Results tagged ‘ Theo Epstein ’

11/8 Renteria greets fans

Cubs season ticket holders got a sneak peek at new manager Rick Renteria on Friday. At a presentation in downtown Chicago, an enthusiastic Renteria talked about how excited he was to take over the team.

“I feel we can win with young players,” Renteria said in the video, “because quite frankly the difference between an experienced Major League baseball club with veteran players is simply that [veterans] have the confidence level that’s been born over time and experience. I think what we’re trying to do is advance that confidence level as quickly as we can.”

Theo Epstein said one of the reasons Dale Sveum was dismissed as manager after the season is because the Cubs did not have that environment to develop young players.

“Frankly, that’s an area that I haven’t done a great job at, providing a Major League environment that’s supportive and allows our young players to continue to develop,” Epstein said. “That was really one of the major reasons for the managerial change, and one of the most important things we were looking for in a new manager. We wanted a new manager who had leadership experience and leadership traits. We wanted a new manager who had already impacted players positively at the Major League level, and impacted the Major League team.”

– Carrie Muskat

11/6 Manager update

According to MLB Network’s Peter Gammons, the Cubs will name Rick Renteria the new manager on Thursday. However, a Major League source told MLB.com Wednesday there was no announcement pending.

The Cubs have spent more than a month interviewing Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, Brad Ausmus, former Mariners and Indians manager Eric Wedge, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, former Nationals and Indians manager Manny Acta, and former Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch.

The Cubs also reportedly wanted to talk to Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo.

When Dale Sveum was dismissed on Sept. 30, Epstein said they would prioritize managerial experience in the next manager. Epstein wanted a “dynamic person” who could establish a winning culture after losing more than 90 games two years in a row. The emphasis also would be on a person’s ability to develop young talent. Renteria inherits a young core that includes first baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Starlin Castro, and catcher Welington Castillo, and up and coming prospects in Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora.

– Carrie Muskat

11/1 Ausmus meets with Cubs

Theo Epstein said he wanted the next Cubs manager to have some experience at the job but apparently Brad Ausmus may not need that requirement. The Cubs interviewed Ausmus at Wrigley Field on Friday. Ausmus, 44, who interviewed Monday with the Tigers, played 18 seasons, and was currently a special assistant with the Padres. His only managerial experience was with Team Israel in a qualifying tournament for the World Baseball Classic.

Ausmus was a three-time Gold Glove winner and named to the All-Star team in 1999. He was drafted in the 47th round by the Yankees in 1987, but wanted to attend Dartmouth College. The Yankees allowed him to do so while playing in the Minor Leagues. He finished his career in 2010, having played for the Padres, Tigers, Astros and Dodgers, and compiled a career .251 batting average, 80 home runs and 607 RBIs in 18 seasons.

Houston manager Phil Garner once joked that he had to keep playing Ausmus “because if he starts managing, he’ll be better than me.” Ausmus’ response: “Yeah, but if he keeps playing me more, he may end up losing his job anyway.”

Joe Torre also predicted Ausmus would someday manage, and had the catcher take control of the Dodgers for one game at the end of the 2010 season.

“I’m not going to say that I don’t [have that ambition], but I can’t say 100 percent that I do,” Ausmus said after that Dodgers’ game, a 7-5 loss to the Diamondbacks. “I might go home and decide that is where I want to be all the time. I wasn’t even married until after I got to the big leagues, and I haven’t been home with my family for more than three or four months at a time. They may decide they don’t like me.”

He’s also quick with the quip. In 2010, the Sporting News called Ausmus the ninth smartest athlete in sports.

“I feel like when they say I’m one of the smarter ballplayers, it’s just their way of saying I don’t hit very much,” Ausmus responded.

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer hired Ausmus as a special assistant with the Padres in November 2010 when Hoyer was the GM in San Diego. Ausmus is the third person with a Padres connection to be interviewed for the Cubs job. Rick Renteria, 51, who has interviewed with the Mariners and Tigers, is the Padres’ bench coach. A.J. Hinch, 39, is currently involved with player development in the Padres’ front office.

– Carrie Muskat

11/1 Manager update

If Theo Epstein sticks to his schedule, he now has 10 days to name a new Cubs manager. Epstein said he wanted someone in place before the GM meetings, which begin Nov. 11. The Cubs have talked to Rick Renteria, Dave Martinez, Manny Acta and Eric Wedge. On Thursday, Renteria, 51, interviewed for the Tigers job. He’s also talked to the Mariners about their vacancy.

