Chicago Cubs – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-10-23T06:04:14Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On David Ross, Cubs]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177851 2019-10-23T05:21:58Z 2019-10-23T05:21:58Z Joe Espada and David Ross are reportedly the favorites in the Cubs’ search for their next manager, though it appears the latter has pulled ahead in the race. Ross could be announced as the Cubs’ new skipper as early as Thursday, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com suggested to “Waddle and Silvy” (Twitter link via Adam Abdalla of ESPN Chicago).

Ross is a revered figure for the Cubs, with whom the former major league catcher played the final two seasons of his career from 2015-16. In the last of those years, Ross helped the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908 with a strong regular-season performance and a postseason effort highlighted by a home run against the Indians in Game 7 of the World Series.

Ross has served as a special assistant to baseball operations for the Cubs and an ESPN analyst since his playing days wrapped up, but he comes with no coaching experience. He’s something of a polar opposite in that regard to previous Cubs skipper Joe Maddon, a longtime coach whom the club hired after a long run as the Rays’ manager. Despite his lack of seasoning as a coach, though, Ross told Rob Bradford of WEEI that he believes he’s capable of melding the best qualities of the top managers he encountered during his career. Ross played under World Series-winning managers in Maddon, Terry Francona, John Farrell and Bobby Cox.

Maddon’s “old school to the core; he just uses the analytics in his favor for certain wacky situations where he may take the pitcher and put him in left field,” according to Ross. While Ross noted that Maddon’s methods with the Cubs came off as unconventional, “90 percent of the time, it worked out.”

Ross, if he becomes a manager, will attempt to mix the methods of Maddon and Cox – specifically the “freedom” they’ve given players – with Francona’s communication skills and Farrell’s ability to delegate. And as someone who played in the majors for a decade and a half, Ross thinks he learned what not to do from less successful managers. In his discussion with Bradford, Ross opined he’s well aware “what a bad manager looks like.”

Maddon was anything but “bad” during his time with the Cubs, of course, but the club nonetheless moved on after a disappointing 2019 season. It now appears they’ll hand the reins to the popular Ross in an effort to return to prominence next year.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Trade Candidate: Jose Quintana]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177820 2019-10-23T00:50:44Z 2019-10-23T00:50:44Z The Cubs, in the wake of a 2019 showing that can’t be classified as much other than a brutal disappointment, are now facing several fascinating offseason questions. Among them: Which person should they choose to succeed ousted championship manager Joe Maddon? Should they shop Kris Bryant or any other stars? Should they make a serious effort to re-sign soon-to-be free agent Nicholas Castellanos? There may not be an obvious answer to any of those questions, but there is in regards to the future of left-hander Jose Quintana. Should the Cubs exercise his $11.5MM option (in lieu of a $1MM buyout) for next season? Absolutely.

To be clear, 2019 was not a stellar season for Quintana, whom the Cubs acquired from the White Sox in July 2017 in what could go down as a costly trade for the North Siders. The Cubs gave up then-prospects Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease, two players who now look as if they’ll be cornerstones for the White Sox. It was understandable from the Cubs’ perspective at the time, as Quintana was then one of the game’s most underrated front-line workhorses – not to mention someone on a sweetheart contract.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, Quintana simply hasn’t produced like the under-the-radar standout from the White Sox since they got him. At that point, Quintana was coming off four straight seasons of 200-plus innings – an 814 2/3-frame span in which he notched a 3.35 ERA/3.34 FIP with 7.73 K/9 and 2.23 BB/9. The Cubs’ Quintana hasn’t amassed more than 188 2/3 innings in a season, and his run prevention has fallen off since his South Side salad days. Quintana owns a less impressive 4.23 ERA/3.95 FIP in 429 2/3 frames as a Cub.

