The Chicago Cubs have a lot to be thankful for this year. From Starlin Castro to Matt Garza, while the Cubs did not contend this season, Castro and Garza allow the team to build around them for the future. In the case of Garza, the building may come through trading Garza for a plethora of young top farmhands. In addition, the biggest reason for Cubs fans to be thankful is for newly appointed president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, and vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod. Ironically, Epstein and Hoyer appear to be following similar thanksgiving trend that they started when the two were first paired together after the 2003 season.
- In Thanksgiving of 2003, Epstein and Hoyer spent the holiday at the house of Arizona starting pitcher Curt Schilling. Epstein and Hoyer spent the week trying to persuade Schilling to accept a trade to the Red Sox. That story may not be as remembered as schilling’s bloody sock episode during the 2004 post-season, but it was Epstein’s and Hoyer’s trip to Schilling’s house that paved way for the pitcher to make history with the Red Sox. History may repeat itself this winter. Epstein and Hoyer have spent most of the week in the Dominican Republic courting Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes. The fact that the two top members of the Cubs’ front office made direct contact with Cespedes should indicate that the Cubs are strongly interested in the Cuban outfielder. Epstein’s and Hoyer’s trip comes after McLeod put Cespedes through a private workout last week. While Cespedes has not been officially declared as free agent, reports suggest that the Cubs’ brain trust have had regular conversations with Cespedes’ advisers. Like with Schilling in 2003, Epstein and Hoyer seem to be trying to convince Cespedes that joining the Cubs is the right move to start his major league career.
- While Epstein and Hoyer work towards improving the Cubs’ roster, manager Dale Sveum is tasked with filling his coaching staff. Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo has already been assured that he would return for the 2012 season, ditto for bench coach Pat Listach. The biggest to position to fill on Sveum’s staff is the pitching coach post. Mark Riggins will not return next season, and Sveum appears to be pursuing one of his former teammates. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reported last night that Sveum and the Cubs asked the Milwaukee Brewers last week for permission to speak with Chris Bosio. Sullivan goes as far as saying that Sveum has offered Bosio the pitching coach post. Bosio is currently the pitching coach of the Brewers’ triple A-affiliate. Like Riggins last year, not much is known as to what Bosio offers as a pitching coach. In the same report, Sullivan mentions that Sveum is hoping Craig Counsell will join his coaching staff once he retires.
- The Chicago Cubs announced last night that they have offered arbitration to free agent first baseman Carlos Pena and third baseman Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs opted against offering arbitration to Kerry Wood, Reed Johnson, Ramon Ortiz, John Grabow, and Rodrigo Lopez. Wood is likely to re-sign with the Cubs. Meanwhile Pena and Ramirez are type B free agents, meaning assuming the pair of free agents decline the arbitration offer, the Cubs will receive a draft pick from the teams that sign the two free agents.
Happy Thanksgiving From Cubbies Crib