Ven­able lis­ten­ing to other job of­fers

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CUBS - By Mark Gon­za­les

The 2020 Cubs Con­ven­tion con­tin­ued Sat­ur­day at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. Here are five things we learned from Day 2.

1. Will Ven­able is con­tent as Cubs third-base coach — for now. Will Ven­able re­turned from Hous­ton, where he in­ter­viewed with the Astros for their man­age­rial va­cancy af­ter the AJ Hinch fir­ing.

This marked the third man­age­rial in­ter­view for Ven­able, 37, who talked with the Cubs and Gi­ants in Oc­to­ber.

“You have to take op­por­tu­ni­ties se­ri­ously and have to think about those things,” Ven­able said. “I’m a Chicago Cub right now un­til that changes. I’m su­per ex­cited to be here, com­mit­ted to this team un­til some­one gives me an op­por­tu­nity to have a dif­fer­ent job. This is where I’m at. I plan to be here for the year.”

Ven­able de­clined to elab­o­rate on his in­ter­view, cit­ing the sen­si­tiv­ity of the sign-steal­ing scan­dal that led to se­vere penal­ties Ma­jor League Base­ball as­sessed against the Astros, while hop­ing the in­ter­view ex­pe­ri­ence would en­hance his prepa­ra­tion.

2. Theo Ep­stein can only say so much. Cubs Pres­i­dent Theo Ep­stein was adamant about be­ing trans­par­ent to fans but ad­mit­ted he had to be am­bigu­ous re­gard­ing how much he could spend as pro­tec­tion against agents and po­ten­tial trade part­ners.

Ep­stein did ac­knowl­edge po­si­tion­ing the team rel­a­tive to the com­pet­i­tive-bal­ance thresh­old is a fac­tor and that he faces a strug­gle try­ing to im­prove the team in 2020 while not run­ning the risk of fall­ing off the cliff af­ter 2021 — when some of the team’s best play­ers are on track to be­come free agents — and pro­vide a bet­ter long-term fi­nan­cial pic­ture.

“This is one of those win­ters where it’s hard to thread the nee­dle,” Ep­stein said. “We’re do­ing the best we can. I’d say hang with us.”

3. Wrigley Field will have a lit­tle dif­fer­ent look — and sound. Pro­tec­tive net­ting will be ex­tended to the “el­bows” of the left- and right-field lines, pres­i­dent of busi­ness op­er­a­tions Crane Ken­ney said.

The Cubs hope to hire an or­gan­ist to re­place the re­tired Gary Pressy by the start of spring train­ing to per­form at Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz.

Press-box up­grades in­clude im­proved heat­ing and air con­di­tion­ing, which should en­hance the team’s ef­forts to host the 2022 All-Star Game.

4. Andy Green ful­fills his dream. New bench coach Andy Green, who was the Padres man­ager the last four sea­sons, said his mother used to drive him from Lex­ing­ton, Ky., to Wrigley Field when he was young.

“I thought there would be noth­ing cooler than to be a Chicago Cub,” said Green, who ad­mired watch­ing Hall of Fame se­cond base­man Ryne Sand­berg. “I by­passed the Cincin­nati al­le­giance as soon as I went to Wrigley and be­ing a Cubs fan. My fam­ily didn’t like that. Sim­ply, I just spent four years in a re­build. I want to win. I want to win bad and have the con­fi­dence (David Ross) can lead us to that.”

5. Mike Napoli has a pro­lific beard. A fan ex­pressed his ad­mi­ra­tion for the length of new coach Mike Napoli’s beard, which ex­tends past his col­lar­bone.

“That beard is glo­ri­ous,” the fan told Napoli dur­ing a panel with Ross and his coach­ing staff. “That’s the kind of beard that would lead troops to bat­tle in the Civil War.”

Napoli played with Ross on the 2013 World Se­ries cham­pion Red Sox but wasn’t cer­tain he would be hired af­ter in­quir­ing about the qual­ity as­sur­ance coach po­si­tion.

“Please call me,” Napoli said of con­stantly look­ing at his cell­phone. “I’m look­ing to get back in.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.