To Quintana’s credit, he has struck out 8.55 hitters per nine against 2.83 walks since changing Chicago addresses. His 91-92 mph average fastball velocity and roughly 8 percent swinging-strike rate have also remained intact in recent years. So, unlike some other prominent pitchers whose bottom-line results have recently declined (Chris Archer?), Quintana’s far from broken. It’s pretty clear Quintana’s still an asset, though whether the Cubs see him as integral enough to keep in 2020 – his last year of team control – is up in the air.

Again, it should be a slam dunk to say yes to Quintana’s option. But will the Cubs shop the soon-to-be 31-year-old around after picking it up? On one hand, the answer should be no. The Cubs don’t have clear non-Quintana solutions in their rotation aside from Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish and Jon Lester, especially with Cole Hamels set for free agency, and they’re not teeming with young starters who are about to take the league by storm. With that in mind, keeping Quintana would be a perfectly defensible choice from the team’s perspective. On the other hand, there’s a case the Cubs are really in position to shake things up this winter, and parting with Quintana could prove to be part of their restructuring. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein was upset with Chicago’s performance off a playoff berth a year ago, so he may well be apoplectic behind the scenes now after a late collapse and no October ball this season.

One problem for Chicago, which is leery of the luxury tax, is that it hardly has an endless supply of spending room. The Cubs opened 2019 with a payroll a little over $203MM, per Cot’s. MLBTR’s Chicago aficionado, Tim Dierkes, forecasts something in the $205MM range (slightly below the tax) for next season. Including arbitration projections and excluding likely non-tender Addison Russell, the Cubs come in around $180MM. Finding a way to shave Quintana’s money via trade would free up quite a bit more spending space for the club while perhaps opening the door for a major upgrade (would it pursue Gerrit Cole?). And it shouldn’t be that challenging for the Cubs to find a taker for Quintana, who’s better than the extreme majority of pending free-agent starters.

Pound for pound, aside from Cole, opt-out candidate Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Madison Bumgarner, are there any free agents-to-be who are clearly preferable to Quintana? Hamels? Dallas Keuchel? Jake Odorizzi? Arguably, but they’ll all come at higher commitments than what Quintana’s owed next year. Quintana’s affordability could help persuade the Cubs to retain him, but if they shop him in an effort to make over their roster, there should be a solid amount of interest from around the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Position Players Recently Electing Free Agency]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177772 2019-10-22T14:43:24Z 2019-10-22T12:06:20Z Since the conclusion of the regular season, a number of players have elected free agency. That right accrues to certain players who are outrighted off of a 40-man roster during or after the season — namely, those that have at least three years of MLB service and/or have previously been outrighted. Such players that accepted outright assignments during the season have the right to elect free agency instead at season’s end, provided they aren’t added back to the 40-man in the meantime.

Here are the position players that have recently taken to the open market, along with their now-former teams (via the International League and PCL transactions pages):

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Cubs’ Managerial Search]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177660 2019-10-20T22:55:11Z 2019-10-20T22:55:11Z Just hours after celebrating the Astros’ thrilling ALCS victory over the Yankees, Houston bench coach Joe Espada is headed to Chicago for a second interview with the Cubs, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports (Twitter link).  For now, Espada is the only one of the Cubs’ six managerial candidates to be brought back for a second interview, greatly elevating his chances of becoming the next dugout boss at Wrigley Field.  Indeed, as MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes, Espada and former Cubs catcher David Ross “are widely considered the top two candidates for the post.”

It should be noted that a formal second interview might not necessarily be required for three of the other known Cubs candidates, since they all currently work for the organization — bench coach Mark Loretta, first base coach Will Venable, and Ross, a special assistant to the baseball operations department.  As Bastian puts it, “the Cubs know what they have in-house in Ross.  A second interview with Espada will help the franchise get a better sense of what he brings to the table, too.”

Espada has been a popular managerial candidate this winter, as the Giants and Pirates have also shown interest in speaking with the 44-year-old about their own open manager positions.  There hasn’t yet been any indication that Espada has interviewed with either of those clubs, however, though obviously Espada hasn’t had a lot of free time for interviews in recent weeks given the Astros’ continued postseason run.

