Before I get this edition of Cub Tracks started, I need to run to the kitchen and get a batch of popcorn going. Hopefully there's some butter in the fridge to go with it... don't you hate it when you need butter for something and realize you don't have any because you used it all up when you baked something a day or two before?
From Comcast SportsNet Chicago:
- With Ryan Dempster now working in the front office for the Cubs, he acknowledges that Jon Lester has a tough choice ahead of him on deciding where to play. But he also knows that Lester won't be disappointed if he comes to Chicago.
- [VIDEO] Theo Epstein discusses Dempster joining the front office.
- Patrick Mooney says that heading into the winter meetings the Cubs are still looking to upgrade at catcher after losing the Russell Martin sweepstakes. Apparently Tim Duxbury's Bold Prediction from last week doesn't look as solid anymore.
- Mark Johnson was named Baseball America's Minor League Manager of the Year for leading the Kane County Cougars to a 91-49 record last season, along with a 7-0 postseason run.
- With Dave Martinez joining the Cubs' coaching staff as bench coach, Doug Dascenzo was bumped from his role as the first-base coach to give that position to Brandon Hyde, the Cubs' former bench coach. Dascenzo will now serve as the Cubs' outfield and baserunning coordinator.
- And in case you hadn't heard it about 1,073 times already this offseason, the Cubs are looking to add to their young and talented core.
- The MLB.com beat writers of the five likely landing spots for Jon Lester all handicap the race. And hey, the Cubs didn't get a 3!
- One of the first moves by new hitting coach John Mallee: Javier Baez will be playing winter ball for Santurce in Puerto Rico starting on December 11.
From CBS Chicago:
- [AUDIO] Ryan Dempster talks about his front office job with the Cubs and Jon Lester's tough choice.
- Bruce Levine says that the Cubs are still standing their ground as the asking price for Lester goes up. Oh, those pesky Dodgers.
- Theo Epstein acknowledged the importance of free agency on Friday, but also said that when it comes to bidding there is a line to be drawn in the sand. Hopefully Lester will be on the correct side of it when all is said and done.
From the Chicago Tribune via RedEye Chicago:
- [VIDEO] Earlier there was audio of Ryan Dempster; now here's some video to go with it. (Hint: He may be talking about a certain left-handed starting pitcher.)
- [VIDEO] Dempster also talks about returning as a special assistant.
- [VIDEO] And also video from Theo Epstein about free agency, highlighting the balancing act between being aggressive and being disciplined.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- Ah, Gordo. Gordon Wittenmyer writes that if it looks as though the Cubs are wading carefully in the deep end of the free agent waters this winter, there may be a reason why: The front office may not be very good at big-ticket free agency, and they know it. Now excuse me while I go grab my popcorn from the stove and find a comfortable spot on my couch...
From Cubs Den:
- John Arguello previews the winter meetings and looks at the things that the Cubs will and won't do during those meetings.
From Chicago Cubs Online:
- Source-gate: The Cubs' actual offer to Jon Lester may be higher than the reported offer of $130 million to $140 million.
- And the Cubs are receiving calls for the services of Luis Valbuena. No mention as to who was making the calls.
From Cubbies Crib:
- The 2015 Bill James Handbook is out, and here are the Cubs projections for next season.
From Chicago Cubs 101:
- Tim Duxbury presents his three steps necessary to alter Javier Baez's approach at the plate.
From Cubs Insider:
- Artist John Hanley is selling 144 signed limited-edition prints of his painting of Anthony Rizzo, with all of the proceeds going to the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation to provide support to families and children battling cancer. That's pretty cool if you ask me.
- Former Cubs third-base coach Wendell Kim is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, and things are not going well.
Today's food for thought:
- You've probably heard the expression "Follow your heart". What do you do if you have two of them?
- It seems hard to believe, but National Geographic has published almost 1,500 covers. They present their five of their iconic covers here.
- More from the holiday section: Looking for gifts for animal lovers? Here are some ideas.