11/15/11 9:30 PM EST
Cubs exploring option of bringing back Wood
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Wood has said he'll retire if he doesn't pitch for the Cubs, and the team may try to get him on the 2012 roster. General manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday that president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has talked to Wood, and Hoyer has talked to the pitcher's agent, Pat Rooney.
"We're going to explore bringing him back," Hoyer said.
Wood, 34, gave the Cubs a hometown discount to return this past season, signing for $1.5 million. He appeared in 55 games and compiled a 3.35 ERA before being shut down with a torn meniscus in his left knee. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee last month and is expected to be fully recovered by Spring Training.
"My biggest view is he's a guy -- and I don't know if toughness is the right word -- but he doesn't shy away from big moments and big games," Hoyer said. "I think that's something that's important. Chicago is a big stage, and he's proven he can do it. I think it's a mistake to take that for granted.
"Not every guy who comes in from outside can handle a major market, and I think he thrives on it. I think it is meaningful the sentiments he expressed toward the city last year when he came back. That was a very meaningful gesture.
"This is where he wants to be, and he proved that last year."
Cubs will meet with Sveum on Wednesday
MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs will meet Wednesday with Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum about their vacant managerial position. Sveum was already scheduled to travel here to meet with the Red Sox about a their manager job.
Chicago general manager Jed Hoyer said there is no favorite among the candidates and no deadline to select one. Hoyer and Theo Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations, have done followups with the six interviewed candidates so far. The list includes Sveum, Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., and former Boston manager Terry Francona.
Maddux declined to meet with the Red Sox about their opening because of family concerns. He has finally settled in the Dallas area, where his two daughters are in college. Asked if family was still an issue, Hoyer said the club has had additional discussions with Maddux.
"It's still something he's weighing," Hoyer said. "Those considerations haven't gone away. I'm not going to comment on where he is on that. It's a big factor. I think it's a factor for everyone. In his case, I think it weighs more heavily."
If both the Cubs and Red Sox pick Sveum, it will be up to him to chose which team he wants.
"I'm not sure that the right person is the same person for both jobs," Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said Tuesday. "But, you know, we don't have the field to ourselves, so that is a factor, and it affects timing more than anything. I do think that the jobs are different and the same person is not necessarily the right fit for both jobs."
It's not just a matter of picking American League over National League or Fenway Park over Wrigley Field. The two teams finished with nearly reverse records as the Red Sox finished 90-72 and in third in the AL East, while the Cubs were 71-91 and fifth in the NL Central. The Cubs have more retooling to do.
"Right now, we're just focused on getting all the answers and answering the questions we need to have answered," Hoyer said of the managerial search. "We're not focusing on the Red Sox and what they're doing. We're trying to make sure we make the right decision for the Cubs."
As for the coaches, Hoyer said whoever is named manager will make a decision regarding his staff.
Just because Hoyer and Epstein will meet face to face with Sveum again does not give him an edge.
"It's not fair at this point to categorize anyone as a favorite," Hoyer said.
Epstein engaged in talks over compensation
MILWAUKEE -- Theo Epstein and Boston general manager Ben Cherington have had several conversations regarding compensation to the Red Sox. Epstein left Boston with one year remaining on his contract, and the Cubs and Red Sox have been trying to settle on compensation. Commissioner Bud Selig may need to arbitrate.
White Sox GM Kenny Williams thought the concept of trading for oneself to be challenging.
"This is a testimony I think to Theo and his skill level," Williams said. "It's one thing to trade a manager. But to trade yourself? And then to work out the compensation for yourself? That's one [heck] of a trick. I'm impressed. I don't know how that conversation goes. I'd have to ask Ben, but, 'There's no way I'm going to give you that for me. I'm not worth that.'"
Williams joked that some White Sox fans would love to give him away and wouldn't require compensation.
The Cubs and Padres also have to determine compensation for Hoyer.
"It won't potentially involve the commissioner," Hoyer said, smiling.
Hoyer and Epstein will meet shortstop Starlin Castro this weekend for the first time.
"When we played against the Cubs this year, he's a very dangerous at-bat, and you're thinking, 'Wow, this guy is 21 years old,'" Hoyer said. "He's got work to be done on parts of his game but this guy is a special talent. Hopefully, he can work to become an elite talent."
A decision has not been made on whether Andrew Cashner will be a starter or reliever.
"I think he's a rare guy who could do both," Hoyer said.
Epstein and Hoyer are meeting with agents and talking to teams about trades.
"We're still very much in the information-gathering mode on all of that stuff," Hoyer said. "We're not really in a position to rule out much at this point. We're going to listen on a lot of things and think about a lot of things. I'd be misleading if I started to dice up the free-agent pool too much."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.