Cubs

Cubs reportedly sign Dontrelle Willis to minor-league deal

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Cubs reportedly sign Dontrelle Willis to minor-league deal

According to a report, the Cubs continued to add to their pitching staff Friday night:

cubs sign dontrelle willis to minor-league deal Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 5, 2013
officially, d-train has an invite to cubs minor-league camp. but if he is throwing well, he may get chances in big camp Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 5, 2013
To say Willis has had an eventful career is a bit of an understatement. He turns 31 next week and has already pitched nine seasons in the majors.

The Cubs drafted the lanky lefty in the eighth round of the 2000 Draft before sending him to the Marlins in the deal that brought Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca to Chicago.

Willis burst onto the scene as a 21-year-old in 2003, winning 14 games and taking home the NL Rookie of the Year Award. He finished second in Cy Young voting in '05, when he won 22 games and finished with a 2.63 ERA.

In December 2007, he was packaged with Miguel Cabrera in a deal that sent both players to Detroit. Willis' first season there was a complete disaster as he appeared in eight games (seven starts) and walked 35 batters in 24 innings with a 9.38 ERA.

He hasn't been able to stick in the majors since and bounced around a bevy of teams before signing on with the Baltimore Orioles last year. But that didn't work out, either, and he voluntarily retired from the team in early July.

Cubs Talk Podcast: An ode to Joe Maddon and looking to the next era

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USA Today

Cubs Talk Podcast: An ode to Joe Maddon and looking to the next era

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Tony Andracki, Kelly Crull, Scott Changnon and Jeff Nelson give us their memories of Joe Maddon's time with the Cubs and discuss David Ross and Joe Espada's candidacy to be the next manager.

01:30 Kelly's memories of Joe from the perspective of a reporter

06:00 Going back to Hazleton with Joe

07:45 Joe's legacy as manager of the Cubs

16:00 How Joe impacted Javy Baez' career

18:00 David Ross and Joe Espada may be the leaders to replace Joe Maddon.

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

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Cubs reportedly ‘exceptionally impressed’ by Joe Espada in managerial search

Cubs reportedly ‘exceptionally impressed’ by Joe Espada in managerial search

As the Cubs peruse over their list of managerial candidates, one name reportedly made a strong impression following his interview with the team.

According to NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan, Astros bench coach Joe Espada left the Cubs front office “exceptionally impressed” following his interview on Monday.

Espada, 44, has spent the last two seasons as Astros bench coach following three seasons as Yankees third base coach. He is one of MLB’s more sought after managerial candidates this winter and one of three known external candidates for the Cubs’ opening, along with Joe Girardi and Gabe Kapler.

Former Cubs catcher and current front office assistant David Ross has been the presumed front runner for the Cubs' opening. But based on Kaplan’s report, Espada clearly has given Epstein and Co. something to think about, which makes sense, considering Espada is coming from an innovative Astros organization.

Epstein said at his end-of-season press conference that there’s no timeline for the Cubs’ managerial search. However, MLB prefers teams to not make big announcements during the World Series, which kicks off on Oct. 22. Thus, the Cubs may not make an announcement for little while longer, though this is purely speculation.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.