Moving into the “second interview” phase would seem to hint that the Cubs are approaching an end to their search, though a formal announcement about a hiring may not come until after the World Series, as the league prefers teams to wait until postseason off-days to announce major news in order to keep the focus of the baseball world entirely on the Fall Classic.  This isn’t to say that the Cubs couldn’t announce Espada’s hiring on a World Series off-day, of course, or that he could be hired before his Astros’ tenure is officially over.  In fact, Alex Cora (Espada’s predecessor as Houston’s bench coach) was hired by the Red Sox as their next manager in the days leading up to the Astros beginning play in the 2017 World Series.

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TC Zencka <![CDATA[Cubs Impressed By Joe Espada]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177597 2019-10-19T17:38:28Z 2019-10-19T17:35:48Z
  • Astros bench coach Joe Espada surely has enough on his plate ahead of tonight’s game 6, but he’s a man in high demand. The Pirates have joined the list of teams interested in interviewing Espada for their managerial vacancy, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). Espada has also received interest from the Giants and Cubs. The Cubs, for one, came away from their interview on Monday “exceptionally impressed” with Espada, per David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago (via Twitter).
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[2020 Managerial Search Tracker]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177217 2019-10-23T05:55:16Z 2019-10-17T20:43:27Z Eight teams were looking for new skippers in October, and loads of potential candidates have been either rumored or directly connected to these job openings. We’ll do our best to keep things straight in this post….

    Angels

    Hired

    • Joe MaddonFormer Cubs/Rays manager, former Angels bench coach/interim manager

    Interviewed

    • John Farrell: Former Red Sox/Blue Jays manager
    • Buck Showalter: Former Orioles, Yankees, Rangers and Diamondbacks manager
    • Johnny Washington: Padres hitting coach

    Reportedly Received Consideration

    • Joe Espada: Astros bench coach
    • Joe Girardi: Former Yankees/Marlins manager
    • Eric Chavez: Angels special assistant

    Cubs

    Interviewing

    • Joe Espada: Astros bench coach
    • Joe Girardi: Former Yankees/Marlins manager
    • Gabe Kapler: Former Phillies manager, former Dodgers director of player development
    • Mark Loretta: Current Cubs bench coach
    • David Ross: Former Cubs/Red Sox catcher, current ESPN analyst
    • Will Venable: Current Cubs first base coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Those six are said to be the final remaining candidates.

    Giants

    Interviewing

    • Pedro Grifol: Royals quality control and catching coach
    • Gabe Kapler: Former Phillies manager, former Dodgers director of player development
    • Mark Kotsay: Athletics quality control coach, former Padres hitting coach & baseball operations special assistant
    • Hensley Meulens: Giants bench coach
    • Ron Wotus: Giants third base coach
    • Matt Quatraro: Rays bench coach, former Indians assistant hitting coach
    • Will Venable: Cubs first base coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Raul Ibanez: Dodgers special assistant
    • Mike Matheny: Former Cardinals manager
    • Joe Espada: Astros bench coach

    Mets

    Interviewing

    • Mike Bell: Diamondbacks director of player development
    • Carlos Beltran: Special assistant to Yankees GM, former MLB outfielder
    • Tim Bogar: Nationals first base coach
    • Joe Girardi: Former Yankees/Marlins manager
    • Eduardo Perez: ESPN analyst, former Astros bench coach, former Puerto Rican Winter League Manager of the Year
    • Skip Schumaker: Padres first base coach, former Padres baseball ops/player development assistant, former MLB utilityman
    • Derek Shelton: Twins bench coach, former Rays hitting coach
    • Luis Rojas: Mets quality control coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Buck Showalter: former Orioles/Yankees manager
    • Mike Matheny: Former Cardinals manager

    Padres

    Interviewing

    • Ron Washington: Braves third base coach, former Rangers manager
    • Brad Ausmus: former Angels/Tigers manager
    • Rod Barajas: Padres interim manager, former bench coach
    • Jayce Tingler: Rangers player development field coordinator
    • Bob Henley: Nationals third base coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Joe Maddon 
    • Mike Matheny: Former Cardinals manager

