Cubs Notes: Ramirez, Zambrano, Epstein

Today the Cubs introduced two of the top assistants for president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. They named Jed Hoyer their executive VP and general manager and Jason McLeod their senior VP of scouting and player development. Here's the latest from this afternoon's press conference:

  • Though Epstein didn’t rule anything out, he said free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez will probably not return to Chicago. “Likely he'll be moving on," Epstein said, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter links).
  • Epstein says he had an enlightening conversation with Carlos Zambrano’s agent and is looking forward to speaking to the right-hander himself, according to Wittenmyer.
  • The Cubs expect to reach a decision on manager Mike Quade’s future within a week, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com (Twitter links).
  • MLB may give the Cubs and Red Sox an extension to determine appropriate compensation for Epstein, Boston’s former GM, according to Muskat.
  • Hoyer stressed the importance of building from within today, according to Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald (on Twitter). "Relying on external solutions to building a winning baseball team is a bad idea, and it's something we need to get past," the GM said.


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49 Comments on "Cubs Notes: Ramirez, Zambrano, Epstein"


chico65
3 years 10 months ago

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that Zambrano conversation.

wickedkevin
3 years 10 months ago

“Epstein says he had an enlightening conversation with Carlos Zambrano’s agent and is looking forward to speaking to the right-hander himself, according to Wittenmyer.”

Epstein then proceeded to beat a Gatorade cooler with a bat.

jayrig5
3 years 10 months ago

Neyer and Al Yellon debated this on SBNation, but I’m curious about it as well; what, exactly, will the job descriptions be?  Does Theo sign off on everything?  Does he designate specific areas where Hoyer doesn’t have to ask his permission to do things?

Is Epstein on the phone with agents?  (Based on the Zambrano thing, it sure seems like it.) Is Hoyer?  Are they both?

I love the additions to the front office, I’m just curious as to how it will all work.  Because if Hoyer really is getting as much autonomy as certain members of the Cubs and press (including Yellon in that debate) say he is, what will Theo do all day?  Which is why I’m sure it will be more of a constant flow of information.  Hoyer might take/make calls to teams and agents, but it seems likely that Theo will know everything as soon as Hoyer does, and they proceed from there.

Anyone think it will be different than that?

3 years 10 months ago

Keith Law touched on this in a previous chat:

“That depends in large part on the split of duties he and Hoyer agree on –
but the President also oversees sales, marketing, corporate
sponsorships, possibly stadium ops, and so on.”

Either way, Theo will have a lot on his plate.

jayrig5
3 years 10 months ago

I saw that in the Law chat, and I agree that normally the president will do that.  But in this case, the Cubs still have another president in Crane Kenney, who will be in charge of all the business operations.  

Chris_RG
3 years 10 months ago

Theo is only going to handle baseball-related things. That was discussed early on.

Gocubs2010
3 years 10 months ago

Crane Kenney oversee’s most of that as he is President of the business end.

NomarGarciaparra
3 years 10 months ago

I think how this will work out is that basically Theo is GM and Hoyer is assistant GM (like they were in Boston). However, Hoyer wouldn’t have wanted to be demoted from GM to assistant GM, and Theo also wants to promotion from his GM position. So the titles are more or less just honorary titles, but Theo will assume the duties of GM, while Hoyer will assume the duties of assistant GM.

Chris_RG
3 years 10 months ago

I see this as similar to what’s going on in Miami, where Larry Beinfest is the President of Baseball Operations and Michael Hill is the GM. If I remember reading correctly, Beinfest pretty much runs the show and Hill assists him. 

Eric Foster
3 years 10 months ago

Al Yellon is a poor writer, borderline retarded, and still yet to feel the touch of a woman. 
He also ranted on about how Theo couldn’t possibly have been at Starbucks, without any retraction. Al states the obvious, and provides no insight, thought provoking commentary or the slightest entertainment value. 
His opinion is about as valuable as a turd in a basket.

jayrig5
3 years 10 months ago

Haha, the Starbucks thing…I love how he wrote that he was “debunking” it, and then someone told him that what he’d done wasn’t actually “debunking” anything, and then he got all smarmy about it.

Never saw him apologize for that, but I’m not a religious reader of his.

I didn’t mean to use his opinion as gospel or anything, it’s just that what he’d said about it lined up with one of the two schools of thought.

I tend to agree with the idea that Hoyer will be more of an assistant; I don’t think any moves will be made of any consequence whatsoever without Epstein giving his okay, and I’m sure Theo will be actively involved as well, he won’t just be a rubber stamp.

