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I don't know what's going on with the comments and sometimes it just ends up fixing itself. The site is due for a minor software upgrade that I'll try to complete tonight and I'm hoping that fixes the problem. If not, the twitter sidebar still seems to be updating as does the abilithy to write stories, so hopefully you won't be missing too much until I can fix it.

In the meantime, Daniel Bard will be non-tendered according to multiple Cubs sources. That one was a no-brainer of course. We still await the decision on the rest of the group and I'll update as the news trickles out.

UPDATE #1: Kottaras signs a $1.075M deal with incentives according to Jon Heyman.

UPDATE #2: AZ Phil's crystal ball is still working, Cubs will non-tender Mat Gamel.

UPDATE #3: The Nats trade Steve Lombardozzi, Robbie Ray and Ian Krol for Doug Fister. Fister's a year older than Samardzija but has the same amount of club control left. Samardzija may have a little more upside because of his K's, but Fister's been a lot better pitcher the last 2 years. Every situation is different of course, but imagine this will hinder Cubs trading Samardzija this offseason. That's probably not a terrible thing considering what they were still able to get for Matt Garza.

UPDATE #4: I believe the commenting issues have been fixed. In Cubs news, Donnie Murphy gets a 1/$825K contract and P Chang-yong Lim was non-tendered although he wasn't arbitration eligible. I believe he had a non-guaranteed contract for 2014, but now he's off the 40-man and free to sign with anyone while the Cubs are off the hook for his contract. Samardzija, Schierholtz, Strop, Wood, Russell, Valbuena and Barney were all tendered contracts and I'm sure most will sign before any arbitration hearings.

There were a total of 43 non-tenders according to MLB Trade Rumors and the list of interesting names is too numerous, but a few that may strike your fancy include RHP John Axford, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Ronald Belisario, RHP MItchell Boggs, OF Ryan Kailish, SP Daniel Hudson and RP Ryan Webb.

The BBWAA released the Hall of Fame ballot today and I count 6 players that you can reasonably associate with the Cubs: Rafael Palmeiro, Jacque Jones, Sammy Sosa, Lee Smith, Moises Alou and Greg Maddux. Of course, all but Sammy and maybe Lee Smith are more closesly associated with other organziations. Sammy won't be getting in and neither will Lee Smith with Maddux and Frank Thomas on this ballot, not to mention more interesting carryovers like Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell to name a few.

That being said, I think we all as Cubs fan consider Greg Maddux one of our own and we'll just have to share him with the Atlanta Braves in a joiny custody battle. He'll certainly be fitted with the Braves cap on his plaque, but we can just contine to blame Larry Himes for that historical atrocity.

To the point, if I even have one, is that if there's anything interesting about this ballot, it's whether Greg Maddux will be the first player to be voted in unanimously. There's no reasonable case against him, he checks off every box of a Hall a Fame pitcher. Cy Youngs...check, 4 straight. Exceptional Peak Years...check, see 1992-1998. 300 wins...check. 3000 strikeouts...check. Steroid rumors...nope. Postseason success...okay, I mean it's not Mariano Rivera good, but 11-14 with a 3.27 ERA and a World Series title isn't a reason to not vote for him considering his in-season resume. So the case is airtight and he'll of course get in on the first ballot, but he frankly deserves more. But we all know that one attention-starved voter will make this vote about him and deny Maddux the honor. Tom Seaver stills holds the record at 98.4% of the vote (425 out of 430 ballots) and well, there's no way you can't say Maddux was the better pitcher. But that won't matter when the votes are tallied. All that will matter is if some holier-than-thou, sanctimonious piece of excrement decides that he's the one that will take the burden of being the Hall of Fame bouncer this year. And when and if that happens, it'll just be another check on the list of the "Hall of Fame is Becoming More Irrelevant Each and Every Year."

Let's see, what did I miss over the last week?

Baseball America put out their top 10 Cubs list and it looks a little something like this

  1. Javier Baez
  2. Kris Bryant
  3. C.J. Edwards
  4. Albert Almora
  5. Jorge Soler
  6. Pierce Johnson
  7. Arismendy Alcantara
  8. Jeimer Candelario
  9. Dan Vogelbach
  10. Arodys Vizcaino

Edwards above Almora is a bit of surprise, but also completely meaningless. Mike Olt is falling faster than a reality star.

The Mesa Solar Sox will play in the AFL Finals this Saturday.

Bill Mueller's name is in the hat for taking over hitting instructor duties from James Rowson.

I'm pretty sure you can replace "upper management" with "Crane Kenney" in this story about being way off base on Joe Girardi's interest in returning to Chicago.

Amongst the offseaon rumors, so far we know Jeff Samardzija is certainly on the block with teams like Arizona and Toronto being mentioned. The DBacks also may have their eye on Nate Schierholtz according to Jon Morosi. Patrick Mooney says don't expect McCann or Saltalamacchia signing with the Cubs, but Kurt Suzuki is on the radar. Ricky Nolasco allegedly has a 4-year offer on the table in the 50M+ range. Adjust your contract expectations accordingly for players like Josh Johnson and so on.

The Cubs are set to hire Padres bench coach Rick Renteria tomorrow as their new manager. You can read up on his bio on wikipedia or a number of other places, but the cliff notes version is that he was the 20th overall pick in the 1980 draft, selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played a few seasons between the Pirates, Mariners and Marlins, playing his last game at age 32 in 1994. He pretty much immediately went into coaching and has been with the Padres organization since 2003, getting promoted to a major league coaching gig in 2008.

