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.
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.