Within the past couple of months, there has been a new sense around baseball reporters and some fans that Ryne Sandberg would return to the Cubs organization as their next major league manager if current manager Mike Quade is indeed fired after this season. After the Cubs decided to go with Quade over Sandberg, general manager Jim Hendry left the door open for Sandberg to return to the Cubs organization. Hendry insisted that Sandberg was welcomed to be the Iowa Cubs manager again, but Sandberg chose to fill the same capacity with the Philadelphia Phillies. No surprise, but things did not go down the way that Hendry said they did.
Sandberg opened up to the Chicago Sun Times about what really transpired during the Cubs search for a new manager:
‘‘[Cubs general manager] Jim Hendry called me on a Tuesday to say I did not get the job in Chicago,’’ Sandberg said last week before his IronPigs beat the Pawtucket Red Sox. ‘‘Which, later on, I was not surprised about. Because later on, he mentioned I wasn’t even the third or fourth guy in line. There was no other job offering other than, ‘We’d like you to come to spring training, hit a couple of fungoes and walk around.’ At that point, I knew it was time to move on.
‘‘I said I was talking to somebody else that has an appealing job for me to stay on the path I’ve chosen.’’
So not only was Sandberg passed up by Hendry in his search for the next Cubs manager, the Cubs icon wasn’t even among the finalists. That would mean that Sandberg finished behind the likes of Quade, Bob Melvin, and Eric Wedge. That doesn’t really surprise me. Ever since Quade was named manager and not Sandberg, it always seemed that there was something that went on between Hendry and Sandberg that interfered with Sandberg being named the major league manager. The whole situation did not add up. When Hendry first hired Sandberg there was believed to be an understanding between the two that Sandberg would grow through the Cubs’ farm system, and when ready, become the Cubs’ manager. Sandberg succeeded at every level in the Cubs’ farm system, and was named minor league manager of the year while with the Iowa Cubs last season. The next logical step would have been for Sandberg to replace Lou Piniella as the Cubs’ manager, but he was spurned by Hendry who went with Quade.
Sandberg will indeed be a major league manager at some point, but there is a good chance that it won’t be with the Chicago Cubs. Or at least, not until Hendry is replaced at the general manager’s position. While Sandberg did not directly say he has an issue with Hendry, it is implied through his comments that he is not too fond of the Cubs’ general manager.
If chairman Tom Ricketts decides to replace his general manager and manager, then I’m sure Sandberg will be considered by Ricketts as an option for the Cubs’ next manager. Until that happens, though, the chances of Sandberg returning to the Cubs’ organization are slim to none.