Having successfully lured manager Joe Maddon to Chicago with a five-year, $25 million contract now it’s time for Cubs president Theo Epstein to get a new deal.
Epstein has two years remaining on his current contract, but Maddon and president of business operations Crane Kenney are both signed through 2019. So is it time for Epstein to get a similar extension from owner Tom Ricketts?
Here’s what he told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:
Tom mentioned earlier this year that he definitely would like to extend my contract. I really appreciate that, and that’s something I would like to have happen, too. But we’ve just been too busy. The organization comes first. We’ve had a lot on our plate and [the Maddon deal] was a more pressing matter.
At some point in the future, I’m sure we’ll sit down and try to hammer that out. This is where I want to be. I’m fully invested in what we have going on here. I love the people I work with, and I wouldn’t trade our future for anybody’s out there. That’s how strongly I believe in it.
Epstein now has at his disposal arguably baseball’s best farm system, a nearly clean slate in terms of long-term payroll commitments, and one of the best managers in baseball. He’s not going anywhere.
Free agent ace Max Scherzer will soon get a massive long-term contract on the open market, but even if the Tigers don’t re-sign the former Cy Young winner the price tag for their 2015 rotation could approach $80 million.
Justin Verlander will make $28 million, Anibal Sanchez will make $16.8 million, and MLB Trade Rumors’ arbitration projections peg David Price at $18.9 million and Rick Porcello at $12.2 million.
That adds up to $75.9 million and still leaves one rotation spot unaccounted for.
Just to put an $80 million rotation in some context, consider that all of the other four AL Central teams (Royals, White Sox, Twins, Indians) had an overall payroll of $90 million or lower this season.
Tim Bogar was passed over for the Rangers’ managerial opening in favor of Jeff Banister despite leading the team to a 14-8 record down the stretch as interim manager and now he’s joining another organization.
Bogar, who served as bench coach under Ron Washington and has filled a variety of coaching roles in the majors for several different teams, will be a special assistant to Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto.
New gig aside, it’s possible that Bogar may yet emerge as a candidate to be the Rays’ manager.
This time last year Welington Castillo was viewed as a potential long-term building block for the Cubs, but he struggled this season and now Chicago is apparently looking to make an upgrade at catcher.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Cubs “are going to target” free agent Russell Martin, who’s expected to turn down a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Pirates.
Martin figures to have plenty of suitors after hitting .290 with a .402 on-base percentage and .832 OPS in 111 games for the Pirates, but unlike most interested teams the Cubs wouldn’t have to forfeit a first-round draft pick because theirs is protected. They’d lose a second-rounder instead.
Being the pitching coach for the Rockies is basically impossible job, but the latest to take on the challenge is Steve Foster.
Colorado hired Foster away from Kansas City, where he’s been a special assistant and pitching coordinator for the past three seasons and previously served as bullpen coach.
He replaces Jim Wright, who was fired last month after the Rockies’ pitching staff allowed the most runs in baseball.
Prior to going to into coaching Foster was a reliever for the Reds from 1991-1993, throwing 90 innings with a 2.41 ERA.