Epstein most likely is waiting for the Red Sox celebration to quiet down before contacting third base coach Torey Lovullo, whom Boston manager John Farrell has endorsed. The Tigers also reportedly want to talk to Lovullo.

The wild card candidate is Brad Ausmus, 44, who interviewed Monday with the Tigers. Ausmus played 18 seasons, and was currently a special assistant with the Padres. Epstein has said he preferred to hire someone with managerial experience, and Ausmus has only managed Team Israel in a qualifying tournament for the World Baseball Classic.

– Carrie Muskat

10/24 Extra bases

* Cubs prospect Christian Villanueva was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and one RBIs in Yaquis de Obregon’s 8-3 loss to Los Mochis in Mexican Winter League play on Wednesday. It was Villanueva’s second homer of the winter league season.

Second baseman Arismendy Alcantara was 2-for-5 with a double and scored a run in Licey’s 7-4 win over Estrellas in Dominican Winter League play. Alcantara batted .271 this season for Double-A Tennessee.

* Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, who has interviewed for the Cubs’ job, also is a candidate for the Nationals’ managerial vacancy, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

* According to a survey of 26 music insiders by Rolling Stone magazine, Wrigley Field ranked second among rock stadiums and arenas in the U.S. Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Elton John, The Police, Jimmy Buffett, Rascal Flatts and Kelly Clarkson have all performed at the ballpark. Madison Square Garden in New York ranked No. 1, and Fenway Park was No. 3. The list is part of a “Venues that Rock” series.

* Got a question about the Cubs? The Cubs mailbag is back. Send your questions to CubsInbox@gmail.com, and please include your full name and hometown. Don’t bother sending your resume if inquiring about the vacant manager’s job. I’ll leave that to Theo Epstein & Co.

– Carrie Muskat

10/14 Cubs meet with Renteria; Martinez next

On Monday, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were in California to meet with Padres coach Rick Renteria about the managerial vacancy, and plan on talking to Rays bench coach Dave Martinez later this week. The Cubs brass has talked to Manny Acta and A.J. Hinch already. Renteria, 51, managed four seasons in the Padres Minor League system before joining the big league staff as a bench coach. He also managed Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. He played parts of five seasons with the Pirates, Mariners and Marlins, and has managed in the Marlins and Padres organizations. Martinez, 49, was drafted by the Cubs in 1983, and made his big league debut in ’86. He played 16 seasons, including four with the Cubs (1986-88, 2000). He’s been part of Joe Maddon’s staff in Tampa since the 2008 season. The Cubs’ search began Sept. 30 when Dale Sveum was dismissed after two seasons as manager. Epstein has said he’d like to have the new manager in place by the GM meetings, which begin Nov. 11.

– Carrie Muskat

10/6 Extra bases

* Several members of the Cubs’ front office, including Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer, will be in Arizona this week to watch some of the young prospects play in the Arizona Fall League and the instructional league games. The AFL begins Tuesday with the Mesa Solar Sox — or “Soler Sox,” as in Jorge Soler — traveling to Glendale to play the Desert Dogs. Cubs prospects playing for Mesa include Soler, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Wes Darvill, Matt Loosen, Dallas Beeler, Lendy Castillo and Armando Rivera.

* Arodys Vizcaino, acquired from the Braves in July 2012 in the Paul Maholm trade, has been rehabbing in Mesa, and was scheduled to throw a live batting practice session on Tuesday, then pitch in instructional league games Oct. 15 and Oct. 18. The right-hander will likely see some action in Winter League play as well.

* Mike Olt, acquired from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal this year, got some extra swings in at the Cubs complex this past week.

* There’s been a lot of progress made at the Cubs’ new Spring Training complex in west Mesa. It’s nice to see the stadium taking shape, palm trees planted and water in the little lake. The Cubs will leave their Fitch Park facility in November.

– Carrie Muskat

9/27 Sveum, staff to find out status on Monday

Dale Sveum will find out Monday whether or not he’ll be back at the helm for a third season. That’s when Theo Epstein will complete his evaluation of the manager and the coaching staff.

“It’s pretty standard at this time of year to take your time to look back at the season and make decisions on what can put the organization in the best position going forward,” Epstein said. “This is part of the process. At the same time, we owe it to everyone involved to get it done quickly and move forward. We’ll finish up the process on Monday.”

Epstein was in St. Louis to conduct end of the season meetings with most of the players along with general manager Jed Hoyer and Sveum.