    Pirates

    Interviewing

    • Ryan Christenson: Athletics bench coach, former minor-league manager
    • Derek Shelton: Twins bench coach, former minor-league manager
    • Stubby Clapp: Cardinals first base coach, former minor-league manager

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Jeff Banister: Pirates special assistant; former Rangers manager, Pirates bench coach
    • Mike Bell: Diamondbacks director of player development
    • Derek Shelton: Twins bench coach, former Rays hitting coach
    • Mark Kotsay: Athletics quality control coach, former Padres hitting coach & baseball operations special assistant
    • Joe Espada: Astros bench coach

    Phillies

    Interviewing

    • Buck Showalter: Former Orioles, Yankees, Rangers and Diamondbacks manager
    • Joe Girardi: Former Yankees/Marlins manager
    • Dusty Baker: Special advisor to Giants; former Nationals/Reds/Cubs manager

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • No other reported names under consideration

    Royals

    Interviewing

    • Vance Wilson: Royals bullpen coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Pedro Grifol: Royals quality control and catching coach
    • Mike Matheny: Royals special advisor
    • Dale Sveum: Royals bench coach
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    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Espada Interview "Sensational", Per Report]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177427 2019-10-17T19:58:46Z 2019-10-17T19:55:26Z A member of the club’s coaching ranks since 2004, Hill was previously first base coach with Colorado’s big league squad from 2007 to 2012. The 54-year-old Santa Cruz native played for the Jays, Indians, Cubs, Giants, Yankees, and Angels over the course of a twelve-year MLB career. After Hill’s dismissal, top Colorado third base prospect Colton Welker figures to suit up for a fresh face at Triple-A Colorado Springs next season.

    • A Houston source tells David Kaplan of NBC Chicago that Astros bench coach Joe Espada gave a “sensational” interview for the open Cubs manager job (link). Espada gave executive Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer “a lot to think about”, per Kaplan’s source, but the question still remains if Espada can surpass franchise favorite David Ross in consideration for the managerial opening. For the time being, Espada’s ’Stros will square off with the Yankees in New York this evening for the fourth game of the ALCS.
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    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Cubs Announce Player Development Changes]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177424 2019-10-17T16:49:39Z 2019-10-17T17:00:00Z According to a release from the club’s media department, the Cubs have constructed a new player development leadership structure within their baseball operations department.

    Matt Dorey, formerly Chicago’s director of amateur scouting, will serve as senior director of player development. 2020 will mark Dorey’s ninth year in the Cubs organization and 13th in professional baseball. Dorey previously coached at Washington State before entering the pro ball, PD side of the game.

    Bobby Basham will be working with Dorey as director of player development. Formerly a pitcher in the Reds and Padres minor league ranks, Basham has worked in a variety of roles since gaining employ with the Cubs in 2012, including time spent as a major league scouting coordinator, assistant director of advance scouting and major league strategy, and assistant director of minor league operations. It stands to reason that Dorey and Basham will be combining to handle some of the tasks Jason McLeod vacated when the latter moved into a senior vice president of player personnel role this offseason following several years in Chicago’s player development area.

    Other notable changes this morning include the naming of former big league Craig Breslow as the club’s new director of pitching–a title similar to the one the Orioles gave Chris Holt recently, as notes Joe Trezza of MLB.com (link). While Breslow’s Yale background would likely position him as the most intelligent person in many a room, the club’s new director of hitting, Justin Stone, cuts an impressive intellectual figure in his own right. Stone is the founder Elite Baseball Training in Chicago, a “technology-infused baseball and softball instructional company”. He has been working with the organization since 2018 as a biokinematic hitting consultant–a modern baseball job title if ever there was one.

    Additionally, Jeremy Farrell has been promoted from minor league field coordinator to a new role as Chicago’s assistant director of player development, where his years of experience as an infielder in the Pirates and White Sox systems should come in handy. Jaron Madison, who, like McLeod, worked with Cubs GM Jed Hoyer during the latter’s time as San Diego’s GM at the turn of the decade, has been named as special assistant to the president/GM.

