Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Could it be? Fredi…a leading candidate?

I get up this morning and I see that Carl over at LOHO already posted headlines. And amongst them was a clip about Fredi Gonzalez. Sure enough, Gordon Wittenmyer did a story today in the Sun-Times (he’s quickly moving up my list of favorite sports reporters in Chicago) about my buddy, Fredi, and how people shouldn’t be surprised if he is a leading candidate here in very short order.

 Isn't he dreamy?

As you all know, I believe Gonzalez is the best manager available (assuming Joe Girardi is not available) and I have been, since he was fired in Florida, calling for the Cubs to take this guy into serious consideration. All indications say that they are indeed considering him seriously.

While Jim Hendry and Fredi Gonzalez have not commented on the situation, here are some reasons why the logic all fits (and Wittenmyer lists these out for us)…

Wittenmyer first says something we all already know, that Jim Hendry prefers managers who have experience. We aren’t talking about minor league experience here...but major league experience. Mike Quade and Pat Listach are probably the only two people without any major league managing experience that he ever seriously considered before hiring Lou Piniella and Dusty Baker. Both of them are up for the job again, and both still lack that experience. Ryne Sandberg will fall into that category as well.

With all respect to Mike Quade, it seems inconceivable that with Sandberg sitting out there and both, up until 10 days ago, having the same amount of major league managing experience, that Quade even has a prayer for this job. If anyone is going to be hired without any experience managing at the Major League level, it is going to be Sandberg. Open…shut…good night!

But we are drifting a bit here. Back to Fredi and the fact that Hendry likes managers with experience. Fredi has that experience, so that’s a big plus for him.

The next thing that Wittenmyer points out is Gonzalez’s communications skills…especially with Latin players. This was supposedly one of the big advantages that Hendry saw with bringing Lou Piniella in as well. He obviously see this as an important aspect for the job. With Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Starlin Castro all potentially key contributors to the Cubs next season, Hendry could be hoping that Gonzalez can get all these guys performing at a high level.

Then there is this kicker that Wittenmyer brings up…Fredi and big Jim have known each other for 3 decades, all the way back to when Gonzalez was in high school. They worked together in the Marlins organization as well. Hendry has tended to favor people for jobs that he has had long lasting relationships with.

I know everyone is sick of my singing the praises of this guy…but I really think this is the best man for the job. While he hasn’t achieved substantial success in Florida, he did do a fairly good job with the very little he was given working under the worst owner in baseball. Players appear to develop under his management and he isn’t afraid to stand up to slackers (like Hanley Ramirez). He has seen how one of the best run organizations in baseball operates when he was Bobby Cox’s third base coach for four seasons.

 Ask the people of Miami what they think of this owner right now.

The Cubs and Gonzalez have refused to comment on the process right now, but it seems that a growing number of people believe that Fredi is quickly moving up the list of favorites for the job.

So, in my continuing tracking of the candidates, here is who is currently rumored to be on the list right now (and others I think that are probably being considered):

  • Ryne Sandberg
  • Fredi Gonzalez
  • Joe Girardi
  • Mike Quade
  • Joe Torre
  • Pat Listach
  • Ted Simmons
  • Bobby Valentine
  • Erik Wedge (who was interviewed earlier this week)
  • Tim Flannery
  • Jody Davis
  • Bill Dancy
  • Buddy Bailey
  • Ken Macha
  • Bud Black
  • Tony LaRussa
  • Greg Maddux
  • Bob Brenly
  • Joey Cora