Wednesday, October 02, 2013

My favorite candidates for managing the Cubs

These are exciting times in the Chicago Cubs organization with the recent firing of Dale Sveum and letting the existing coaching staff “explore other opportunities.”  There are big changes on the way and it starts with the manager first and then the coaching staff.  So in this post today I thought it would be only right I discuss my picks for Manager of the Chicago Cubs. I am only accepting candidates I feel align with most of the front office outlined to the media for the qualities of the new manager. (Note: I sorted them by preference and it should be noted this is my list alone.  Although some of the people named on this list have been named or rumored as candidates for the job)



1.     Joe Maddon- This guy should be on the top of the list no matter what.  His philosophy, player development, excitement, experience, and success exceeds all expectations put out by the front office.  He whole heartily believes in advance statistics and what he has done with the players he has is nothing short of amazing.  He is 704-644 as a manager in his 10 year career.  Since 2008 he has had 84 or more wins in the most difficult division in baseball to win.  He was named the 2008 and 2011 Manager of the Year.  He made the ALDS 3 times in his career, ALCS one time, and has one World Series loss in his 10 years as manager.  He is highly accomplished and recommended which is why getting him away from what he and Friedman had built will be pretty much impossible.  Still should be the number one priority to at least check in on him. I would yell with joy if they got him.

2.       Joe Girardi- I have talked about him a lot and most of you are familiar with what he has accomplished as manager and his ties to Chicago.  What Joe has done with the Yankees this year and their injuries is nothing short of spectacular.  You combined that with what he did with the 2006 super young over-achieving Florida Marlins and you see two tremendous assets the front office adores.  I guy who can develop players while managing veterans.  A guy who is the complete baseball manager and if it is not for Joe Maddon then he would be #1 on this list.  I would jump for joy if they got Joe.

3.       Mike Maddux- Although Maddux does not have the experience the front office wants in managing or the hands on development but something cannot be ignored and that is the success he has had as a pitching coach.  We have seen some many pitching coaches become good solid managers like Bud Black, John Farrell, etc… I believe you can put Maddux in that category.  Not only does he have that going for him but he is well respect around the league and an advance statistics guy.  Something the Cubs front office requires.  I talked about Maddux in length in my “Managing a Theory” post here.  I also believe Mike Maddux has something to offer that many candidates do not have the leverage to do and that is to lure his brother Greg Maddux to the northside.  That is a huge selling point.  I would be impressed if they landed him.

4.       Manny Acta- Somewhat of a dark horse but should be near the top of the list.  Manny Acta’s resume is beyond impressive.  Manny has worked under Frank Robinson and Willie Randolph so he does have the old school back ground but he is also prides himself and employs sabermetric ideas and concepts.  In an interesting note in 1991 he served as a player/manager at the A level before becoming a full-time manager in 1993.  Manny has worked with the Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals but was fired from both positions after first raising expectations then the following year not living up to them.  He is known for his teaching style, player development, and calm demeanor. His ethnic background is also a plus working as manager for the Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter League.  Which means he should relate better to the huge amount of Latin prospects the Cubs have in their system. Manny does not have the success in the major leagues but he provides the style, experience, and player development the Cubs front office is looking for.  If the Cubs hired Acta I would not mind it one bit.

5.       Sandy Alomar Jr.- Alomar Jr. breathes baseball and is one of the most respected minds in the game.  Being a former catcher his in game skills are above anyone else on this list with exception to Maddon and Girardi.  Almora worked under Acta during his time in Cleveland as is to be said a dynamic voice in the clubhouse which the Cubs front office covets.  Alomar has been a finalist for the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Indians but has not been given a full-time gig.  The only time Almora managed in the big leagues was for the last days of the season after the Indians fired Manny Acta on September 27th.  Almora remains on the Indians staff as a bench coach for Terry Francona which remains a plus because he gets a firsthand observation of what Theo likes in a manager. Again I say his ethnic background is a plus for the prospects coming up through the system. The biggest weakness is the old school mentality Almora has in managing and the lack on firsthand experience.  He would be another solid hire that would be hard to get mad at.

6.       DeMarlo Hale- Not a sexy name but he has quite the resume.  Born in Chicago Illinois Hale has been pretty much every phase of the game.  First working at the Buck Dent baseball school in Florida for 4 years before then becoming a AA coach.  That alone proves he has worked with prospects in aspect to player development.  The other thing that is appealing is his experience in Boston being a manager of the year in 95 for Boston’s A affiliate.  He then was promoted to AA Trenton where he compiled a 92-50 record in 99 and was named Manager of the Year by Baseball America.  Before going back to Boston in 2006, Hale managed the Texas Rangers AAA team in 2000-2001.  He did so well there he became the first base coach and OF instructor of the Rangers until 2005.  He finally headed back to Boston in 2006 when he was named 3rd base coach replacing Dale Sveum.  He was then re-united with Terry Francona in Boston after working with him as a bench coach in Texas.  The years after Hale has been the 3rd base coach for the O’s and bench coach for the Jays. He also was a finalist for the managerial position with the Jays in 2010.  So while hale does not have the on-field experience his grasp of the minor leagues, player development, and learning curve is pretty unique.  Plus the added bonus of working under Theo and Francona as well.  I would be rather surprised if they did pick Hale but would not be upset if they did.

