As expected, the end of the Lou Piniella era appears to be near. According to Jon Heyman, Lou Piniella is expected to retire after this season. Also in the report, he says that I-Cubs manager Ryne Sandberg is the most likely candidate to replace Lou Piniella.
This should come to no surprise to any Cubs fan, that Lou Piniella is expected to retire. As that is what many people around the league, expected Lou to do heading into the season. It is hard to say that Lou Piniella’s tenure with the Cubs was a successful one. While he did lead the Cubs to two straight back to back playoff seasons, they failed to get out of the first round in each of those two years. In 2007, Piniella was brought in, so he can lead the Cubs to winning the World Series. Considering that Piniella is not going to have that chance, one can suggest that his time in Chicago was a failure. But, one thing that Piniella did manage to do was change the expectations from Cubs fans. Combined with Jim Hendry, Piniella made Cubs fans feel as if the Cubs had to reach the playoffs every year, or else it was a disappointing season. But when it appears the Cubs are going to miss the playoffs for a second straight year, Cubs fans now expect some changes to come to the teams front office and coaching staff.
Right now, it appears that Ryne Sandberg is going to be the next Cubs manager. While, at first I was skeptical of the idea, I am starting to like the idea. As my readers have pointed out to me through comments, Sandberg has lead each of his teams in the Cubs organization to a winning season. If it was not going to be Sandberg, why else would the Cubs groom Sandberg as a manager in their farm system over the past four years now. They obviously have the expectation that Ryne Sandberg will be their manager in some point in the future.
The Cubs could also be interested in Bobby Valentine, Joe Girardi, Joe Torre, and Bob Brenly for their managerial spot.