Welcome to the world of missing management people on both sides of town. Maybe the Sox should hire Theo as their next manager and the Sandy Alomar as the Cubs next GM. I've seen crazier reports. Welcome ...
Bruce, There are high hopes that Theo might jump to the Cubs. However, I'm scared that we might find another GM throwing money at under-performing players (John Lackey, Carl Crawford, Mike Cameron, Dice-K, JD Drew) and trading young talent to fit immediate needs (A-Gon). Is he really the right guy to oversee a re-building from the farm system, or would Andrew Friedman be a better, though less likely, choice?
Epstein has had the luxury of having really high payrolls to work with. That is one area where Ricketts seems resistant. The success fo the Yankees and Red Sox is based on smart thinking and spending through your mistakes. Ricketts has resisted that philosophy in his first two years with the Cubs. A new GM should understand that they won't have a $170 million payroll like they have in Boston.
Bruce, on the player front, it seems like the first order of business would be to get the pitching staff in order. Would resigning Garza in the neighborhood of 4 years/$45 million be the right way to go?
Not sure if Garza would be interested in that right now. And four years, $45 million won't get it done. If you take away his won-loss total he was one of the top five pitchers in the NL. He's going to make probably $10 million in arbitration alone this year. Any type of four or five year deal will likely have to be in the $13-$15 million range.
Bruce- Will Crane Kenney still have a prominent role with a new GM?
Absolutely. Kenney is fully entrenched as the president of the team. He is the No. 1 most important guy for Ricketts on the business side. Regardless of what you hear, he has influence on candidates to be interviewed for GM. Ricketts is firmly in support of Kenney.
Bruce, you have mentioned recently about going for pitching that might be undervalued by their current clubs. What about former Cub prospect Ricky Nolasco? He had a down year for the Fish and the two teams have a history of dealing together
A Zambrano-Nolasco trade would be interesting but Nolasco is an innings eater and the Marlins want to win in their first year in their new ballpark. They will be adding pitching. I don't know that they will be subtracting any.
Hi Bruce & Doug. Why wouldn't the Cubs pick up Ramirez's option. If he declines aren't they off they hook for the $2mil buyout? Also, aren't they due compensation if he signs as a free agent?
If they offer the option and Ramirez accepts then they are on the hook for him being around for one more year at $16 million. If he declines like I believe he will, you are right. They will be able to offer arbitration and will be entitled to a draft pick. It's a $16 million gamble if the Cubs are not interested in bringing him back.
are Jackson and Colvin starting next year? Or do the Cubs go after a Willingham or Swisher?
Those type of questions will be answered by the next GM. But the organization believes Jackson is ready to win an OF spot out of spring training. Colvin has a tremendous amount of work to do to get back to being a candidate to play everyday in the OF. This season was a failure for the once-promising Colvin.
Will the Cubs be in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes? What other teams have a 1B need that can afford him?
If you put together Ramirez money and Pena money the Cubs could still budget Fielder in. The question is what would you have to surround him with? And wouldn't he be getting pitched around? My guess is that Fielder will end up elsewhere.
Why all the media love for Rick Hahn for the Cubs GM job. The Sox minor league system has been rated low by many publications, they have an under achieving team the last few years with guys who's contacts he negotiated, and why hasn't Reinsdorf promoted him. i do not see how he is a good candidat other than he is friends with the media guys. Plus why hire from the Sox?
The Sox have been successful and competing without a good minor league system. That speaks volumes for both Williams and Hahn. The reason they haven't develped more minor league players is Williams' and Resindorf's philosophy of spending money for the here and now. The Sox have developed good young players and traded them away. Two of the top young pitchers in baseball are Daniel Hudson of Arizona and Gio Gonzalez of Oakland. Clayton Richard and Brandon McCarthy are not far behind. And besuides, the Sox have spent the fewest dollars on the June draft over the last three years. That is not Hahn's philosophy. That is the organization. Hahn has a lot of skills beyond being friendly with the media.
