By Brian Hanley-
(CBS) Good to see Chicago’s Theogood hasn’t been lost on Jason McLeod.
“I don’t want to speak to the virtues of ‘Theo mania’ here, but it’s well-deserved,” said McLeod, the Cubs new senior vice-president of scouting and player development, who worked under Epstein in Boston and San Diego. “There is no other reason I would’ve left the San Diego Padres other than to work with (Theo Epstein) again.”
McLeod was introduced Tuesday along with Jed Hoyer, the team’s new general manager.
Yet, it was Epstein who commanded the floor when questions came the trio’s way as to imminent moves to be made.
Bye-bye, Mike Quade.
“Jed and I met in person with Mike for 6-7 hours last week,” Epstein said when a Quade question was tossed to the trio. “It was a good meeting, a productive meeting, a thorough meeting. Mike is clearly a good baseball guy. We have a lot to process. We’re going to speak again shortly and we hope to have a resolution on this matter, certainly within a week. We understand it’s important for all involved to make a determination and move forward.”
So long, A-Ram.
Epstein said of Aramis Ramirez – the enigmatic third baseman who declined his end of the $16 million mutual option for next year: “Likely he’ll be moving on and we’ll be looking for a new solution at third.”
Epstein noted that Ramirez will be the top free-agent third baseman on the market and the expectation is that he will receive a large contract offer. And perhaps the chance to turn down another All-Star invite as he shamelessly did last season.
As for Carlos Zambrano, Epstein’s spin seemed more about trying to retain some small trade value by not completely closing the door on petulant pitcher who “retired” from the Cubs after being tossed from a game in Atlanta late last season. The Cubs know that an arbitrator ruling in the team’s favor and releasing the Cubs from the final $18 million owed Zambrano next season is as remote as Quade coming back as manager.
Epstein said he had “enlightening” conversations with Barry Praver, the agent for Zambrano.
“I’ve sat down with a number of the guys who have been in here working alongside Carlos during his Cubs career and that was also enlightening,” Epstein said. “I think 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 ultimately what is most important.”
Also enlightening Tuesday, this will always be team Theo, no matter the fancy titles McLeod and Hoyer have.
“He empowers people,” the earnest Hoyer said of his boss/buddy Epstein. “I look forward to creating something special for these fans. I can’t tell you how proud I am to sit here in front of that Cubs logo. … I will work tirelessly with this great staff to try to bring something special to Chicago.”
Brian Hanley is the co-host of The Mully & Hanley Show, heard weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. on 670 The Score and 670TheScore.com.