when he is on the field.  Bobby V highlighted this point last night, but this has been a consistent problem with Castro since his call up.  He is either bored or has his mind on his last at-bat or fielding play.

      Secondly, his judgment in the field and at the plate is questionable.  He is a notoriously impatient hitter, often swinging at the first pitch like it is going out of style.  This leads to him not drawing many walks and also to him not getting a good pitch to actuall drive, which he can do.  In the field his throws are off the mark more often than not.  If you watch the games, count how many time Pena has to stretch to the left or right to catch the ball.  Even on routine plays this happens, which tells me that his footwork is off or that he simply is rushing his throws.

      Finally, he presses when he is slumping.  This ties into the first issue, where if he makes a bad play in the field he tries to make up for it at the plate, leading to even worse pitch selection.

      As you said, he is young and very talented and I don’t think he should be traded.  The best thing about his problems are that they can be fixed, he just needs a manager/coach to work with him through it and he needs to develop the discipline to overcome these lapses.  Overall, there is a lot off potential, but also a lot of work.

      • BlueCatuli 4 years ago

        I totally agree. The fact that he is performing so well, and still has the ability to improve glaring issues is very telling. I would not mind in the slightest if the cubs trade Soto. I can’t imagine a contender with a need at catcher complaining about Soto’s production from behind the plate.

      • Hawkguy 4 years ago

        That’s where a competent manager comes into play. Remember he’s only 21 not 31. No way would I trade him. And for all this talk of a complete overhaul, as @notsureifsrs:disqus said, ticket prices will stay high. You can’t draw fans if you’re essentially running the I-Cubs out there for three years straight. Cubs don’t have impact players in the system until this draft class signed, so those players will take time to develop. No new GM is going gamble his career away for that to happen. 

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      the only thing he’s done well with the bat is hit for average — around .300 — driven mostly by a BABIP over .350

      what happens when he doesn’t get those extra 40-50 points? or worse, when he’s unlucky for a few months and it slips to .280 or lower? he becomes pretty much useless, that’s what. he couldn’t take a walk to save his life

      i don’t like his defense either. and i’m not trying to be too harsh here; i understand he’s a very talented kid and has a lot of potential. what i’m saying is that i’d sell high on that potential instead of waiting to see if he’ll reach it or end up like orlando cabrera without the glove

      • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

        my point is that you are touting his presence in the bigs the past two years as some kind of major accomplishment since most guys are in the minors. i don’t see it as the kind of accomplishment that necessarily bodes well for his future. his LD%s are normal. if you noramlize his BABIPs, he’s a well below average hitter

        the idea that he’s someone to build around kind of assumes he’s going to get better. i think there’s a very real chance he will get worse

  2. Ditto on Daniels. Why would he leave the Rangers? It’s a competitive team right now, he built the team, and ownership lets him spend big at the major league level and spend big on amateur talent.

    At least Friedman has financial constraints to deal with, but I’d bet heavily on him staying, too.

  3. Funny tweet from Will Carroll just now: “I’m pretty sure Andrew Friedman has more people in his stats dept than the Cubs do in their whole front office.”

  4. Hawkguy 4 years ago

    The new GM search is going to be not just about what the Cubs want but what the new GM wants. Unless the Cubs overpay, why would a GM like Friedman come here if he doesn’t have a similar model in place that he has with Tampa. Currently he has a baseball ops guy to help him. Crane Kinney is NOT THAT GUY.

    • IdontknowwhyIpostonforums 4 years ago

      The main reason he would come would be to implement his model.  The Cubs are money makers and the Ricketts are willing to spend.  Imagine Rays development philosophy with money to back it up.  There is a potential that the Cubs in 2-3 years are competing again with the farm system to sustain it.

      • Hawkguy 4 years ago

        There’s that potential yes that the farm system could bring the goods, if the Cubs start right now focusing on player development. But Crane Kinney’s philosophy is to meddle in everything. The Rays philosophy is to let Friedman be and give him a baseball ops guy. Ricketts doesn’t want that kind of a baseball ops guy. Don’t know. Want Friedman, just wonder if he’d be happier in Tampa with that boatload of prospects he got from this years draft.

        • IdontknowwhyIpostonforums 4 years ago

          That is true about Kinney.  If we are to believe Ricketts, however, Kinney will have very little say in baseball operations and stick to the business side.  We shall see though.

          • Hawkguy 4 years ago

            Yeah, I just don’t know where this team is heading. I think Friedman is staying with the Rays, and why wouldn’t he, or headed to Houston. I actually see us going for  Cashman or Byrnes.

  5. MonsterPike 4 years ago

    There is no salary cap in baseball…  Fukudome, Silva & Pena’s contracts are up with 5 mil still being owed Pena.  A-Ram has a 2 mil buyout, so they could have a lot of money freed up.  Dempster could be off the books after 2012.  Big Z after 2013.  So it’s not as bad as how 2011 was & it’s only down hill from here…  They did eat Silva’s contract this yr. & Ricketts is prepared to eat Big Zs apparently.  He ate Hendry’s as well & hopefully Quade’s….

  6. stewie75 4 years ago

    How about pick Aramis’ option no matter what? It’s not like we can’t hang onto him and trade him later in the offseason anyways. Every team that was trying for him at the deadline would still want him, and this time they’d get an entire year of him rather than having just a half season, as one of his conditions of allowing a trade was that his option be eliminated. Could end up getting a nice haul from the Angels Tigers or A’s? 

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