Can you see Billy Beane coming over from the A's, getting a little more payroll to work with, and building a winner in 2-3 years? Truth be told, I'd take Brad Pitt at GM over Jim Hendry.
I don't believe Beane is available. However for the right money you will be able to get Brad Pitt.
Bruce, am I pitching for the Marlins next year? If so, will this really afford my old team any payroll relief or will the Marlins be able to take on more salary because of the new ballpark? Will the Cubs get any impact minor leaguers?
I'm sorry did you say you are quitting for the Marlins next year? Florida is the likely destination. As myself and Doug Padilla have pointed out, Ozzie wants him in Florida because he feels he can win, and that he and Joey Cora can handle Zambrano. Big Z is just one ADD diagnosis from winning 15 games. Physically he's able. The Cubs would try to get pitching in return. That's their No. 1 goal in the offseason: getting young pitching.
Who is a young pitcher in the Cubs organization that could suprise by grabbing a rotation spot next season?
Obviously the team would love it to be Trey McNutt. The biggest disappointment of 2011 for most Cubs organization people was Jay Jackson's mediocre season. According to instructors in the organization, Jackson refused to alter his philosophy on pitching and that stubbornness they feel has halted his ascension to the majors, at least for the time being.
Bruce had to take a call. He'll be back shortly ... And Padilla is up next at 12:30.
Hi Bruce. The Yanks are throwing AJ Burnett tonight, much to the chagrin of their fans. Is he a washed up pitcher, or might a change of scenery help him out? Could this be a guy the Cubs might consider in a strade for Soriano?
I would hope not. The guy has been a disaster. Without Larry Rothschild I doubt he would have gotten as far as he has. I don't think the Cubs need any projects like Burnett unless there is no cost to them.
Why did the Cubs not trade Soto at the deadline, and what are the chances they trade him this offseason and what value would he get in return?
Hendry had a great chance to trade him to the Pirates but didn't feel that was fair to his successor. If you look around at the catchers in baseball, Soto would still be considered in the top six or seven even with an off-year batting average wise. His throwing is another issue.
Please follow me on my Twitter espnchicubs, because I am extremely active on that now and I will keep you updated there and on the site. In the meantime look for extra chats throughout the offseason. We will let you know when.
Time to get going with the first White Sox chat of the offseason. Coming to you from the downtown ESPNChicago.com offices.
Do you think Buehrle will be back on the South Side next season? It would be sad to see him go after 12 loyal seasons.
Things aren't looking good for Buehrle's return. He's likely going to get decent money on the free-agent market as one of the top starters. Good for him, but bad for the White Sox, who want to cut back salary in 2012. I know White Sox fans don't want to hear abut salary cuts. That's just the reality of the situation.
Will it be Francona, Martinez or Alomar for Sox?
I still have Martinez listed as the favorite. Alomar can gain some ground in his interview. Francona is an interesting option. He will cost more, but has a proven track record. Still see the White Sox going with an up-and-comer though, much like the Bulls did with Thibodeau.
Guys, was I the sacrificial lamb for the season because Adam Dunn and Alex Rios have completely forgotten how to hit a baseball? And is there anyone out there capable of getting these two able too...?
It is true that Walker was not going to be invited back, but he also decided that his time on the South Side was done and elected to walk away. He almost left after last season. Not sure there are magic tricks that somebody else can provide for Dunn and Rios, but sometimes hearing the same things from a different voice does wonders for a hitter.
Do you think Lillibridge earned the lead off spot, or maybe De Aza? They both seemed to have strong performances.
If you are looking in house, those are your best options. De Aza probably has the advantage over Lillibridge. Don't rule out the concept that the White Sox look for a leadoff type in a trade for, let's say, Quentin perhaps.
With Adam Dunn and Alex Rios in historic slumps who is in line to replace the now departed Greg Walker?