    Although the men and women working in player development are not always appreciated by fans for their efforts in fostering, honing, and instructing organizational talent, hires like these are often critical in a team’s quest for continued, year-over-year success. These moves are likely pointed toward re-positioning Chicago’s farm as a top-shelf feeder system after recent rankings tagged the Cubs with bottom-third organizational evaluations; Fangraphs pegged the club with a 20th-ranked system, while only two Chicago youngsters, Nico Hoerner and Miguel Amaya, landed inside MLB.com’s “Top 100” list.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Will Venable On Giants' Radar]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177270 2019-10-15T04:03:43Z 2019-10-15T04:03:43Z
  • Add Cubs first base coach Will Venable to the list of managerial possibilities for the Giants, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. The Giants are interested in Venable, though it’s not clear whether they’ll interview him. A former major league outfielder, the 36-year-old Venable finished his career in 2016 as a member of the Dodgers, whose general manager was Farhan Zaidi. He’s now the president of baseball operations for the Giants.
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    Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[Sam Fuld Declines To Interview For Managerial Vacancies With Cubs, Mets, Pirates]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177209 2019-10-14T18:10:09Z 2019-10-14T18:10:09Z Former big league outfielder Sam Fuld, currently serving as the Phillies’ Major League player information coordinator, declined the opportunity to interview with the Cubs, Mets, and Pirates for their managerial vacancies, MLBTR has learned.  The 37-year-old Fuld, who had developed a bit of a cult following as an all-out player for the Cubs, Rays, A’s, and Twins from 2007-15, is quickly gaining a reputation as a future managerial candidate.  The Stanford graduate was hired by the Phillies two years ago shortly after they hired Gabe Kapler to manage.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Breen profiled Fuld last season, examining the manner in which he serves as a liaison between the club’s analytics department and the clubhouse. “I think a lot of the times, the information can get overwhelming. It’s hard to sift through and pick ’OK, what’s important for this game?” Rhys Hoskins said at the time. “To have Sam, he’s recently out of the game, kind of act as that bridge just makes it so much easier on us players.”

    Given his Stanford degree in economics and his work both within the clubhouse and interacting with the Phillies’ analytics and baseball operations departments, there’ll likely be multiple paths for Fuld to consider as he determines what trajectory best suits him.  Kapler, meanwhile, is set to interview with both the Giants and the Cubs after being dismissed as the Phillies’ manager.  The Phillies, Mets, Cubs, Angels, Giants, Padres, Royals, and Pirates all have managerial vacancies at present.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cubs To Interview Joe Espada, Gabe Kapler]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177197 2019-10-14T16:05:17Z 2019-10-14T15:53:56Z The Cubs are interviewing Astros bench coach Joe Espada for their managerial opening today, tweets Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune tweets that they’ll also interview recently dismissed Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler this week. Espada’s Astros, of course, are still very much alive in their chase for a second World Series crown in three years, but today is a travel day for both remaining American League clubs.

    Espada had a 10-year minor league career as an infielder but never cracked the big leagues. The Puerto Rican-born 44-year-old began coaching not long after retiring as a player, working with the Marlins organization as a minor league hitting coach and field coordinator. He eventually moved up to become the team’s third base coach for four seasons and served another three years in that same capacity with the Yankees.

    Espada has also spent time as a special assistant to Yankees GM Brian Cashman and has currently been in his position with the Astros for two seasons. He received quite a bit of managerial interest last offseason and seems increasingly likely to ultimately lead his own club, given recent interest and the general manner in which coaches from successful, analytically inclined coaches are coveted by other teams. He’s already been tied to the Angels’ vacancy and was involved in the respective managerial searches conducted by the Orioles, Rangers and Blue Jays last offseason.

