Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cubs managerial candidates

In terms of the Cubs' search for a new manager, it's very early. There are still lots of questions without answers, such as: Will Joe Torre and/or Tony LaRussa retire? Are the Yankees going to extend Joe Girardi? Does Mike Quade actually have a shot at the job?

Then yesterday, the rumor swirled that Hendry has Fredi Gonzalez at the top of his wish list, and that he prefers someone with major league managing experience. As you'll read below, I hope this isn't true.

Nevertheless, let's handicap this thang:

Ryne Sandberg 37%

I've already shared my pro-Ryno feelings, but I'll reiterate succinctly: He's a Hall of Famer who played the game hard and understands what it takes to get the most out of your talent. When he expressed a desire to manage back in 2006, the Cubs asked him to start by riding a bus around the Midwest as a Single A manager. He did it. He paid his dues. He's worked his way up through the minors and by all accounts has grown a great deal as a leader and a communicator. In addition, it's virtually a guarantee that he would be managing a different major league team by the time the Cubs get around to hiring again. Plus, Dutchie Caray is all for it!

For another pro-Ryno view, here's Gene Wojciechowski.

**UPDATE** Sandberg will be named the Pacific Coast League manager of the year on Friday.

Fredi Gonzalez 23%

I had to bump his percentage up at the last minute because of the rumor mill. He led the Marlins to winning seasons in '08 and '09 despite MLB's lowest payroll. He knows what he's doing and I like the way he handled the Hanley Ramirez "jogging after the ball and then throwing his teammates under the bus" situation. For a few years, he was third base coach of the Braves under Bobby Cox. This is where the problem comes in, in my mind: the Braves will have a vacancy next season too, and would Fredi rather take over the Cubs than the Braves?

Joe Girardi 12%

I still think he's at the top of Hendry's list. The only problem? He's probably at the top of the Steinbrenners' list too. Though he hasn't been extended past this season yet, the Yankees are coming off a World Series title and have the best record in the majors. Yes, Girardi grew up in Peoria, played for the Cubs, and his wife is from Chicago. Yes, leading the Cubs to a title would essentially put him on MLB's Mount Rushmore, or at least Chicago's. But would he really leave the $230 million-payroll, best-team-in-the-majors Yankees for the no-bullpen, Soriano-in-left, lead-the-majors in errors Cubs? I don't see it.

By the way, Girardi is the only hire I would accept outside of Sandberg.

Bob Brenly 10%

He's got a World Series ring. More importantly, he knows the Cubs as well as anyone after watching and analyzing them for the last six years. Managerial success + well-liked by Cubs fans = not a bad choice. Okay, I might accept Brenly too. But I'd rather have Sandberg in the dugout and Brenly in the booth.

Mike Quade 7%

He's off to a nice start, I'll give him that. And he has managed literally thousands of games at the minor league level. But still--Mike Quade as your next Cubs manager?

Joe Torre 4%

He's 70 years old--is he really looking to take on a rebuilding Cubs team?

Tony LaRussa 1%

I would murder everyone in the world.

Eric Wedge 1%

He already interviewed for the job, so he has to be on the list. He managed the Indians from 2003-2009.

Pat Listach 1%

He managed players such as Soto, Colvin and Marmol as manager of the Iowa Cubs, and currently serves as the Nationals' third base coach. Meh.

Bobby Valentine 1%

He threw his hat in the ring, but my guess is that Hendry and Ricketts wouldn't want his type of personality.

Ozzie Guillen 1%

Steve Stone said he doesn't think both Guillen and Kenny Williams will survive into next year, so it must be true. Still, I don't see him heading north. Though at least then when he comes to Wrigley he wouldn't have to use the visitors' clubhouse.

Ted Simmons 1%

The Padres bench coach has indicated that he would have interest in the job. Obviously this would be an out-of-left-field pick.

Chris Speier 1%

Another bench coach--he sits next to Dusty in the Reds' dugout. Speier spent two years as the Cubs' third base coach when Dusty was here, and Hendry has said that he's "a good man, and one of my favorite players as a kid."

Whew. I'd be shocked if I haven't listed the next Cubs manager here. What do you think? Who do you want to see and who do you think it'll be?


  1. I want Ryno. Your comment for LaRussa would also apply to Ozzie.

  2. My preference is still Girardi, but I don't see why he'd want the job. I'd be happy with Sandberg or Gonzalez too. I think Brenly is too "old school" baseball. If I were Hendry, I'd try to make a decision now before the Braves are in a position to the offer the job anyone.

    Side note: I think Eric Wedge has a better chance of getting the job than Ted Simmons.