Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod Press Conference

I believe the press conference is scheduled for 3pm CST, maybe EST...so soon. You can allegedly watch a live stream at CSN Chicago.

In the meantime, read up on the new scouting director with this very well done Q&A.

The rumor mill is rather quiet at the moment, last bit of "news" was that Theo and Jed (sounds like a sitcom title) met with Q-Ball for 7 hours last week and have a second meeting this week. I want to imagine the 7 hours was spent getting as much information about the ballclub out of him before they canned him.

On the manager front, Peter Abraham reports that the Cubs and Red Sox could both be interested in former Brewer player and their current hitting coach, Dale Sveum.

After the jump, I'm trying to embed the live stream...see if it works.

If anything interesting is said in the presser, throw it in the comments.

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Theo said a final decision on Quade will come "hopefully within a week". Theo said he talked to Cue-Ball on the phone early last week and then met with him in person along with Hoyer for 5-6 hours a few days ago. Kaplan in the post-interview chit chat with Hollandsworth said he thinks Theo's body language hinted that Q is gone. Hollandsworth agrees.

I still wouldn't be surprised if they keep him so they have a fall guy in July or September of next year...2012 looks like it will be a year of "find out what we have and what we need."

I think Q is gone. Z might have a better chance of staying, unless Ricketts really wants Z gone.

They've already got a fall guy, Jim Hendry, and Theo is supposed to be a pretty smart guy, and keeping a manager to have a "fall guy" would be a pretty dumb way to run a baseball team.

Asked about ARam's future with the Cubs, Theo talked in past tense several times, "he had a great career as a Cub...we wish him well in the future...I wouldn't rule anything out...but as the top third baseman in free agency, I would think another team will make a nice offer...reading the tea leaves I think he will be moving on and we'll be looking at another solution at third."

Asked about Z, Theo said, "I have had conversations with Barry Praver, Carlos' representative and those were enlightening," Epstein said. "I've sat down with a number of the guys who have been here working alongside Carlos during his Cubs career and that was also enlightening. I think now it's just a matter of processing the information, putting it together, following up with Carlos and seeing what's best for the Cubs. That's ultimately what is most important."

Jason McLeod was asked who will run the draft next year and who will have final say on who is picked, he said that hasn't been determined yet and that like in Boston, everyone will get together and discuss who they feel is the choice, then decide.

Also, both McLeod and Theo said that Tim Wilken was in town. Which I take it as, he doesn't work at Wrigley Field everyday?

Rob, Thanks much for setting this up---and all the rest of the work you do to keep the blog interesting.

thanks for the kind words, shame they did it during my lunch. I missed it.

thanks for the updates paul noce...

Thanks for that link to the McLeod interview, a few interesting things there. One is that he is the great grand-nephew of Carl Hubbell. Another is that he only reluctantly left SD, his hometown. He said he agreed to leave because the Padres wouldn't match the Cubs offer of 5 years to Hoyer (and I presume McLeod also got a 5 year deal).

Asked about the compensation to Boston, Theo said it hasn't been concluded and if they can't get it done by the end of the day MLB will take over and it will take a while while MLB does their research and decides compensation.

fwiw, Mooney over at CSN said they will likely grant an extension...in the right sidebar twitter box.

is the hold up how much chicken or how much beer to send over?

http://www.amazon.com/When-Theo-Met-Tom-ebook...