    Like Espada, Kapler is 44 years of age. He played parts of a dozen seasons at the MLB level before becoming a minor league manager with the Red Sox and, eventually, the director of player development for the Dodgers. Kapler was recently cut loose two seasons into a three-year deal to manage the Phillies, though owner John Middleton seemingly went through a painstaking deliberation before making what he characterized as a difficult decision. Middleton said that he and the club are “indebted to Gabe for the steadfast effort, energy and enthusiasm” at the time of Kapler’s dismissal. Kapler is also set to interview with the Giants.

    The Cubs are also known to be interested in Joe Girardi, David Ross and internal candidates Mark Loretta and Will Venable as possible successors to Joe Maddon, who was not brought back for a sixth season after his initial five-year deal to manage the Cubs expired. Notably, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers suggests that Kapler and Espada “should be” the final two candidates to receive interviews (Twitter link), so it seems that the next Cubs skipper will come from this batch of names. Chicago had interest in Carlos Beltran, as well, but Beltran declined the opportunity to interview with the team.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Can The Cubs Get On Track?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177177 2019-10-14T04:45:23Z 2019-10-14T04:37:31Z
  • Can Theo Epstein’s front office get the Cubs back on track?  Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times explores the question in a detailed look at the challenges facing the team this winter, as the team’s overhaul has already led to the end of Joe Maddon’s managerial tenure but seemingly no major shuffles coming to the baseball operations department.  The Cubs’ lack of success in 2019 had arguably less to do with Maddon and more to do with the team finally paying the price after several ill-fated acquisitions clogged the roster and the farm system failed to produce much high-impact talent (especially on the pitching side).  Wittenmyer wonders if Epstein and top lieutenants Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod can guide the Cubs through this reload period now that “the industry has caught up” to some of the roster-building strategies deployed by Epstein and company in rebuilding the Cubs, or in building the Red Sox into World Series winners last decade.  To Epstein’s credit, his post-season remarks to reporters included several admissions that mistakes were made by his baseball ops group, and more significant change is on the way to the big league roster.  “If you want to say we were stubborn with this group, I think that’s fair. We had a real belief in this group.  That’s an area where I need to do a better job as a leader, letting go of the past and focusing on the future,” Epstein said.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Carlos Beltran]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177157 2019-10-13T23:31:58Z 2019-10-13T23:22:24Z Former star outfielder Carlos Beltran has emerged as a popular candidate in managerial searches around the league, though Beltran has only one particular destination in mind.  Speaking to reporters (including Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe and Newsday’s Anthony Rieber) today, Beltran said that he was only interested in managing in New York, to the point of turning down interview requests from other teams.  It was already known that Beltran declined to speak to the Padres about their managerial vacancy, and he revealed today that he had also passed on a chance to interview with the Cubs.

    This leaves the Mets as Beltran’s only potential landing spot if he does indeed make a move into the dugout.  He reportedly interviewed for the position last Thursday, though he didn’t officially confirm this during today’s media session.  SNY’s Andy Martino notes that the lack of confirmation could have to do with the Mets “putting high priority on secrecy” during their managerial search (though several names have already been linked to the Mets job).

    Though Beltran has long expressed an interest in continuing to work in baseball after hanging up his cleats, he has been particular about which opportunities he has pursued.  It’s clear that his particular interest in remaining in New York has influenced those decisions — beyond his current connection to the Mets’ job, Beltran interviewed for the Yankees’ managerial vacancy after the 2017 season that was eventually filled by Aaron Boone, and has spent the last year working as a special advisor in the Yankees’ front office.  Obviously, Beltran has longstanding ties to the Big Apple after playing for the Mets from 2005-11, and then for the Yankees in 2014-16.

    Though Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has indicated he would “have a greater comfort for someone” with past managerial experience, Beltran is one of several potential first-time managers who have been on the Cubs’ radar during their own search.  Mark Loretta, David Ross, and Will Venable have never managed at the Major League or minor league levels before, though the Cubs are also slated to meet with a very experienced former MLB skipper in Joe Girardi.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cubs Face Decision On Kendall Graveman]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176708 2019-10-09T16:40:13Z 2019-10-09T16:40:13Z It was easy to forget since he did not pitch in 2019, but the Cubs inked righty Kendall Graveman to a fairly unique contract last winter. Now, the team will soon face a decision on his future with the organization.