7.       Dave Martinez-  Studying under Joe Maddon since 2007 certainly help Martinez mojo but have a Cubs connection is also a benefit.  Again the thing that hurts him is not having that management experience but he does have experience working with youth, low payroll, and player development in the Rays organization.  Since 2007 the Rays are 458-352 under his watchful eye.  He, along with Maddon, both have advance statistics experience and mesh well with the front office.  Although Dave Martinez does come with some baggage with the whole Dave Martinez having a fling with Ryne Sandberg’s wife which is I am not sure would be a factor or not.

8.       A.J. Hinch-  Another guy that is intriguing and honestly not much more to say that CubsDen and  BleacherNation has already said.  Hinch would be somewhat of a disappointing hire for me personally because I expect more.  But if Jed has faith in him and has worked with him in the past hard to not trust a hire like Hinch.

9.     Pete Mackanin-  If the Cubs are considering A.J. Hinch then they need to consider Pete Mackanin again.  They essentially have the same background and circumstances but Pete is just older.  Check out all you need to know on Peter Mackanin here.  Chicago native and has a ton of experience in the minors with some major league managerial experience as well.  Also has the advance scouting to add to his resume and has been interviewed by the front office before.  Just like Hinch he does not excite me but I could see the fit.

10.   Ozzie Guillen-…………. Boom!


Honorable mention: Bud Black and Tony LaRussa.  Neither one maybe availiable but you have to check.  Both fantastic managers for sure!  I know there will a discussion on LaRussa so that that I say…..


Until Next Time…





Monday, September 30, 2013

On The Same Page...New Chapter

The Chicago Cubs fired Dale Sveum for all the right reasons today which is laid out by Theo and provided very nicely by CubsDen

Soon, our organization will transition from a phase in which we have been primarily acquiring young talent to a phase in which we will promote many of our best prospects and actually field a very young, very talented club at the major league level. The losing has been hard on all of us, but we now have one of the top farm systems in baseball, some of the very best prospects in the game, and a clear path forward. In order for us to win with this group – and win consistently – we must have the best possible environment for young players to learn, develop and thrive at the major league level. We must have clear and cohesive communication with our players about the most important parts of the game. And – even while the organization takes a patient, long view – we must somehow establish and maintain a galvanized, winning culture around the major league club.

I believe a dynamic new voice – and the energy, creativity and freshness that comes with this type of change – provides us with the best opportunity to achieve the major league environment we seek. We will begin our search immediately – a process which will be completed before the GM meetings in early November and perhaps much sooner. There are no absolute criteria, but we will prioritize managerial or other on-field leadership experience and we will prioritize expertise developing young talent. We have not yet contacted any candidates or asked permission to speak with any candidates, but that process will begin tomorrow morning.

Here is what I wrote just last Weds. in my piece named “This Off-Season is Predictable?” found here –

Move #1: Fire Sveum/Hire Girardi


Probably the first move that is going to be made this off-season is the firing of Dale Sveum and the hiring of Chicago native Joe Girardi.  The front office has asked the fan base, media, and players to be patient because this rebuilding process takes time but we ALL need something.  That something is the firing of Sveum and hiring of Girardi.  The move signals another big step in the rebuilding process.  A signal that says the Cubs are starting the process of competing by adding a manager who is a proven winner, talent developer, and overall beloved Chicagoan Joe Girardi.  By adding Joe they are stating “the organization has their guys in place that has experience with all phases of the managing game and he is going to take the Chicago Cubs to the next level and beyond.  Joe Girardi symbolizes the start of the light that leads us to the end of the tunnel.”  The fact is there has been too many red flags for the Dale Sveum era Cubs.  The recent turmoil in the clubhouse, the regression of core players, in game decisions, and various other things make a decision of firing Sveum easy.  But what makes it easier is filling his place with Joe Girardi.  This is the single most important move of the off-season and I now believe there is a 50/50 shot of it actually happening. (Note: I also tie in the coaching changes here as well.)

No need to call me a Cubs prophet or bowing down, that is not needed.  The fact is anyone could see the writing on the wall in respect to Dale Sveum hiring and the great possibility of Joe Girardi or someone like him being hired to fill role Chicago Cubs manager.  I think what I laid out and what Theo was quoted is about as right on as you can be and honestly it is the right thing to do.  Deep down I do not think Theo believed Dale Sveum was “the guy” to take them all the way but I do believe he was a guy Theo and Jed gambled on to see if he can become “the guy.”  The gamble did not pay off the past two years thus where we are right now.  The writing has been on the wall since June which I expressed my frustration back then found here.  Back then I questioned whether he was the guy and once again the front office has proved I was correct in thinking so. 

Now it becomes the stage of finding that guy to take them to the next level.  The guy to fill the void as manager and excel in all those things Dale Sveum didn’t.  I think the front office has a few managers in mind that they would love to hire with one near impossible to get in Joe Maddon and one that looks almost too good to be true in Joe Girardi.  I think both would be a fantastic land for this front office.  But I also would not count out Mike Maddux who was the front office’s first choice during the last go round.  I guess the only thing left to do is watch the process, analyze, and wait to see if once again Theo and I are on the same page.


Until Next Time….