Cubs

Cubs will decide if Alomars worth the risk

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Cubs will decide if Alomars worth the risk

There is the inevitable sense that Sandy Alomar Jr. will one day become a manager.

There is no denying his baseball bloodlines, or the perspective he gained by playing 20 years in the big leagues. Its more a question of when, not if.

There is one hole in Alomars resume zero managing experience that will certainly come up as he interviews with Theo Epsteins crew. The Cleveland Indians bench coach was scheduled to have dinner with Cubs executives on Thursday night, and meet with them again on Friday at Wrigley Field.

This will be the fourth audition at Clark and Addison, and you get the sense that the Cubs are willing to gamble on someone who hasnt done it before. Alomar is 45 years old, an age where he can draw upon his experiences and grow into the job.

At this level, Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum have been interim managers for 118 games combined, which in a long season might get you to the middle of August. Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux has never run an entire team before.

Beyond these four candidates, the Cubs are not believed to have scheduled any other interviews yet, though that doesnt necessarily mean that they wont talk to anyone else.

Alomar grew up in Puerto Rico and around the game. His father Sandy played 15 seasons in the big leagues before beginning a long coaching career. His younger brother Roberto, a gifted second baseman, was inducted into the Hall of Fame last summer.

Listed at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Alomar would have a physical presence in the room. He would be able to connect with the Latin players. He would also get what Maddux calls instant credibility with your players because hes competed at the highest level.

Alomar made his living as a catcher, the leadership position that has produced Mike Scioscia (Los Angeles Angels), Joe Girardi (New York Yankees) and Bruce Bochy (San Francisco Giants), three managers whove led their teams to World Series titles within the last decade.

The perception of Maddux as a candidate seems to have improved because former pitching coaches like Bud Black (San Diego Padres) and John Farrell (Toronto Blue Jays) have developed into well-regarded managers.

Alomar used to catch Black and Farrell with the Indians. They were teammates in 1990, a season in which Alomar became an All-Star, won a Gold Glove and was named Rookie of the Year.

Alomar has the unique viewpoint of someone who broke into the big leagues in 1988 and finally retired in 2007. He played with Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel.

Alomar already lives in Chicago after playing parts of five seasons on the South Side. He may have a gap in experience, but he would still offer more of a coaching background than White Sox manager Robin Ventura.

Alomar joined the Cleveland staff after spending two seasons as a catching instructor for the New York Mets. He was the Indians first-base coach the past two years before recently getting a promotion to bench coach.

Like Mackanin and Sveum, Alomar has already interviewed with the Boston Red Sox. (Maddux declined because of family reasons.) They were part of the list Epstein began compiling before he jumped to the Cubs.

Some people take different routes, Alomar told reporters on Wednesday at Fenway Park. I chose this way. I've learned a tremendous amount. I feel like I'm prepared to manage a major-league team even though I didn't manage in the minor leagues.

So Alomar has already gone through the kind of game simulations and rapid-fire questions hell face on Friday at Wrigley Field.

Here was the takeaway Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington gave the Boston media after Alomars interview: Hes going to be a major-league manager, (in) 2012 or sometime after that.

Ken Rosenthal says there's ‘not a chance’ Cubs re-sign Nicholas Castellanos

Ken Rosenthal says there's ‘not a chance’ Cubs re-sign Nicholas Castellanos

With MLB’s Winter Meetings kicking off Monday, the chances of the Cubs re-signing free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos aren’t looking great.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required), there’s “not a chance, at least for the moment,” the two sides reunite this offseason. Rosenthal cited how the Cubs are telling representatives of even low-budget free agents the organization needs to clear payroll space before entering serious negotiations.

The Cubs’ 2020 luxury tax payroll is projected to be $214 million (per Roster Resource), over MLB’s $208 million threshold. Should their payroll exceed $208 million, the Cubs will be penalized for their overages for a second straight season. Thus, the organization is looking to get under the threshold this offseason, which signing Castellanos would complicate.

Rosenthal’s report brings back memories of last offseason; the Cubs were handcuffed by a self-imposed budget due to their payroll being right around the luxury tax threshold. They were economic in their spending, adding low-cost free agents Daniel Descalso, Tony Barnette, Brad Brach, Xavier Cedeno and Kendall Graveman. Whether it be due to injury, ineffectiveness or some combination of the two, those players had minimal-to-no impacts on the 2019 Cubs.

Castellanos, on the other hand, was an integral piece of the Cubs last season after they acquired him from the Tigers at the trade deadline. The 27-year-old slashed .321/.356/.646, hitting 16 home runs and 21 doubles in 51 games. That performance improved Castellanos' value entering free agency, and multiple teams are reportedly pursuing him — including the Cubs.

Could the Cubs shed enough salary to open space for Castellanos on the payroll? Sure, but they’re looking to upgrade their second base, center field and high-leverage relief production. As great as Castellanos was with the Cubs, they ultimately may not have the payroll space to bring him back.

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Kyle Schwarber tops off big 2019 by marrying longtime girlfriend Paige Hartman

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USA TODAY

Kyle Schwarber tops off big 2019 by marrying longtime girlfriend Paige Hartman

2019 has been a momentous year for Kyle Schwarber.

On the diamond, Schwarber had a career season, posting personal bests in home runs (38) and RBIs (92). Something clicked for him offensively post-All-Star break, as he slashed .280/.366/.631 while hitting 20 homers.

Schwarber topped that off in a big way Saturday, marrying longtime girlfriend and highschool sweetheart Paige Hartman. Take a look at some visuals from the event:

Here's to a lifetime of happiness for the couple!

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