    Graveman’s deal promised him $575K for 2019 and included a $3MM club option (sans buyout) for the season to come. The team will soon have to decide whether to exercise that option. While he’s still within the limits of arbitration eligibility, Graveman can’t be kept by that method. MLBTR has learned that his contract includes a provision requiring the club to release him if it does not pick up the option.

    The whole reasoning behind the Cubs’ signing of Graveman was to open this possibility. Indications are that his work this year was relatively promising. The 28-year-old former Jays and A’s hurler was never expected to make it back to the majors this year while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. But he was able to ramp up to the point that he made two minor-league rehab starts, totaling six innings of action. And he performed all of his efforts under the watchful gaze of the Cubs organization, giving them a close look at the progress and (nearly) end results.

    In weighing the decision, the Cubs will no doubt be closely considering how best to construct a cost-efficient 2020 rotation. There are several other soon-to-be free-agent candidates for buy-low/bounceback contracts. But those might end up being more expensive. And the players in question haven’t been under a Cubs microscope all year long.

    There are some other factors to consider here as well. Graveman’s 2020 contract would include a $2.5MM incentive package. The Cubs would likely gladly pay that if he’s healthy and effective enough to earn it. Plus, the team would still be able to control him via arbitration for the 2021 campaign if all goes well, effectively creating another option year.

    It’s arguable that the Cubs would be in decent shape in the rotation if they hang onto Graveman, even without further action beyond some depth moves. A resurgent Yu Darvish would front the staff along with Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana, with veteran lefty Jon Lester trying to finish out his contract with a bang. Graveman would be looking to get his career back on an upward trajectory. He had been a sturdy rotation piece for the A’s from 2015-17, turning in 407 frames of 4.11 ERA ball, before running into elbow troubles. There are also some younger options in the Cubs system, not that any appear to be sure things at this point.

    Of course, that isn’t exactly an imposing staff to carry into a season in which your team is trying to break a two-year string of disappointment. The Cubbies might well prefer to chase a different arm. Even then, picking up Graveman’s option might be worthwhile. The club could still utilize him as a swingman or even put together a trade to another team that would love to take a shot at him for that rate.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cubs Launch Managerial Interviews]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176324 2019-10-09T00:08:46Z 2019-10-09T00:08:26Z Oct. 8: Girardi will interview tomorrow, Gonzales further reports, with Ross slated to interview later in the week. Venable, meanwhile, interviewed for the position yesterday.

    Oct. 4: The Cubs have begun formal interviews as they seek to identify their next manager, the team informed reporters including Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). First-round interviews will carry into next week, at least.

    First up for a chat was Mark Loretta, who served as the club’s bench coach under departing skipper Joe Maddon. Loretta had his interview yesterday. As previously reported, first base coach Will Venable will also get a chance to petition for the job. He’s slated for a sit-down next week.

    Another previously reported candidate for the position, David Ross, will also get his first formal managerial interview next week. The veteran backstop-turned-analyst has long been speculated as a candidate.

    Ross is not far removed from being an in-uniform veteran presence, but has never held a coaching or managing position. Loretta and Venable each have coaching experience, but neither has ever managed.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Cubs will also look at more experienced candidates. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein has said he’d “have a greater comfort for someone handling the role before.”

    Joe Girardi is about as experienced as any managerial candidate, having helmed the Marlins for one season before a decade-long stint with the Yankees. He’s also slated to chat with Epstein and company next week.

    Indication has been that the Cubs will look far and wide for candidates. If so, it would stand to reason that other names will still pop up for first-round interviews. The existing slate, after all, isn’t exactly an exotic group in terms of background. Two are former Chicago catchers while the others were in Cubs uniforms in the just-completed campaign.

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