I'm sure we'll hear the qualifications from TheJedi tomorrow, but safe bet the top 3 were familiarity with Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod from their time with the Padres, a strong history managing youngsters and being bilingual is certainly a major plus in today's game. Past that, we'll figure out the good and the bad once the games start.

It's certainly not the big name that I'm sure the casual fan wants, but I do hope anyone reads this site understands the follies of that kind of thinking in today's baseball. On a sidenote, Chris Bosio will return as pitching coach with a new two year deal.

Credit to twitter for the headline, you can see the source in the sidebox.

UPDATE: 3-year contract for Renteria with 2 club option years according to Bob Nightengale.

I was curious, so I figured some of you may be as well...

Manager W-L % Series Records
C. Hurdle 8-4 .667 2-1 and 1 game WC win in '13
T. Francona 28-18 .609 7-3 and 1 game WC loss in '13
M. Matheny 7-6 .538 1-1 and 1 game WC win in '12
J. Leyland 39-34 .534 8-6
J. Maddon 12-14 .462 2-3 and 1 game WC win in '13
D. Baker 19-26 .422 3-6 and 1 game WC loss in '13
B. Melvin 5-7 .417 1-2
F. Gonzalez 0-1 .000 Lost 1 game WC in '12
D. Mattingly N/A    
J. Farrell N/A    

(UPDATED after the Rays and Indians game)

While technically not playoff games, a few managers were involved in tiebreaker games, i.e Game 163 and they went as so:

D. Baker's Giants in '98 lost to the Cubs at Wrigley

C. Hurdle's Rockies in '07 beat the Padres at Coors

J. Leyland's Tigers in '09 lost to the Twins at the Metrodome

J. Maddon's Rays in '13 beat the Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington.

There's really little point in trying to assign any value to any of that, although to maybe point and laugh at Dusty's record.

In a move that everyone should have expected, Dale Sveum was removed of his duties as the Cubs lineup filler-outer. Some new lucky schlub will now get that honor with a very nice paycheck, posssibly $3M or more if their name is Joe Girardi.

In the official statement, TheJedi were their normal political correct selves, wishing Dale good luck in his future endeavors and taking the blame for the record the last 2 years...while not really taking the blame though. Because if they were really upset about it, they'd Samurai Futaba themselves like any honorable G.M.

It's all just P.R. rhetoric, but if there's a statement of hope to hang our hats on, it would probably be this paragraph.

Soon, our organization will transition from a phase in which we have been primarily acquiring young talent to a phase in which we will promote many of our best prospects and actually field a very young, very talented club at the major league level. The losing has been hard on all of us, but we now have one of the top farm systems in baseball, some of the very best prospects in the game, and a clear path forward. In order for us to win with this group - and win consistently - we must have the best possible environment for young players to learn, develop and thrive at the major league level. We must have clear and cohesive communication with our players about the most important parts of the game. And - even while the organization takes a patient, long view - we must somehow establish and maintain a galvanized, winning culture around the major league club.

So far Girardi and Brad Ausmus have been the only names mentioned, certainly more will follow. TheJedi says they'll start the formal process tomorrow morning asking for permissions and so forth. Girardi is technically under contract until November 1st with the Yankees, so they'll certainly get first crack to retain him. The press release says they plan to have a manager in place by the GM meetings in early November, if not sooner, and will be stressing the development of young talent in any hire.

- Dale Sveum's ass must be pretty chapped from the hot seat he's been sitting in over the last week. Although he hasn't been fired yet, rumors earlier in the week had the Cubs targeting Joe Girardi and now another catcher is in the fold. Peter Gammons is saying that Brad Ausmus would be a person of interest if the Cubs do indeed decide to go another direction. Ausmus hasn't been given a major league managing job yet, but he did manage Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualification round and was a candidate for the Boston Red Sox job last offseason before the Red Sox traded for John Farrell. Also, if he would lead the Cubs to the promised land, he could help turn this leaflet into possibly a pamphlet.

- Baseball America has been putting out their top 20 prospects for each minor league. The Cubs didn't land anyone on the top Arizona League prospect list, but 6 made the Northwest League including Kris Bryant at #1. The other 5 are Paul Blackburn(#7), Yasiel Balaguert (#9), Dillon Maples (#10), Shawon Dunston Jr. (#12) and Kevin Encarnacion (#17). You can see how the Cubs have fared in the past over at Wiklifield.

The Cubs have been playing out the string since about May...maybe June, but they can 'eff with the Pirates and Cardinals playoff jockeying this week. More importantly though, they're trying to at the very least maintain the 4th pick in the draft. The Astros clinched the #1 spot for the third year running yesterday and Miami and the White Sox should wrap up the #2 spot here by mid-week with a 4.5 game lead over the White Sox, who are 3.5 ahead of the Cubs. The Cubs could very well drop to the 5th spot in the draft as they own just a half game lead over the Twins, although the Cubs do own the tiebreaker against both the Twins and White Sox. Mathematically they could drop farther than the 5th spot, but that seems unlikely at this point (full draft pick standings in the left sidebar).

Remaining schedules for the candidates after the break...

The most exciting thing around the Cubsverse right now is the minor leagues competing in the playoffs. Meaningless as a victory may be to the big league club down the line, it's fun to follow and have a rooting interest in something, other than the Cubs losing for a better draft pick slot.

And the winners are...

SS Javier Baez, RF Jorge Soler, 3B Kris Bryant, RHP Matt Loosen, RHP Dallas Beeler, RHP Armando Rivera, RHP Arodyz Vizcaino and OF Albert Almora will be a member of the taxi squad.

Arizona Phil is going to have all kinds of fun.

You can peruse past AFL rosters over at Wiklifield.

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