When Theo Met Tom: A Cubs Story

The firing of Jim Hendry, the meltdown in Beantown and every other detail you might have missed surrounding the hiring of the world-reknown curse-breaker Theo Epstein. Time will tell if the Cubs will find World Series success in the wake of the Epstein hiring, but this book will tell you how Cubs owner Tom Ricketts made a plan and lured Theo to the North Side.

hoyer says its hard for cubs to have good pitching when team ranks last in defense

be interesting to see how they address that, not a lot of great defensive players out there in FA either.

lol. Completely overhaul the team? I'm trying to think of a starter who is a plus defender at his position. Seems like Byrd, Colvin, and Soto round out the starters who are currently average defenders. Pena was somewhere between average and above average, so I guess if he's back there is one. Soriano is a mess (I don't care what the metrics say), Starlin has his obvious faults, Darwin actually isn't that great, LaHair would probably be merely passable in either LF or 1B, and I'm not thrilled with any of the defenders at 3B (except maybe LeMahieu, who would have to make great strides offensively to be in contention for a job this year).

that sucks...i was getting used to having s.castro on the team. =p

“Injuries can never be an excuse for a bad season,” Hoyer said. “You have to make sure that you have depth to avoid the inevitable and survive.”

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

It's not like the team that won the world series lost their best pitcher in spring training or anything.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

“It’s probably fair to say that I’m giving up some autonomy,” Hoyer said. “But the big part of the reason I could make that decision is that I’ve worked with Theo so long. I know the kind of responsibility I’ll have. I know how much he trusts me, so what I have entered in this arrangement with someone else? No. But with our relationship and our past together, I’m incredibly confident in the responsibility that I’ll have.”

~snip~

Hoyer put the media on warning that information about the team’s offseason plan will not be forthcoming.

“We don’t like leaks of information,” Hoyer said emphatically.

Boring. Anyway, most of the leaks come from the agents.

As opposed to Hendry of whom everyone in the worlds seemed to know what he was doing. Granted, his plans were written in nacho cheese and quickly consumed.

I don't really know what that means.

It depends on the money and length of deals they want, but I wouldn't mind seeing us go after Jason Kubel and Edwin Jackson in free agency. I haven't seen enough of Kubel's defense to know how good/bad he is though.

kubel has nothing-special D, but not bad...good enough arm to play RF for years.

i wouldn't mind seeing him in RF, but he's more of a "solid lineup filler" type rather than a difference-maker. with a good enough 1st or 3rd he'd be solid support.

via gordo witty's twitter feed (7 hours ago)

cst_cubs cst_cubs
Theo on Z: talked with agent. "Enlightening conversation"

Gold Glove winners
Molina, Votto, Phillips, Tulo, Polanco, Parra, Kemp, Ethier, Kershaw

Wieters, Gonzalez, Pedroia, Aybar, Beltre, Gordon, Ellsbury, Markakis, Buehrle

I have no defensive metrics at hand to prove this, but based on visual evidence, Asdrubal Cabrera got robbed.

The defensive metrics seem to agree he's pretty bad. He did make one nice play, though.

Way more than one, but thanks as always for your insight. As I said, the evidence was anecdotal.

Yeah, I was talking about the triple play.

About 20 runs below average by UZR last two years, and TZL doesn't like him much either. The Fan Scouting report likes him a little, so your observations aren't alone.

Down near the bottom are various "saber" oriented ratings of defense.
http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid...

I wonder if they would consider moving him to third to make room for a solid defensive shortstop.

I'm wishing the Cubs would start shopping Barney as if he were a 2nd division starting shortstop (which he might be).

MLB gets McCourt to agree to sell Dodgers
Randy Bush stays on as assistant GM
deadline for compensation for Theo moved to end of next week
Epstein "reached out" to Maddux hoping to keep him on

woo...about time the mccourt(s) exited mlb ownership...it's been ugly since they bought the team and left roopurt with a sweet revenue ripping TV deal as part of the purchase, imo.

Hoyer told "Chicago Tribune Live" he doesn't envision Carlos Marmol losing his closer's role, despite a league-leading 10 blown saves. Hoyer pointed to Marmol's dominance in 2010 and said the Cubs have to find a way to "fix" his slider.

~snip~


"It does take time," he said. "We do have to turn around our farm system to where we're churning out players every year. There is some patience with regard for that. (But) even with a smaller payroll (such as in San Diego), every single year you want to do everything you can in the offseason to put a good product on the field at the major league level. In no year are we going to ask for patience.

