Day 1 of the GM Meetings

Here’s the latest from the rumor mill and other notes as day 1 of the GM meetings kicked off:

*According to Aramis Ramirez’s agent, Paul Kinzer, there’s no way Ramirez is returning to the Cubs.  Kinzer said “we are not talking to the Cubs, that ship has sailed.”

* However, Kinzer will talk to Theo Epstein later this week about other clients Geovany Soto, Carlos Marmol, Starlin Castro and Junior Lake.

* Scott Boras, who makes his clients rich, will talk to Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer later this week about two of his clients, Carlos Pena and Prince Fielder.

* A fifth candidate was interviewed for the Cubs managerial position, Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale.  Theo Epstein and Co. did not meet him in person, but over the phone.  I don’t see him as a prime candidate, but I could see him leaving the Red Sox bench for the Cubs bench.

* Theo Epstein, Carlos Zambrano and his agent Barry Prayer had lunch in Chicago on Monday.  It was Zambrano’s idea for the meeting, as Big Z wants to remain in Chicago.  Theo Epstein said “Zambrano will have to earn his way back on the team, by working hard this Winter and getting amends with each player.”

* According to Jerry Crasnick, the Cubs are one of eight teams to have interest in outfielder Grady Sizemore.  The Cubs view Sizemore as their right fielder.  Sizemore has been injured the past two seasons, but was more healthy last year than in 2010where he played only 33 games. Sizemore played 71 games in 2011 and posted a .224/.285/.422/.706 slash line with 10 home runs in 295 plate appearances.  The 29 year old is reportedly looking for a 1 year contract to increase his value for the 2013 free agent class.  The Indians declined his $9 million club option and he became a free agent.  If the price is right, I wouldn’t mind the Cubs taking a gamble on him.

* According to Jim Bowden, the Cubs are leaning towards Mike Maddux as their new manager.

* Also, Bowden said the Cubs main priorities are pitching, defense and left-handed hitting when talking to other GM’s.

* Bruce Levine states Terry Francona is still a candidate for the Cubs managerial position, but I just can’t see him getting the job.

* The Chicago Sun Times says not to be surprised if you hear outfielder Marlon Byrd or closer Carlos Marmol added to the rumor mill.  Byrd is in his last year of his contract and will make $6.5 million, while Marmol has two years left on his contract ($7M in 2012, $9.8M in 2013).  With closers on the free agent market expensive, Marmol looks like a bargain, especially after the Phills gave Papelbon 4 years and $50 million with a vesting option.  Additionally, the Blue Jays even said they can’t believe the asking price for the closers on the market, so Marmol does look like a good trade candidate.  It might be for the best if the Cubs do in fact deal Byrd, as Jackson looks ready and it sounds like the Cubs could sign another outfielder.

* The Cubs added another valuable piece to their front office, hiring former Arizona Diamondback Shiraz Rehman.  He will serve as the assistant to the GM.  He spent six seasons with the D’backs.  The dream front office continues to grow.

* According to Carrie Muskat, scouting director Jason McLeod will travel to the Dominican Republic this week to meet with several players, including 26 year old outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.  I don’t know who else McLeod could be looking at.

Well that’s the latest from a busy Monday.

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