Ryne Sandberg, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano are among the topics in this week's Inbox. Send your questions to CubsInbox@gmail.com, and please include your name and hometown.
Why is Ryno not a candidate to be the next Cubs manager? Theo Epstein talks about wanting to build from within. What better person than Ryno, who has managed most of the upcoming talent in the Minor Leagues? At least he could be a bench coach for perhaps Mike Maddux. He knows the kids coming up and could help with defense. Where is the loyalty for an icon like Ryno? -- Adrian H., Quincy, Ill.
What Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are looking for is someone who is like-minded in what they want to do with the Cubs. They also want someone with experience either as a big league manager or coach. Sandberg doesn't have that experience on his resume. Sandberg has managed several of the young Cubs like Darwin Barney, Tyler Colvin, Andrew Cashner and Starlin Castro. Epstein did interview Sandberg for the Triple-A manager's job in the Red Sox system, and Sandberg chose to go to the Phillies. This is not about loyalty or a popularity contest, which some fans seem to think. It's finding the right match.
Epstein showed how much he respects Sandberg last week. After meeting with Mike Quade, Epstein called Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and then Sandberg. He knows what Sandberg means to the Cubs.
"I told him, I've only been in Chicago for a little more than a week, but it was clear what an incredible impact he had made on the people here and this organization, even greater than what I imagined from afar," Epstein said. "I said I hoped we could turn the organization into something that would make him proud."
If the next Cubs manager wanted Sandberg on his coaching staff, Epstein said he wouldn't rule that out.
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Now that the Cubs exercised their option on Aramis Ramirez for next year, are they guaranteed to receive Draft compensation if he leaves via free agency? I understand you must offer a player arbitration in order to receive compensation, but I'm not sure how things work when there's a mutual option like Ramirez has. Since he's in the top 20 percent at his position, it would be nice to get the two high Draft picks as he walks out the door. I know a lot of people aren't fans of Jim Hendry, but turning Bobby Hill, Jose Hernandez and Matt Bruback into nine years of Aramis and a couple high Draft choices would have to rank as one of the all-time fleeces in Cubs history. -- Tom D., Madison, Wisc.
Ramirez is considered a Type B free agent, which means if he signs with another team, the Cubs would receive a pick in the supplemental round of the Draft.
What will the Cubs do with Carlos Zambrano? He's one of the best hitters as a pitcher that the Cubs have. -- Leonard J., Rockford, Ill.
The Cubs need more help with pitching than hitting, and Epstein hasn't totally ruled out the possibility that Zambrano could return. On Sunday, Zambrano threw 2 2/3 innings for Caribes in the Venezuelan Winter League, and he said he felt like a rookie again. His next start was scheduled for Friday. Epstein has talked to Zambrano's agent, Barry Praver, and wants to speak with the pitcher himself before deciding what to do with him.
With Kerry Wood taking a hometown discount last year and speaking of retirement other than playing for anyone else, and no other reliever as good for the price, the Cubs are not seriously considering not re-signing him, are they? -- Richard D., Paducah, Ky.
Epstein and Wood have talked, but just casually. They most likely will come to some kind of agreement; it's just not a top priority.
I heard a hideous rumor that Epstein wants to replace the Wrigley Field scoreboard with a jumbotron. Is this a joke? -- Jaime S., Universal City, Texas
That's not the "Cubs way," and not going to happen. Also, the scoreboard has landmark status.
With the obvious need for some quality starting pitching, I'm curious who the Cubs might realistically go after. It seems like the market is pretty weak or full of names that you would like to have seen five years ago. It looks like two decent options are Edwin Jackson and C.J. Wilson. They both are relatively young and should be able to give you 200-plus quality innings. Any chance of going after or landing either of them? -- Kevin C., Columbus, Ohio
It may depend on what Jackson and Wilson are seeking in terms of compensation. Epstein and Hoyer don't seem inclined to sign players to long term, big money deals. They also are not going to turn the Cubs around overnight. The key question is: Are Cubs fans patient enough to wait?