Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chicago Cubs Grab Theo Epstein, Now Should Go After Ryne Sandberg

It's absolutely a new era for the Chicago Cubs. No one will know if it's an era of winning until they start playing games again, but the Cubs are making bold moves finally.

The first step was firing long-term General Manager Jim Hendry, who had been the GM since 1992.  It's unusual for a GM to be in one position for that long, as evidenced by the fact that at the time of his firing, he was the third-longest tenured GM in the MLB.  Under Hendry, the Cubs made the playoffs three times in ten years, with an overall record of 749-748.   

Hendry had made a number of bad decisions in recent memory.  Many millions were paid to underachieving players such as Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Kosuke Fukudome,  and Milton Bradley.  However, in my opinion, the worst decision he made was in his managerial choice after Lou Pinella retired during the 2010 season.  Instead of going with Hall Of Famer former Cubs player Ryne Sandberg, Hendry choose interim manager Mike Quade. 

 In Comes Theo

The second step into the new era came when the Cubs hired Theo Epstein, the former whiz kid General Manager for the Boston Red Sox.  Epstein was known for making several excellent personnel decisions that resulted in two World Series Championships, bringing to end to a 86-year championship drought.

Epstein is known as a brilliant baseball mind, and Chicago will need every possible ounce of his baseball smarts to turn around a franchise that hasn't won a World Championship in 103 years.  

Next Comes Ryne?

Once the Cubs are able to straighten out the last details of Epstein's release from the Red Sox, he will no doubt take over the entire baseball operation.  Given full control of all baseball decisions, one of the first major ones will be to choose a manager.  He can either keep Quade or go after the guy the Cubs should have hired last year: Ryne Sandberg.

I have already written about my displeasure with the Cubs not hiring Sandberg last year.  I only hope that the former Cubs second baseman isn't so upset with the organization that he wouldn't entertain an offer now.  Having Epstein running things should provide enough stability and promise that any managerial prospect should consider the Cubs a top option.

In any case, it's clear that it's a new era for the Cubs.  Hope has returned again to the Windy City.  

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