Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For Hendry, this time it’s different

We pretty much know who is on the sort list of managerial candidates right now.

Pat Listach was stiffed the rose from the Cubs front office thus leaving three candidates. Three candidates…yep. And we know that all three have now all met with Tom Ricketts.

Ryne Sandberg, Mike Quade and Eric Wedge.

I know...you are as surprised as I am that I didn't make the cut. I guess my resume just wasn't as impressive as Eric Wedge's.

Anyway, this is Jim Hendry’s third managerial pick.

Not many GMs get the chance to hire 3 managers. At the same time, Hendry hasn’t really had to fire any managers. He was brought in at the same time Don Baylor was fired, and I don’t think dismissing Bruce Kimm really counts. Both of Hendry’s previous managers finished out their contracts and left on there own terms.
Wedge just looks like a jerk.  I like it!
Hendry’s two previous choices, Baker and Piniella, were superstar managers. They were hot commodities. They had proven track records of success.

Mike Quade, Ryne Sandberg and Eric Wedge are neither superstar managers, or have a proven track record of winning at the major league level. This is a departure for Hendry. Now, with that being said, unless you count the joke that is Bobby Valentine, there are no superstar managers available out there unless Whitey Herzog comes out of retirement. Jim Hendry doesn't have much of a choice but to hire a lesser name this time around unless he waits to see if Joe Girardi becomes available.

Of the three finalists, Wedge is the one with the most experience, and believe it or not, has a resume that isn't all that bad include three seasons in Cleveland with a record of .500 or better, and a Manager of the Year award in 2007 (and has won the award more recently than Joe Girardi).
"I will destroy the enemy just by looking at them! Let me demonstrate on Paul Sullivan!"
Jim Hendry, in choosing managers, has been much different than any of his predecessors since John Holland was GM in 1966 when Leo Durocher was hired...and even that was probably more of an ownership decision. With the exception of the Jim Frey hiring, which was a somewhat impressive selection (Frey won the ALCS in 1980), the Cubs have, for 30 years, hired no-name managers who, at best, showed potential. That changed with Dusty Baker.

In 2002, the Cubs waited for Dusty Baker. It was actually quite an impressive coup. Baker, coming off a World Series appearance, was alienated by the owner of the Giants, and decided to part ways with that organization. Hendry popped in and got him to come to the Cubs. I didn't particularly like the hiring, but he was immediately popular and "In Dusty we Trusty" was born.

Sandberg has the name, but not the resume. Quade has, well, the support of the players, but might not be able to handle the "thing" that is being the Cubs manager. Wedge has a little bit of a resume, a bit of an attitude, and youth, but might not be able to stay around longer than 2 or 3 years before getting fired.
What a pansy.
None of these guys brings any bit of a boost of confidence that this team is moving in the right direction. Dusty was a consistent winner in San Francisco. Piniella was a legend. Sandberg brings a 16 year career of failure as a player. Quade brings baldness. Wedge failed to turn around a franchise that currently owns the biggest World Series championship drought in the American League.

In the end, who is manager of this team isn't going to make much of a difference; it will be the other moves made by Jim Hendry. The sooner he gets this manager distraction out of the way, the sooner he'll be able to start fixing this joke of a roster.

And that might be a good thing...because the last two guys Hendry brought in may have done more in distracting people from the bone-headed signings he made (Soriano anyone?). No more gimmicks. No more "winning attitude". We've all heard that crap before. Now it's time to get good players who are winners. Good players who can play ball the right way and who don't choke under pressure.

But 2002 could repeat itself. Hendry could decide to wait for Joe Girardi. He's the superstar manager and has the respect and much of the same fan love as Sandberg.

Hendry isn't likely to take that risk this time for two reasons.

First, in 2002 when he hired Baker, there wasn't an immediate 2nd choice out there. If Baker decided to do something different, the selection process would have continued and the Cubs would have hired some no name. But Hendry wanted to make a big splash. There was little risk in waiting for Baker. This time around, waiting for Girardi runs the risk of losing out on Sandberg, Quade and Wedge. All three of these guys have been mentioned as candidates for jobs in Pittsburgh, Seattle, Toronto and Milwaukee.

Second, Baker was Hendry's first ever pick for a manager as a GM. Very few GMs ever get the chance to make 3 selections. This time, Hendry's job is on the line. He won't get a fourth selection. If the Cubs flounder the next two seasons, Hendry and possibility his manager will be shown the door.

This is your last chance, fatso, so make it a good one.
It's different this time. And for the first time since 2002, we are going to have a manager with a limited resume. That's ok. Let's just hope that the organization can fix the real problems that exist with the team after that guy is hired.


Carrie the Muskrat is reporting that Bob Melvin has also been interviewed by Tom Ricketts and is on the final list of candidates.

Melvin was the manager of the D-Backs after Bob Brenly was fired. He led the Snakes to a playoff sweep over the Cubs in 2007.

I personally don't like Melvin very much and hope the Brewers hire him instead.