New Cubs Manager Choice Will Be Telling
With Year One of the Ricketts regime coming to an end, we really haven’t seen much from them to really define their priorities and style. I mean, sure, we’ve seen more fan outreach, some new marketing ideas, bison on the menu; but not much to indicate what kind of owners they will be from a baseball perspective. They’ve kept the status quo in GM Jim Hendry and club president Crane Kenney and embraced the return of Lou Piniella despite his obvious lack of future. The Ricketts family admittedly sat back and watched rather than assert themselves into baseball operations. That might have been a wise tack to take, but now is the time for them to start making the hard decisions.
First order of business will be to hire a new field manager for the 2011 Chicago CubsÂ and beyond. This choice will finally begin to reveal what the Ricketts family has in mind for your Chicago Cubs going forward. Will their philosophy will be of the Andy MacPhail-school of just trying to be good enough to compete? Or will they be closer to the George Steinbrenner mandate of win or else?
About as many names have been floated in the media for the next Cubs manager as there likely will be mayoral candidates to succeed retiring long time Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. It’s too early to tell who Jim Hendry is serious about and – what could be a seperate list – who Tom Ricketts is serious about for the next manager.Â
There are several candidates that meet the stated goals of being familiar with the unique challenges of being manager of the Cubs, and still invested in coaching younger players. You can count the favorites Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi, plus current interim manager Mike Quade and possibly Cubs TV broadcaster Bob Brenly among that group.
Fredi Gonzalez declined to interview with Hendry. For whatever reason, Hendry stated early on that Alan Trammel would not be considered. Former Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge has been interviewed by Hendry (over dinner I believe) andÂ might be a good baseball man, but it’s not clear if he’s ever even been to Wrigley Field.Â
Bob Melvin has a .493 winning percentage over 7 seasons managing the Mariners and D’Backs. But if you were interested in Melvin (who Mark Grace called “the mad scientist” for shuffling the lineup so often), why wouldn’t you prefer his montor in former World Series Champion manager Bob Brenly?
NationalsÂ 3rd baseÂ coach Pat Listach spent some time in the Cubs organization, managing at AAÂ West Tenn and winning PCL managerÂ of the year with the AAA Iowa Cubs – similar to Ryno this year.Â He’s never managed in the bigs and will likely be a courtesy interview.
Or maybe the Ricketts family will prefer another ‘celebrity manager’ in Joe Torre, Bobby Valentine, Tony LaRussa (not likely), Davey Johnson, or some other baseball lifer looking to get back on the field.
It’s too early to tell on all of these speculations but one thing is for sure. Whoever ends up as Cubs manager will say a lot about where this organization is going, how deep the re-building will be, and how serious the Ricketts family is about winning a world championship as soon as possible.
September 18, 2010 Tags: 2011 Chicago Cubs, Alan Trammel, Andy MacPhail, bison dog, Bob Brenly, Bob Melvin, Bobby Valentine, Crane Kenney, Davey Johnson, Eric Wedge, Fredi Gonzalez, George Steinbrenner, Joe Girardi, Joe Torre, Mark Grace, Mike Quade, Pat Listach, Ryne Sandberg, Tom Ricketts, Tony LaRussa, Year One Posted in: biz of baseball, Jim Hendry, manager, observations, Ricketts family, Team Ownership