However, I’m sure Hoyer will have much more input and respect from Theo than most GM’s give their assistants in more traditional setups.

demonopie
3 years 10 months ago

Your personal attacks make your opinions suspect.

optionn
3 years 10 months ago

He’ll keep Big Z…. fire Quade.   Nothing Epstein does is very impressive.  Standard moves.

wickedkevin
3 years 10 months ago

He’s the best at acquiring draft picks.  Selecting players in the draft is a different story.  But acquiring them, he’s the best.

shysox
3 years 10 months ago

The Cubs will probably be in contention a lot sooner then the Sox as long as Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, and Jake Peavy are around. 

firealyellon
3 years 10 months ago

Think

shysox
3 years 9 months ago

Adam Dunn is just awful beyond words, I don’t expect a comeback from him I just hope he hits a little bit above .220, I think that’s his ceiling.

Peavy gets hurt all the time and complains whenever he doesn’t win a game and always says crap like “I’ll be better next year” and “”It’s just frustrating, “I just didn’t get anybody out with two outs. It’s frustrating because I had pretty good stuff tonight, and when you have good stuff, you don’t expect that. Idiot. 

I think Rios can make a comeback though.

Jakmagic
3 years 10 months ago

I think Peavy could be in for a bouce back season. As long as he can throw 180-200 innings I would take him on my team.

CutTheString
3 years 9 months ago

If Peavy can throw 180-200 innings ANYONE would take him on ANY team

Cosmo3
3 years 10 months ago

I still am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the competency that now leads the Cubs front office for the first time in my life. 

commenter3346
3 years 10 months ago

“Relying on external solutions to building a winning baseball team is a bad idea, and it’s something we need to get past.”He better tell that Theo. That’s the epitome of what Theo was doing towards the end of his time Boston. Or through out. He brought up Pedroia, Ellsbury, Buchholz, Bard & all & then stopped that so that he could sign Lackey, Crawford, Drew, Renteria, Lugo, etc. Left the farm system depleted with no one to help the team at all.

JimBaily
3 years 10 months ago

He also built up the farm enough to get guys like Adrian Gonzalez.

3 years 9 months ago

Name one perfect baseball executive.

3 years 10 months ago

To be fair, it seems Bruce Miles took what Hoyer said out of context a bit.
 
Here’s a more lengthy explanation from the Tribune:
 
Hoyer wouldn’t say whether the Cubs would increase the budget. Would they shy
away from any big-ticket free agents?“No, I wouldn’t say that,” he said.
“But I do think we have to get together and figure out which free agents are the
best bet going forward. Certainly some guys age very well, other guys don’t. A
lot of it is profiling which guys have peak years left in the tank.”
 
I think the point is to spend smart, not spend at all.  

jayrig5
3 years 10 months ago

Agreed.  With a certain level of revenue like the Cubs have, it’s almost foolish not to spend.  If you do free agency right it’s a fantastic way to add to your team, because you’re not subtracting any of your farm talent to make those acquisitions.  Money is one of the few advantages and assets the Cubs have right now over their divisional competition, ignoring it would be wasteful as well.

Victor Kipp
3 years 10 months ago

I guess Theo is now wary of signing big free agents since he made 3 of the worst free agent signings in the past decade and a horrible posting for a foreign player.  But answer me this….How is Theo going to win anything any time soon with that core of players he has now and their unmovable contracts if he doesn’t sign a few big free agents?  Soriano and Z’s contracts last for a few years and no team will touch those 2 even if the Cubs pay their contracts.  This is a 10 year plan if the Cubs plan to build from within.  That includes a few years of having the worst record in baseball.

3 years 10 months ago

I don’t think Theo and Co. are going to literally build from within and ignore all high-priced FAs. However, I do think they’ll be cautious and try to spend intelligently instead of simply going for big names. He’s not stupid; he knows the Cubs core consists basically of two guys: Castro and Garza. And while Garza was good last year, he’s not quite an ace. 

Chris_RG
3 years 10 months ago

I think Theo was under pressure from ownership to sign big-name FAs. Ricketts will basically let Theo do whatever he wants. 

3 years 9 months ago

IMO there is going to be a mixture of those 2 ugly contracts, new players from free agency, and their youth. the cubs have a lot of young guys either already playing on the team (castro, barney, colvin) and a few that are 1-2 years from making the team like brett jackson who i think will be the new center fielder after byrds contract is up after 2012 and maybe josh vitters will finally make it in the next 2 years pending on if the cubs keep ramirez or not

at least fukudome and silva’s contracts are gone

3 years 10 months ago

Jed, call every AL team in need of a DH or space cadet and tell them they can have Sori for 3 yrs/27 mil. Do it. 

