Thanks again for taking the time. A few questions if you don't mind.
Other than the big three of Piniella, Girardi, and Brenly, who else do you anticipate getting interviewed or will the scope of the search be limited to those three?
Moot point now. Too bad I didn't answer awhile back and say it was Piniella all along.
Does Jim know Larry Dierker exists?
The Cubs never considered Larry, and he's not interested in managing. As I said before, he's got a pretty good gig now in Houston.
Who do you anticipate being the Cubs primary free agent target?
Alfonso Soriano, as of now.
Is there any interest in the front office in trading for Andruw Jones? Would the Braves be inclinded to trade him and at what price?
I'm not sure what the Braves are thinking, but the Cubs would have interest.
It seems to me that the entire Cubs organization is in a state of flux. Do you think McDonough is a "care taker" President? What effect if any, do think this will have on the short and long term status of the Cubs?
I believe McDonough is long term as long as the Trib owns the team. That's a whole different question. McDonough is a very bright guy, and I think he'll do well.
It seems to me like the Cubs are adrift with no real direction.
Losing will make it look that way.
Thanks for contributing to our community.
NCCubbieFan wrote:Do you think the Tribune will sell the Cubs? If so, do you have a feel for who might be a potential buyer? And finally, if the Cubs are for sale, do you think this will limit their ability to spend money during the offseason?
I believe they'd like to keep the team if their finances permit it. If put up for sale, they'd draw buyers. They'll spend the money this fall and winter.
Thanks again for your valuable contributions to NSBB.
Serena wrote:Thanks for taking our questions, Bruce! Barry Rozner has suggested that the Cubs 2007 payroll could be in the $115M range, and Bruce Levine has also said he expects the payroll to be raised significantly. Does that match what you've heard? Do you think that's likely? Thanks!
I think $110 million to $115 million is realistic.
CaliforniaRaisin wrote:Thanks for taking your time to answer our questions (and post on the board and have impromptu chats too!).
Are there any players Hendry is likely to hone in on this offseason, be it via trade or free agency?
Soriano, Zito, Schmidt, among others. He'll look at those guys. A lot will depend on what happens with Pierre.
With the way Alex Rodriguez has fallen out of favor in New York, is he on Jim Hendry's radar?
If the Yankees seek to trade him and A-Rod waives his no-trade, yes, Hendry would pursue.
Bruce, I've read your intereview at BCB in which you mentioned the Cubs were beginning to pay more attention to sabermetrics and couldn't ignore this year's horrendous stats (runs scored, OBP, SLG). You felt it would be a gradual process to blend the statistical side with the Cubs' scouting. Could you expand on that process and how you think the Cubs plan on becoming more sabermetrically-inclined
They're well aware that their the laughingstock of baseball as far as their views on OBP and walks are concerned. National columnists in the mainstream media have picked up on it. Improving OBP will be one of the topics at the organizational meetings next month. It should be a no-brainer, based on what happened this year. Few organizations change philosophies overnight, so that's what I meant by this being a gradual process. Piniella's presence will help.
Thanks for taking time to answer our questions at NSBB.
What has been your impression of the development of Ronny Cedeno and Angel Guzman in 2006? They seem to have played below their natural talent. I get the sense, however, that young Venezulean players can be very emotional, which might have impacted their performance. Do you think Carlos Zambrano can help one or both mature / blossom into major league starters in 2007?
Cedeno experienced some awful growing pains. He probably needs to mature a little more. He failed to adjust to pitchers when they adjusted to them. Guzman was coming off a series of injuries and clearly wasn't ready. Zambrano has matured greatly, and I'm sure he can help these guys.
Larry Horse wrote:Bruce,
Who would you like to see the Cubs hire as manager?
I was intrigued by Bochy.
Is Hendry finally starting to see the light as far as OBP goes?
Yes, to a degree.
Joe Girardi... are you in favor or against him being the next Cubs manager?
I was ambivalent. It was hard for me to get a good read on Joe.
What's your favorite kind of beer? Rolling Rock?
Do you think Pie is ready? What solution would you like to see for CF for the next several years? What solution do you see the Cubs doing?
Pie doesn't appear ready. I'd sign Soriano and put him in CF. Failing that, I'd look to trade for Carl Crawford or Vernon Wells. The Cubs like all these guys.
Also, should (and will) the Cubs re-sign Kerry Wood?
I believe so.
Have you ever written a terribly scathing article about the Cubs and pulled it back because you determined it too critical?
It's always good to take a second look at something after you've "cooled off." I've edited stuff out, but I've never pulled an entire piece because I thought it was too critical.
Are most sportswriters really as dumb as they sound writing?
I'll pretend you didn't ask that.
first off i'd like to thank you for the time you spend on the forums, your insight and comments make this place a much more informitive and enjoyable board.
my question(although we may have an answer by the time you get a chance to answer these questions) is, what do you think the chances of Bruce Bochy being hired as the next manager of the Cubs are? also, do you think that waiting for Bochy is the reason that JH is moving slowly on hiring a manager?
I don't know why the Padres made or are making him available. If Piniella hadn't come here, Hendry would have attempted to hire Bochy.
Thank you for being a part of our online community!
What insights can you give us on the Ramirez contract situation? Has Hendry or anyone in the organization indicating anything other than a commitment to making sure he's a Cub in 2007?