"(But) where we want to be eventually — a homegrown team that people will recognize year after year — that will take patience."

~snip~

"I've worked with him a long time," [Hoyer] said of Epstein. "He's as down-to-earth a guy as you'll find. But I will say when he turns it on, it's pretty clear he has a gear the rest of us don't have."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

neat story about drafting Clay Bucholz and missing out on some players by McLeod

some of you believers in the current farm system might want to look away

"Looking at it from the outside, it looked like a kind of middle-of-the road system that lacked the impact stars," he said. "It has some depth, but I'm going to spend a week with Oneri and Tim and really talk through thoughts and views and what we need to do to make it better."

Are there any "believers" here that rate the farm system as anything more than middle of the road (which I'm assuming means roughly the same thing as middle of the pack)? It's possible I've been misunderstanding others' comments on the system. . .

There is probably at least one frequent commenter who would rate the Cubs farm system as better than "middle of the road/pack."

There may be one or two commentors that are convinced the system is laced with #2 and #3 starters and regular players, but I think the consensus is that it's somewhere around 20th in MLB. Of course, pre-Garza and Gonzales trades, it was probably better than the Padres system, and arguably the Sox as well.

All teams are going to tend to overrate their own systems, because they're filled with guys that, at some point at least, they liked to be MLB players.

there seems to be some disagreement that depth and just producing major league talent - regardless whether it's good or bad major league talent - is a sign that the system is doing what it needs to be doing.

while there are some, and I happen to be one, that believes if they're not producing impact talent, the roster filler can be found on the cheap like Reed Johnson.

It did produce Castro recently, that's neat...be nice if Soto was more consistent. One or two more above average position players would be great, and some starting pitching.

just some bad timing where they need to replace expiring contracts and aging veterans but no one worth replacing them with in the system at the moment except maybe Brett Jackson.

I obviously think the Wilken drafts have been better than middle of the road, but it's too soon to judge, and it will be for several more years. It will be two years or more before we know for sure about Josh Vitters, and he was in Wilken's second draft in 2007.

McLeod's first draft as scouting director was 2005, and he grabbed Ellsbury in the first round and Buchholz in the supplementary. That was a good draft, obviously. In 2005, Wilken was scouting director for Tampa. He picked pitcher Wade Townsend, who flopped after having Tommy John surgery the same year he was drafted. Wilken did take high-schooler Jeremy Hellickson in that draft, whose major-league numbers compare favorably to Buchholz's, I would say, and who is two years younger.

In 2006, McLeod drafted Josh Bard in the first round. I don't really recognize the names of the other players in that Red Sox draft or, for that matter, in any of McLeod's draft since, but then I don't watch AL games, and as I said, it takes time for most prospects to find their way. It's also harder, I would imagine, for a Sox prospect to get an opportunity in the majors. I am familiar with Anthony Rizzo, because for a time this season he was LaHair's leading rival for PCL MVP. Before this year, Wilken would have been reluctant to use a 5th-round pick on a first baseman, because there are only 30 1B roster spots available to players with such limited defensive scope. Prospects like Rizzo are mainly good trading chips, which is how the Sox ultimately used him. Wilken heard the complaints this year about too few corner-infield prospects and drafted Vogelbach.

I guess a Wilken fan would put up Samardzija and Cashner to answer Bard, and Brett Jackson for Ellsbury. Ellsbury is the tough one until Colvin or Jackson prove something.

McLeod was not scouting director in 2004 when they drafted Pedroia, or in 2003 when they took Papelbon. If you go back that far, you're talking about Stockstill, not Wilken.

Wilken claims he didn't want Townsend btw, someone overruled him in Tampa.