3 years 10 months ago

Zambrano’s contract expires after this season.  And small, savy moves can have a team in contention and certainly at least out of the basement.  It’s not the like Cubs are completely  void of talent and still have the financial capacity to be a big player in free agency any given season.   Building a foundation of talent in the farm system does not mean tanking for “10 years”

flickadave
3 years 10 months ago

If you aren’t actually contending, it is actually better to be the worst team out there. I call it “the Devil Ray” system. The Rays were so bad for so long that their farm finally made them a perennial contender. I wonder if that isn’t Theo’s plan.

WrigleyTerror37
3 years 10 months ago

Big Z will have a M on his Jersey by spring training. he will either go to the Marlins or the Mariners.
Marlins for either Nolasco or a contract dump
Mariners for Figgs.
But thats just my 2 cents… 

3 years 10 months ago

I can sort of agree to the marlins, because of Ozzie obviously, but likely not for Nolasco.  Can’t see the marlins giving him up for a hothead.  And though figgins makes sense in theory due to swapping bad contracts/player morales, the M’s might not pull the trigger because the last time they took a psycho from the cubs it didn’t work out so well (Milton Bradley).  And with figgins playing third for the cubs and barney and castro rounding out the other two non-1b slots, there just wouldnt be enough power in that lineup.

WrigleyTerror37
3 years 9 months ago

Agree with you 100% and the lacking power i didnt think of, thanks for the incite.

CutTheString
3 years 9 months ago

Power or no, if we can get Figgins for Zambrano and the M’s eat the additional years and $ on Chone’s contract, that’s a good deal for the Cubs.

Rameriez is gone and Figgins can hold down third for a year until Vitters is ready and then Chone can become a super sub.

2012 isn’t going to be the year to break the curse so if we can get a serviceable 3B for a year and avoid overpaying for Aramis is years and $, I’m good with that.

lefty177
3 years 10 months ago

Just give us Starlin Castro & you can keep Epstein, that ok? (kidding of course)

Eric Foster
3 years 10 months ago

We’ll end up giving up a toolsy prospect that probably won’t pan out. Maybe Junior Lake, alongside Jay Jackson.

Between this years draft, and what might pan out to be a lights-out home-grown bullpen…The Cubs could conceivably contend by 2013-2014.

firealyellon
3 years 10 months ago

Barney
Byrd
DeJesus
Castro
Soriano
Soto
Baker
DeWitt

Zambrano
Garza
Dumpster
Wells
Cashner

71 wins?

3 years 10 months ago

Hmmmmm, I expect Byrd to be traded. And I expect Colvin and Brett Jackson to be in the outfield for the Cubs next year. I also see Zambrano getting traded if the Cubs are willing to eat enough of the money.

I’d like to trade away Soriano too. Of course who wouldn’t. But he’ll probably stay unless Epstein just says to Ricketts that Soriano is just too much of a defensive and running liability.

CutTheString
3 years 9 months ago

I hope they hang onto Byrd. He’s not great, but he hustles and at times has been the only guy we run out there who seems to give a rats ass about trying to win.

jayrig5
3 years 10 months ago

I know DeJesus to the Cubs was the official MLBTR prediction, but I can’t see giving him playing time over Colvin.  What’s the point?  Whatever extra production he gives you wouldn’t be worth the difference in money.  And if you give Colvin an entire healthy season and he doesn’t improve, then okay.  You know what you have.

I’d also take Murton back if he wants to come back to MLB.  That’d be an interesting pickup.  

WrigleyTerror37
3 years 9 months ago

Hows a outfield of these 5? Murton, Campana, BJax, Colvin, Reed Johnson. I would be happy if that is our outfield in 2012.

Jakmagic
3 years 10 months ago

As a Brewers, fan I want the Crew to pursue A. Ramirez like no other team! I believe he is the best acquisition the Brewers could get. Some writers link Reyes to the Brewers but in all reality that will prolly never happen. He said he only would sign with the Mets if they would be competitive in upcoming years. The Brewers only have the current pitching staff signed for one more year. (Greinke & Marcum) Then what is the future hold after that? Reyes wont sign with Milwaukee because of that reason.

wickedkevin
3 years 10 months ago

Because Selig would obviously fix the situation…

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

Por que?

wickedkevin
3 years 10 months ago

RIGHT ON TIME MAN. I MISSED ALL THE SCREAMING.

3 years 9 months ago

That was Clay’s hit single, “Fly on the Wall.”  Sad that I knew this.

3 years 9 months ago

All Selig could do is force the hand of one of the teams, since I’m sure everything has been exhausted to this point.  And since Bud would crap himself if he so much as received an angry sigh from either Ricketts or Henry as team owners, he’s once again a coward.

He should sign an arbitration panel with complete neutrality to MLB, and give them a day or two to finish this.  No blood on his hands, and the situation’s solved.