Cubs

Cubs' Ricketts on Theo Epstein extension: 'Nothing to report'

rickettstheocubs022416.png

Cubs' Ricketts on Theo Epstein extension: 'Nothing to report'

MESA, Ariz. - The baseball world is going to have to wait a little longer to see what kind of contract Theo Epstein will get next.

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said there is "nothing to report" with regard to a possible Epstein contract extension, as the Cubs president of baseball operations is only signed through this season.

Ricketts and Epstein had dinner Tuesday night, but still have to "hammer out" the details, a phrase both Epstein and Ricketts have been using for more than a month. 

Ricketts did specify he and Epstein are on the same page and said he wasn't stressed about getting a deal done.

"I don't know how other owners and their heads of baseball get along, but I can't imagine a better relationship than what Theo and I have," Ricketts said. "It's not a very high-stress conversation. It's a matter of just thinking it through and getting it done soon."

In just four seasons, Epstein has led the charge turning around the Cubs franchise.

The Cubs have turned over almost the entire roster in Epstein's time, with Javier Baez as the only player acquired under former GM Jim Hendry who figures to play a prominent role for the big-league club this season.

Ricketts said Epstein has delivered on everything he promised when he first came over from the Boston Red Sox in November 2011 - building from the bottom up with a strong farm system and developing talent before going out and acquiring top players on the free agent market - like Jon Lester, Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist over the last two seasons.

[MORE: Tom Ricketts responds to Donald Trump's tweet]

The Cubs enter 2016 as the World Series favorites, from oddsmakers and bettors to baseball experts and those around the game.

So does that mean Epstein deserves the most money as any president of baseball operations in the game?

"Any time you're the highest-paid anything in baseball, it's always a short-term position," Ricketts said. "It seems like someone's always gonna come in with more money. Obviously, there's been guys that have come in the last few years that make more money than Theo does.

"I think he's the best at what he does in the game. I think from a conversation standpoint, it should be reflected.

"But once again, I think we're generally on the same page. We've spent a lot of time together. We just haven't spent a lot of time focusing on the contract."

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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.

Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

mark_prior.jpg
USA TODAY

Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

Mark Prior's big-league playing career unfortunately fizzled out due to recurring injury woes, but he's making a name for himself in the coaching realm.

With Dodgers current pitching coach Rick Honeycutt transitioning into a new role, Prior is expected to takeover the position starting next season.

Cubs fans know the story of Prior's playing career all too well. The Cubs drafted him second overall in the 2001, with Prior making his MLB debut just a season later. He went on to dominate in 2003, posting an 18-6 record, 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 30 starts, a season in which he made the All-Star Game and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

However, Prior's season ended on a sour note, as he was on the mound during the Steve Bartman incident in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Prior exited the game with a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs surrendered seven more runs that inning, eventually falling to the Marlins 8-3 before losing Game 7 the next day. 

Prior struggled to stay healthy after 2003, eventually retiring in 2013 after multiple comeback attempts. While many blame his injury-riddled career on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Prior does not. 

While we can only wonder what could've been with Prior to the pitcher, it's good to see him still making an impact in baseball in some fashion.

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.