With all the talk of who may be joining the Cubs, one who thinks he won't be back is Greg Maddux.
When the Cubs fired GM Jim Hendry that was probably the end of their connection with Maddux, too, as Maddux's position as a special assistant to the GM was based on his personal ties to Hendry.
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"It's hard to say what I'll do. I definitely won't do anything full time," Maddux said Wednesday from his home in Las Vegas. "Maybe a part-time gig, but it all starts with spring training, and I can't commit to spring training right now. No way."
Maddux is mainly concerned with his 17-year-old daughter, Paige, who has suffered with severe headaches on and off for nearly a decade.
"She's been scuffling pretty bad the last three or four months. I mean, school started three weeks ago and she's missed seven or eight days already," Maddux said. "It's really spiked up the last few months.
"People who don't get these (headaches) just don't know. You can't function. You can't eat, think, sleep, anything. She's in bed with the lights out. That's it. It's really rough watching her suffer.
"I don't really care about baseball right now. The Cubs are the furthest thing from my mind. She's my priority until we can get something figured out. Baseball isn't even on the back burner."
When Paige turns 18 in December, Maddux says doctors can offer different treatments and he will take her to clinics across the country until they find a strategy that works, starting probably in Arizona, Minnesota and Florida.
"Until then," Maddux said, "I'm not committing to anything in baseball."
Maddux has always said he had no intention of jumping into a baseball job until his kids were out of high school (his son is 14), and even then the notion of full-time employment was unappealing.
So he has dabbled in it with the Cubs, working with pitchers throughout the system and assessing talent for Hendry.
It's probably not a stretch to think Maddux could at some point join his brother in Texas, where Mike is the major-league pitching coach. The Rangers also train in Arizona and have Triple-A and Double-A teams in Texas, a short distance from Arlington.
So it makes sense, if Maddux still wants to work.
Right now he doesn't. He's got more on his mind than baseball.
Theo Epstein would obviously be a great hire, but I've always thought the best guy out there -- if he's available -- would be Andrew Friedman, who made the playoffs in Tampa this year with a $42 million payroll, $120 million less than Boston.
But Tom Ricketts and Crane Kenney have an obsession with all things Boston, so that makes Epstein their prime target, and if they can't get Epstein, they'll probably go after Red Sox assistant GM Ben Cherington.
From the beginning, the assumption was that the four big names would not be available. Events have conspired, perhaps, to change that, but if no sitting GMs are obtainable or interested, Ricketts' secondary list of Cherington, Josh Byrnes and Rick Hahn is probably still intact.
Since the Cubs have no GM and no team president with a baseball background, who would be in charge of deciding compensation for someone like Theo Epstein?
Well, that would be Tom Ricketts, CEO of Chicago Cubs baseball. He would be the one determining which Cubs major-league players or minor-league prospects are worth sending to Boston.
Unless, of course, Epstein quietly got on the phone with Cubs people and helped make the trade, hoping to benefit the Cubs and not the Red Sox in the process, a tiny conflict of interest.
The next GM
Regarding a piece here earlier in the week, some read it as a criticism of Theo Epstein. Not at all true. Epstein would be an extraordinary hire.
It was a knock on anyone who comes to Chicago thinking he's going to be the one who erases a century of losing in one off-season with a few big trades or signings.
That's exactly how terrible mistakes are made which cost the organization a lot of money for a lot of years.
Big name, small name, no-name, any GM who comes here with dreams of being the savior is the wrong guy to hire.
Emailer Tom Henaghan went to the trouble and misery of pointing out the Cubs finished the 2011 season last in fielding percentage (. 978), worst in errors (134), 25th in ERA (4.33), 26th in quality starts (76) and -- what he calls his personal favorite -- worst in walks allowed (580). The Cubs also were 29th out of 30 in walks taken (425).
Matt Millen was a disaster as Lions GM, but he did draft Calvin Johnson even after two wasted first-round picks on receivers and also hired current GM Martin Mayhew.
Mayhew's first move as GM was to deal receiver (and current Bear) Roy Williams and a seventh-round pick to Dallas for the Cowboys' first-, third- and sixth-round picks in the 2009 NFL draft.
After Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan suggested last week that the Cowboys had two receivers of higher quality than Calvin Johnson, who caught 2 fourth-quarter TDs in Dallas on Sunday, Lions coach Jim Schwartz said, "I'm glad the third-best wide receiver on the Cowboys is on our team."
And finally …
Omaha World-Herald's Brad Dickson: "Brad Pitt's new movie 'Moneyball' is out. I haven't seen it, but I assume it's about the Auburn football program."
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