Epstein first revealed the evaluation process regarding Sveum and his staff last week in Milwaukee. The lack of a definitive vote of confidence from Epstein prompted speculation regarding Sveum’s status.

“It is what it is,” Sveum said of the uncertainty. “It’s not like I have to deal with anything except the norm that comes along with this position and the situation the organization is in, the evaluation process of any team at the end of the year, especially a team that lost 90-plus games. It doesn’t affect me and doesn’t bother me like people might think it does. It’s just part of the process.”

The Cubs lost 101 games in Sveum’s first season in 2012, and will finish in last place in the National League Central this year.

“If you go into something not expecting this [evaluation] then it might be different,” Sveum said. “But when you go into any kind of job like this, you understand these things can happen at any given time. I’ve been around too long and have seen it on both ends. There’s nothing you can do but keep doing the same things you do. It’s not going to change you as a person or a baseball person.”

During the Milwaukee series, Sveum was caught on camera arguing with pitcher Edwin Jackson in the dugout, and the next day, Jeff Samardzija yelled at third base coach David Bell. Kevin Gregg also was upset at being told he would no longer close, but the problem was miscommunication.

“I look at those three little minor brushfires as things that naturally occur at the end of a difficult season and frankly, I think it’s been impressive that under Dale’s leadership we got through 11 months of the regular season without something like that happening,” Epstein said. “Those things are to be expected. If you don’t want those things to happen, then don’t trade 40 percent of your rotation every year. Those things are going to crop up.

“Frankly, the things behind the scenes are more important than some of the brushfires that sometimes become public,” Epstein said. “I don’t think those are a pattern at all.”

Epstein and Hoyer have said repeatedly they are not judging Sveum on the Cubs’ record.

– Carrie Muskat

9/21 Theo and Gregg

The Cubs announced Saturday that Theo Epstein accepted Kevin Gregg’s apology, and the right-hander will not be released. Epstein had considered such a move after Gregg criticized management following Friday’s game, which he gave up four runs in the ninth. Gregg was upset that he was no longer going to be the closer in the last week of games. Gregg later apologized Friday, and walked up to the press box to make sure the media knew.

– Carrie Muskat

9/20 Gregg and the Cubs

First it was Edwin Jackson vs. Dale Sveum, then Jeff Samardzija vs. David Bell. On Friday, it was Kevin Gregg against Theo Epstein. The Cubs have eight games remaining, and now they’re arguing over who is the closer.

The Braves beat the Cubs, 9-5, on Friday and moved closer to clinching the NL East. Gregg gave up four runs in the ninth and took the loss. After the game, the right-hander said he was upset at being told this week that he was no longer the closer.

“For an organization to just come out and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go in a different direction …’ You know, professional courtesy would’ve been nice,” Gregg said after the game in the clubhouse.

Sveum gave Gregg the news, but the pitcher said he felt the decision came from Epstein.

“[Friday's game] didn’t unfold like I wanted, but I probably tried a little too hard,” Gregg said. “What they told me over the last couple of days makes it difficult to play this game anyway … let alone knowing what they think. That shows they are not that interested in me coming back here. I will worry about next year next year. But it gives me a good indication of their thoughts going forward.”

Epstein was angry when he heard Gregg’s comments, and went up to the press box to meet with the media.

“Apparently, Kevin misunderstood Dale and thought he was having his job permanently taken away, despite getting the ball in the closer’s role the last couple of days,” Epstein said. “He apparently had some choice words. … Upon hearing that, I called him up to Dale’s office to tell him how disappointed I was with him, given the way we’ve treated him this year. You know, briging him back … and showing faith in him and the great job he has done for us this year. It took him a couple minutes to understand he misunderstood Dale and he apologized to me and to Dale. I told him I would sleep on it and decide whether we would have any disciplinary action … let him know if he was released [Saturday] morning.”

Gregg then came up to the press box to talk.

“In the conversation I was having with Dale [in Milwaukee], I didn’t understand exactly what he was saying,” Gregg said. “Unfortunately for myself, it kind of got under my skin.

“Now that I have sat down with Theo and Dale again, they clarified things and I was able to cool off a little bit. It helped to be able to talk to them and see what they actually are thinking. They want to get a look at Pedro, but they are not going to take anything from me, either. They wanted to work together to see what the future holds for the organization with him and myself. I am OK with that. I like that idea.”

– Carrie Muskat

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