The best in-house candidate is AAA hitting coach Tim Laker, who has received rave reviews for his work at Charlotte. But remember a new manager is on the way and he might have a different idea for a hitting coach.
I think the Sox should try real hard to sign Danks and when they can't (he will want more than he's worth) then sign Buehrle and trade Danks while we can get a lot for him.
Not sure it works out that simply. Danks has one more arbitration year and still doesn't have to sign long-term yet. Buehrle is going to cost some serious money. And remember, there is a chance Buehrle doesn't re-sign and Danks gets moved. Lots of options ahead.
When will Kenny Williams start interviewing candidates for the job?
All indications are that the process has already started. Alomar could be interviewed soon and Martinez should get some face time as soon as Tampa Bay's playoff run is complete. Expect a manager to be named shortly after that keeping in mind that announcements of that kind aren't allowed during the World Series.
Salary aside... who is the best fit for the Sox? Francona, Alamar or Martinez?
I think Alomar is the best fit. But I know him the best of all the candidates so that probably has something to do with it.
In your world Doug, give me the White Sox starting rotation on opening day next year?
Not saying this is the rotation that I am hoping for but this is what I can see happening: Danks, Floyd, Peavy, Humber, Sale.
With the re-ups for Harold and Cooper, do you think the Sox already have an idea of who their next manager is, and perhaps have had discussions with that individual? Or is it just customary to begin assembling a coaching staff before actually hiring a manager?
I think those guys were retained because Kenny saw it best to move forward with them. Can't argue with Cooper's success and who doesn't like Harold? The Cooper decision lends credence to the idea they go with an up-and-comer who wouldn't be insistent on bringing his own pitching coach.
What are the odds of dumping Quentin, and a few younger talents, and getting Prince Fielder?
The Quentin option is very likely to happen. The Fielder option would be a complete shock. That one won't happen.
Doug, who do see the White Sox going after when free agency starts?
Don't expect much movement on the free-agent market. They could go for a utility player and/or a reliever but nobody that would be counted on to make a major impact.
Is my bro going to be with the club next season?
Jordan Danks still needs to show more offense to make a serious push for the big-league roster. He is expected to get an invite to major-league camp in the spring, though. His defense is big-league ready. Doesn't look like he'll be on the Opening Day roster, though.
Doug, KW is going to let the kids play next season of the following vets which one will still be with the Sox in 12?A.J.DanksFloydCQPaulieThorton
I think A.J. and Konerko are back for sure. Danks or Floyd could be moved. If they have their choice I think the White Sox keep the lefty Danks.
So do you think i will be coaching the White sox next year or am i staying here.
Still think La Russa is a serious longshot at this point. Don't see Kenny and La Russa as the best fit together at GM and manager respectively.
So, what's a realistic return for Quentin? I mean, this is a guy who could have won an MVP if he didn't break his wrist hitting a baseball bat. Can we get anything decent? Alternatively, any chance we can use him in a bundle to get rid of Rios?
Quentin has solid value on the trade market. If you want pieces for the future he should be able to lure multiple top prospects. The system could use replenishing. As far as moving Rios, forget about it. It won't happen unless the White Sox pick up much of the money and they don't figure to do that.
Do you think that Dunn was in a slump, or does he not like playing for the Sox, and will continue to set K out records for the duration of his stay?
Wouldn't call something that epic a "slump." Dunn clearly had trouble with a number of transitions like coming to the AL and figuring out the DH role. The strikeouts have always been there, though. That's part of the give and take with him.
Could Frank Thomas be a possible fit for the White Sox hitting coach position?
Don't think Frank is a legitimate option at this time. But he sounded interested in something like that down the road. He probably needs at least a season in a coaching role. Robin Ventura got some of that experience last season so it will be interesting to see if they think he is ready for a big-league hitting coach role.
OK folks, it's been fun. Talk to you next week.