Red Sox seem to be running a team approach to drafting and McLeod, Hoyer, and Theo were 3 of the big parts of that team since the 2004 draft. David Chadd, now with the Tigers, seems to be the guy that headed the amateur scouting department at that time, but it seems every article gives McLeod credit for the pick.

Not sure why the disparity...maybe Callis or Goldstein know.

rather dismissive statement about Rizzo that I don't get..

I don't mean to be dismissive about Rizzo, he had fantastic numbers for a 21-year-old in AAA. It's just that having watched the Cubs in those years before 2006, I know that a scouting director can't make a living drafting slugging first basemen--you can name a half dozen Stockstill 1B prospects as easily as I can--and I don't blame Wilken for not trying.

Overall I'm very happy--not to say charmed--with the new brain trust even though I doubt that Wilken will still be there the day after his current contract expires. Because of the long lead time for prospects, I'll be able to enjoy the fruits of his labors for several more years after he departs.

I really liked Hoyer yesterday, because he pushed most of my buttons: more athletic, speed and power, etc. He sounded like a proud papa talking about all the home-growns on that second Series-winning team. My kind of team--and very unCub-like.

VA Phil, I think it's fair to say that among regular commenters, your evaluation of the system is often the most favorable. My question to you is, do you think the whole farm system is better than middle of the pack? (And I'm not just talking about an evaluation of Wilken and his drafts.)

I think if nothing else, it's interesting that the Theoregime believes that you need lots of brains to put together a team. No matter what I think of Wilken, and for me the jury is really still out, it did seem like the team was making its choices based on the opinions of one guy, Wilken. That's over. I think that's a good thing.

Of course McLeod has to call the Cubs' system middle-of-the-road. You move into a new job and you don't start out by dissing the work of your predecessors, especially since one, Wilkens, is still your employee.
And you don't start out by overly praising it, either, since that creates pressure on you to do better, and may deflect credit in the future if you actually do win a World Series.

Any update on whether the Cubs are still looking into Bohringer? I guess I don't understand how they keep him, Wilken, and Fleita in the fold without some serious butting of heads.

Last I heard angels were making him an offer as well.

Sullivan has an article covering the press conferences which includes some of "sources" that say Buehrle is a target.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Also on a topic some of us were debating yesterday, Hoyer is open to signing premium free agents.

When asked if the Cubs would shy away from any big ticket free agents, he replied: "No, I wouldn't say that. But we have to figure out which free agents are the best bet. … A lot of it is profiling which guys have peak years left."

Andrew Brackman apparently is a free agent.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/base...

i had a hard time explaining to people on TCR why "my favorite player" would be one of the stupidest draft pick expenditures any team could make...and he was injured pre-draft.

shoulder and elbow and a degenerative hip...give him 5 million bucks.

Rosenbloom, who I generally dislike, has a good line in his morning column:

"Epstein said he and Hoyer spent six or seven hours with Quade, and while I have no idea what could take up that much time, other than mastering Quade’s nickname decoder ring, I’ll give the new guys points for being complete."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/rosenblo...

not sure if it's old, but it's Al Yellon so it's just kind of dumb news...

from a quote I posted above...

“It’s probably fair to say that I’m giving up some autonomy,” Hoyer said. “But the big part of the reason I could make that decision is that I’ve worked with Theo so long. I know the kind of responsibility I’ll have. I know how much he trusts me, so what I have entered in this arrangement with someone else? No. But with our relationship and our past together, I’m incredibly confident in the responsibility that I’ll have.”

fancy titles and all, but I'm sure Theo gets the ultimate vote on matters, but they seem to be very collaborative. To me it's just Theo being the GM and Hoyer the assistant GM, but had to give them a bump in the pay scale to get them out of their current jobs and they got better titles.

Hoyer will probably take more of the press conferences, dealing with the manager, and day-to-day bullshit. Epstein won't have to take as many phone calls.

What's really amazing there is that Al Yellon and Rob Neyer have a discussion and Neyer comes off as the dolt.

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