The negotiations are ongoing. Hendry expects to hear back from Kinzer later in the week. I think Ramirez will return, but this may take a couple more weeks.
jacey wrote:Any chance the Cubs go after ARod? He is still young and looks like he'll continue to produce pretty darn good numbers. Do we have any talent outside of Pie that the Yanks would take in return?
If he's available, yes.
sandberg23 wrote:Bruce - Thanks for taking time for this!
How difficult is it to watch this team and then write about them when they are so terrible?
People think the media love negativity. That's not necessarily true. For a beat writer, it's much more fun to cover a winning team. The 1998, 2001 and 2003 teams were great to cover. The losing wears on you, especially when it looks like you're watching the same game day after day.
What moves do you foresee for the Cubs this winter?
A solid bat in the middle of the lineup and two starting pitchers. That's a start.
Thanks again for all your contributions.
goony's evil twin wrote:A hallmark of the Andy MacPhail era, at least the past several years, has been to spread around the money as much as possible, getting a bunch of $1-5 million players who are mediocre, but might provide a little stability. Do the Cubs appear to be willing to continue this low risk low reward spread it around philosophy. Or are they willing to take some risks by acquiring actual impact players? Would they be willing to spend $10m on a stud and make up with spending $350,000 for a couple kids to fill roles on the bench, instead of $2-3m veterans who provide nothing more than a typical AAAA player?
This would be the ideal thing to do, and the Cubs can do it with the likes of Murton and Theriot on the roster. I think they'll attempt to acquire two to three high-salary guys.
Similarly, are the Cubs aware of the fact that statistically, the peak years for players is in the 26-28 year old range? Usually a guy will have a return to that peak level once or twice in the 29-33 year range, but typically speaking position players decline starting at 30.
I'm not sure what their philosophy is when the question is worded this way. Moises Alou has done reasonably well past his prime, as did Sammy for a time. I fear a guy like Juan Pierre might have peaked already.
TheDude wrote:Bruce, do you believe (or better yet have knowledge) that the Cubs are interested in joining the bid on the posting process for Japanese pitcher Matsuzaka?
They are seriously considering posting.
Are the Cubs going to seriously entertain a bidding war with the Yankees for major pitching talent, like Schmidt or Zito?
They'll get into a bidding war to a point. They'll have to determine how Zito may pitch going from a big part with huge foul territory to Wrigley Field.
Mark Prior's Calves wrote:Looking back on the 2006 season, how would you rate the clubhouse chemistry of the team? Do you think it played a role on the outcome of the season? Are you of the stance winning breeds good chemistry or good chemisty breeds winning?
Winning breeds chemistry. This team was bad because it had too many bad players. To me, they looked like a first-year expansion team in many games. I do believe in the human element and that a good workplace can maybe lift a guy when he's not feeling well, but talent trumps almost anything.
I'm curious as to your take on the influence of Baker (or any Cubs skipper) on the personnel decisions of Jim Hendry. Is there a bigger influence with in season call-ups than there is during offseason acquisitions? Do you have a thought on the percentage of the personnel decision that the manger infuses into the proceedings?
Baker had little influence over in-season call-ups. Field managers rely on the reports they get from the minor-league staff. Baker didn't have a lot of influence over Hendry on player acquisition.
Thanks for taking time to answer our questions; I have a couple, if you dont mind.
I am planning to pursue Sports Writing as a career after I graduate High School this year and I have a couple of questions about that. What kind of degree is the 'norm' when it comes to a position like yours? What kind of college is normally required? 2 year, 4 year, More? What would you say is the average salary (Not your salary, I'm sure you're paid millions for your brilliant work ) for a position like yours?
Get a degree in journalism, communication, English or liberal arts. A four year degree is necessary, but you don't necessarily have to go beyond that and get a master's. Salaries are all over the place and are based on market size, how many papers are in that market, experience of the writer and so forth. Usually, you'll have to start out covering prep sports and work your way up.
Also, a personal request, if you get a chance anytime in the near future; please take a peek at the PM I sent you a few weeks ago. If you dont have time, however, I fully understand.
Thanks for your time!
Backtobanks wrote:Do you have any inside information on the behind the scenes issues that Phil Nevin hinted at?
No. I'm just glad he's gone.
RichHillIsABeast wrote:Sr. Miles,
Are you a Bears fan?
Yes. As I said before, I'm old enough to have seen them play at Wrigley Field.
What's your favorite ballpark snack?
An all-beef hot dog with mustard and onions (no ketchup)
Any word on whether or not Jones will have surgery to fix his shoulder?
They're trying to work through it with rehab, but they'll need to decide soon so he isn't set back in spring.
What do the Cubs think about Barrett's defense?
Like everybody else, they want him to improve, but their feeling is that he's made strides.
CuseCubFan69 wrote:Has Hendry learned anything about his past mistakes and can succeed in building a winner in Chicago or is he going to continue along the same path he has? I'm just worried that bad luck, injuries and clutch hitting are his reasons why the Cubs lost and not the fact that he hasn't built a very good team or picked a decent manager.
This winter will tell a lot. If they can start to change their philosophies on how they procure players, even beginning with small changes, you'll see improvement. Otherwise, any success they have will be hit and miss.