The Cubs’ GM Search

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Speculation as to whom the Cubs are going to hire isn’t enough; it’s already turned into the media and fans trying to dictate whom they should hire, and that’s the last thing Cubs fans and front office people should want.

The poorly disguised agendas pop up immediately.

We saw it last Fall when the Mets fired Omar Minaya and conducted an intensive and judicious search by interviewing Al Avila, Allard Baird, Rick Hahn, Josh Byrnes and Sandy Alderson. They wanted to interview Dan Jennings of the Marlins and were rejected; they even had the audacity to ask for permission to talk to current Marlins president Larry Beinfest—they were rejected there too.

Now the names linked to the Cubs are similar and depend on factional allegiances:

Pat Gillick—the Hall of Fame old-schooler who’s rebuilt teams all across baseball.

Andrew Friedman—one of the architects of the Rays who may want to have the opportunity to work with a big payroll and baseball-mad fanbase.

Brian Cashman—his contract is up at the end of the season and despite his protestations that he wants to stay with the Yankees, winning with the Cubs would be a ticket to the Hall of Fame.

Theo Epstein’s name has come up.

Some of the people the Mets spoke to are bound to be in the mix as will Logan White of the Dodgers; Kim Ng of MLB; Royals and former Phillies scouting guru Mike Arbuckle; and others who haven’t been mentioned.

Would Billy Beane be a possibility?

The Moneyball silliness is reaching its inevitable conclusion and Beane’s reputation is in tatters with another on-field nightmare for the Athletics, who have again failed to meet preseason hype. He’d be a big name for the Cubs to pursue; he’s familiar with the stat-based theory they’re said to be looking for; and both he and the Athletics have to move on from one another.

Regardless of who’s hired, it should be the decision of the Cubs ownership and no one else.

Back when the Mets were in the middle of their interviews, the wave of sentiment was twisted ham-handedly in the direction of Alderson by the likes of Joel Sherman of the NY Post.

Sherman may as well have written, “Me want Sandy” and it wouldn’t have been any more skillfully navigated than the stuff he did write; at least it would’ve been honest.

Everyone had their preferred choice for one reason or another be it a convenient story; continuity of beliefs; or name status.

But I wouldn’t want Joel Sherman hiring my GM. (Or my groundskeeper for that matter.)

And the Cubs shouldn’t want any outsiders drumming up sentiment and inviting calls to all-sports radio as to what they ought to do based on nothing other than self-indulgent propaganda.

There are many decisions that will have to be made once the new Cubs GM is in place, most notably with Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez and manager Mike Quade.

A younger, more insecure GM will want a manager who’s going to “be on the same page” as in “do what he’s told”; someone more experienced could deal with a cult-of-personality type like Bobby Valentine (who’d be a great fit with the Cubs).

Owner Tom Ricketts has to account for what would be best for the current configuration of the roster; who’d handle the Cubs checkered history; how much money there is to spend; and how quickly they’re planning to have a contender in place.

Hiring Gillick is a short-term call to win fast; hiring Friedman or Beane wouldn’t be.

Independent of what the media thinks, it’s a decision that has to be made by the ownership. The stuff coming out now amounts to little more than noise; noise that would be best ignored for the greater good.


7 thoughts on “The Cubs’ GM Search

  1. I believe hiring someone that is a first time GM to fix the Cubs would be a bad move. I believe that the Cubs best move would be to do something like Philadelphia did with Amaro and Gillick or the Yankees did long ago with Stick and Cashman and having a truly experienced GM that won’t budge from his plan showing a young GM in waiting the ropes.

    While I imagine that there is going to always be a certain amount of speculation in any high profile GM search, at this point in their careers, I don’t think that Theo would want to leave Boston; I don’t think Cashman would want another pressure cooker like New York, and I doubt that Pat Gillick wants to do anything that requires him to be anywhere he doesn’t want to be most of the time.

    If I were the Cubs, I would look to see if these 3 guys were available, but I would center my search on someone like Sandy Alderson has been for the Mets, a good steward who has the ability to oversee the team now, with an eye on the future, with a background of developing new GMs so that there is continuity throughout the organization. Because if you look at the Cubs, like all bad franchises, every 4-5 years they are starting over.

    The only thing is, I don’t know that the kind of guy that I think they would go for is really interested in jumping back into being a GM. John Schuerholz and company, I’m looking at guys like you.

    1. No way Epstein leaves the Red Sox; the only way that happens is if a team gives him points in the franchise—the likelihood of that happening is non-existent.
      Cashman has said he’s not leaving the Yankees and I believe him. Schuerholz isn’t a crazy notion, but the first guy I’d look at is Andrew Friedman—and I think he’d be very, very interested in the job.

      1. I seriously doubt Epstein will ever leave Boston, unless fired. And, as long as they are able to compete at a high level, that will never happen. Besides, the guy broke the curse for them, he might be able to coast for 10 years without winning anything on that alone.

        Until the Cubs prove otherwise, I do doubt their ability to win as a franchise. Because of the astronomical price that was paid for the franchise and the lack of ability to make significant meaningful upgrades to the financial streams coming to them through Wrigley Field, I think that even with a top flight GM, his hands will be tied for a number of years due to the huge, stupid contracts that they doled out to the likes of Soriano and Zambrano. In a way, it is a job not too far off of the Mets reconstruction. But, I still doubt the Cubs’ ownerships ability to allow someone to really do the hard work of rebuilding the franchise in a meaningful way.

      2. That owner is loaded, but he wants to do it intelligently; Friedman’s perfect for that franchise. I’d love to see Beane go to Chicago without the nonsensical appellation of “genius” surrounding him. I’d guess he’d be mediocre, but it’s an interesting case study.

  2. I’m preparing myself for the worst. For me, as a Cardinals fan, the worst is that they actually get their shit together and hire someone with half a brain. I thought that would happen when Fanboy took over the helm. WRONG. I haven’t seen anything yet to change that.

    I hope I don’t.

    1. The Cardinals have some major issues on the horizon even if Pujols comes back; the farm system is almost completely barren; who knows whether LaRussa’s coming back and now Duncan’s had to leave to care for his wife. They went all-in with the mid-season trades and unless they go on a tear, it’s gonna fail. The Cubs have some talent and money to spend and players are willing to sign with them. Unless they get some inexperienced kid—something I doubt they’ll do—they should wind up in pretty good hands.

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