Since the firing of Jim Hendry, Chicago has turned into speculation city, and some of the names that have been thrown around are downright comical. In fact, besides the fact that we all know Rick Hahn will interview for the job, the only other person making sense about possible Hendry replacements that’s writing about this in Chicago is Smitty. The minute I heard that Hendry was ousted I text back to Ryan that Hahn was possibly the Cubs next GM, and I also sent the same text my friend Al who was trying to tell me the night before that Brian Cashman was going to be the Cubs next GM. I’m going to explain to Cubs’ fans why you will not see Brian Cashman or Theo Epstein as your GM next year?
Money! Money! Money! Why would Epstein leave a gig where he has coffers of money at his disposal? He won’t, one thing Epstein and Cashman will not risk would be failing on a team that will have limited resources over the next few years. Yes, I am aware that Cashman’s contract is up in 2012, but he will not be taking a trip to Chicago because there’s too much that needs to be done with limited funds. Something neither of the aforementioned GM’s have dealt with.
Back to Hahn for a moment, this seems like a perfect fit for the Cubs, I mean he has in his contract that he’s allowed to talk specifically to the Cubs at any point. He’s a Chicago guy and seems like the right choice since he helped to build a World Series champion. I do not believe that Kenny Williams is endorsing Hahn for the job because he is fearful of this own position, because of how Jerry Reinsdorf runs the organization. It’s more of a family type atmosphere, which is good and bad. Williams has a job for life if he wants it that way as long as Reinsdorf is at the helm.
The reason for the Cubs not go with Hahn is he has no experience as a GM, and that may make the Rickett’s family a little gun shy. According to a lot of baseball people outside of the Sox organization he is ready to make the next step, but as perfect as it seems with the Cubs I could see them passing because of no GM experience.
So Smitty throws out Andrew Friedman and I say yes, that makes perfect sense. While he will not be coming to the Cubs in their glory days of free spending he would have a larger budget to work with and knows how to develop from within, something the Cubs are lacking. And now to my next point, the Friedman’s of the world are who the Cubs should be looking at and probably are looking at; successful GM’s with midlevel market teams.
Think about Billy Beane working for the Cubs, Beane with a decent budget might string together three or four straight championships. I’m getting ahead of myself, but again possibly enticing for someone like Beane who’s never had real money at his disposal. Beane like Friedman knows how to develop talent.
How about the ultimate fuck you to the Cardinals? The Cubs lure Walt Jocketty away from the Reds and he probably brings Albert Pujols to the Cubs. Pujols and Jocketty have a great relationship and the Cubs would not have to worry about money because a signing of that caliber would easily pre-sellout the season. Those cover off the names of successful current GM’s, but the Cubs should dig a little deeper where two names stand out from the AL Central, Allard Baird and Terry Ryan.
Allard Baird was the GM for Kansas City Royals from 2000-2005, who was forced because overly restrictive budgets to trade such talents as Carlos Beltran, Jermaine Dye, and Johnny Damon. Yes, that was Baird’s outfield that had to get traded away because the Royals could not afford to pay them. Imagine the Cubs with that type of player development, since the Cubs would have the means to sign players of their caliber. Again, you’re looking at a winning formula for the Cubs.
Terry Ryan is a name that annoys White Sox and Tiger fans as he was at the helm of the Minnesota Twins from 1994-2007; he remains with the Twins as a senior adviser but probably longs to get back in the game. Imagine the drafting and signing ability that makes the Twins annoyingly brilliant year after year on the Cubs. Somehow the Twins were always winning the AL Central with smaller budgets then both the Tigers and White Sox, Ryan constructed a team with good young pitching, a couple of veterans and developed talent. Do the names Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau mean anything to you? He’s probably the best fit out of anyone for the Cubs, because he could probably turn the Cubs around in the shortest amount of time.
The one thing that I do not agree with is that the Cubs job is still a top five position in Major League baseball. After the 2003 season I would have called it the number one most wanted job in baseball as the stands were filled and the Cubs looked like they had a solid nucleus that was destined to compete year after year that only a fool could screw up. Well, that fool was Hendry and he did a Class A job. It was always about big names that brought little results, while sacrificing the farm system.
So the next GM of the Cubs will tasked with building a World Champion while trying to unload or deal with bloated contracts along with dealing with the financial restraints of declining attendance. Doesn’t sound so inviting to me, but to someone with the ego of Major League baseball GM might just be looking for that type of challenge? [Blank] just built a World Series championship team for the Cubs, actually that does sound enticing.
My shortlist if I was Ricketts:
1 – Terry Ryan (undeniably one of the best)
2 – Andrew Freidman (would have to give something up)
3 – Allard Baird (had losing record, but probably not if he had means to sign his talent)
4 – Billy Beane (probably will never leave Oakland, but arrogant enough to believe he’s the man to bring the World Series Championship to the Cubs)
5 – Rick Hahn (lacks the experience the Cubs are looking for, but will offer a fresh approach and won a World Championship as assistant GM in 2005)
6 – Walt Jocketty (no better way to stick to the Cardinals then jumping ship from Cincy to their arch enemy, the Cubs. This also would make signing Pujols easier and even Tony LaRussa in a Cubs uniform?)