11/1 Theo on Big Z, Ramirez & more

Theo Epstein says he would like to talk to Carlos Zambrano before deciding what the Cubs will do regarding the right-hander. Epstein did speak to Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver. Zambrano was scheduled to pitch this weekend in the Venezuelan Winter League for Caribes, and threw 40 pitches on Tuesday in a side session. He has not pitched in a game since Aug. 12 when he left the Cubs game in Atlanta.

“I have had conversations with Barry Praver, Carlos’ representative, and that was an enlightening conversation,” Epstein said Tuesday. “I sat down with a number of guys who have been here, working alongside Carlos during his Cubs career. That was also enlightening. Now it’s just a matter of processing the information, putting it together, following up directly with Carlos and seeing what’s best for the Cubs. That’s what’s most important.”

* As for Aramis Ramirez, he still has to declare his side of the mutual option. The Cubs said they would pick up the $16 million option for next year. If Ramirez declines, as is expected, he will be a free agent.

“He had a terrific career with the Cubs while he was here,” Epstein said, talking in past tense about the third baseman. “We certainly wish him well in the future. I wouldn’t rule anything out but given his position as the top free agent third baseman, it’s certainly a likelihood that another team will make him a contract that appeals to him and we’ll be looking for different solutions.”

* On the topic of compensation between the Red Sox and Cubs for Epstein, he said MLB may give the two teams an extension. Tuesday was supposed to be the deadline for the two teams to finalize compensation. The Cubs and Padres also must determine compensation for Hoyer, but they have until early December.

 — Carrie Muskat

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