Thursday, November 3, 2011

Now I Understand Why The Cubs Won't Hire Ryne Sandberg

I'll admit, I was pretty upset when the Cubs came out yesterday and said that they weren't going to interview Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg for the open managerial spot.  Not only is he a Cubs icon, but he's a promising MLB managerial prospect.  Currently he's managing the top AAA team in the Phillies organization (a year after he held the same spot for the Cubs).

However, after listening to Chicago writer, Dave Kaplan, on the Dan Patrick show this morning, I have changed my mind.  Kaplan made some excellent points on why the Cubs weren't going to select Sandberg.  Chief of them is a desire to remake the entire franchise from top to bottom.  That includes bringing in fresh faces all over, and not bringing back Cubs legends just because they were Cubs legends.

New President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein is in charge of this remodeling, and it's clear that he's serious about a culture change.  The Cubs are one of the most historical and beloved MLB franchises, and they have a tendency to favor their own guys instead of going with the best candidate.

In a way, the Cubs needs to grow up as an organization.  Make the tough decisions.  Doesn't anyone remember when Epstein took over as GM for the Red Sox, and he traded away Red Sox icon Nomar Garciappara in the middle of a season in 1994? Fans were outraged, but Epstein had a bigger plan.  Garciaparra was aging, a liability on defense, and wasn't a big guy in the clubhouse.

What happened after the trade? The Red Sox went on a tear and won their first World Series in 86 years.

Who received Garciapara in that trade?  The Cubs.

I'm all for Theo to remake the Cubs into a winning organization.  After watching Moneyball, the movie that detailed the Billy Beane-led A's organization that was the precursor for how Epstein handled the Red Sox, I'm sold on the approach.

The Cubs themselves shouldn't be about the biggest names.  They should be a collection of working-class guys who play hard and represent the city of Chicago.  Guys who play good defense, and pitch well.  Get rid of the high-priced failures like Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano.

Currently the favorites for the Cubs manager position are Pete Mackanin and Mike Maddux.  Both are experienced coaches (Mackanin - bench coach for Phillies; Maddux -  pitching coach for Rangers).  Maddux is also the older brother of former Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux.

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