Cubs scouting chief in line for contract extension
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com September 14, 2011 8:28PM
Updated: November 10, 2011 10:27AM
CINCINNATI — Even as Cubs ownership continues its search for a new general manager, it continues down the curious path of talking contract extensions with key front office officials.
The next one is scouting director Tim Wilken, who’s scheduled to meet with ownership this weekend about an extension “similar’’ to the four-year extension farm director Oneri Fleita was recently given, according to a source.
Wilken is signed through next year, along with most of his staff.
Former GM Jim Hendry lobbied for the pair of widely respected player development executives on his way out the door, the source said, and chairman Tom Ricketts has long lauded the pair.
The risk is turning off would-be GM candidates who might have their own ideas for those key positions in the organization — suggesting, perhaps, that Ricketts already had a firm idea of who his next GM will be and that said GM is fine with the Fleita-Wilken stewardship of the player development system.
Either way, both are well enough respected around the game for strong, lengthy track records that some rival executives don’t believe the extensions will have a negative influence on the process.
Jocketty staying put?
Asked about Wednesday’s report in the Sun-Times regarding the possibility of the Cubs hiring away Walt Jocketty (and in turn, eventually getting manager Tony La Russa and free agent first baseman Albert Pujols), Cincinnati owner Bob Castellini told the Cincinnati Enquirer that his GM isn’t going anywhere.
Jocketty, in the fourth and final year of his contract, told the Sun-Times Tuesday, “I’m happy here.’’
◆ Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto left Wednesday’s game two batters into the third inning with a strained right lat after two trips to the mound by the team trainer.
◆ Don’t be surprised if Hendry resurfaces in the game at a high level again quickly. Sources say he recently met in Milwaukee with commissioner Bud Selig, a longtime Hendry admirer who often takes an active role in recommending key personnel to incoming owners (think Houston Astros and, eventually, the Los Angeles Dodgers).
◆ Class AA Tennessee opened the best-of-five Southern League championship series Wednesday night against Mobile (Ala.). Cubs affiliates opened the night 6-0 in postseason play.