While Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts has interviewed all four of the remaining candidates in Eric Wedge, Bob Melvin, Ryne Sandberg, and Mike Quade the overall sentiment is that the managerial vacancy is a two horse race between Tom Ricketts’ favorite Ryne Sandberg, and Jim Hendry’s favorite Mike Quade. While both Eric Wedge and Bob Melvin have impressive traits about them, they fail to meet Ricketts’ criteria of wanting someone that knows the Chicago Cubs organization.
This is where Tom Ricketts words will finally be put to the test, as from the start he said that Hendry is in complete control of finding the Cubs next manager. And, that he would support whoever Hendry decides to go with. But, in a way I think that Ricketts sort of endorsed both when he sent his state of the team address to the fans last weekend.
One of his key points in his letter was a desire of building from within the Chicago Cubs organization. Which you can argue was an indirect acknowledgement of what Ryne Sandberg has done in the previous four years in the Chicago Cubs farm system. Sandberg has won multiple manager of the year awards in the minor leagues as well as develop a very good relationship with a lot of the young players that are going to be a part of the Cubs “youth movement” in the coming years. He already has worked with Starlin Castro, Andrew Cashner, Tyler Colvin, and Casey Coleman who are all at the major league level already.
Not only did Ricketts address his desire to build from within, he also went out of his way to highlight the great job that interim manager Mike Quade did in place of Lou Piniella. It is believed that General Manager Jim Hendry’s first choice is in fact Quade, but Sandberg is running a close second. While Quade did post an impressive record as interim manager, it was the litte things that had impressed the Cubs front office the most. For instance, Quade benched a veteran player for showing up late to a game, something that gave him points to Hendry’s liking. He also managed the games very well as far as when he would pull a starting pitcher and how he would utilize the bullpen. He also has received an overwhelming amount of support from all of the player, which play a big factor in him getting named Manager.
It is really tough for me to pick between Quade and Sandberg for who I would like to see as the next manager of the Chicago Cubs. While I am very impressed with what Quade did as the interim manager for the Cubs, I am just not sure how much stock we should put into it considering they were all meaningless games. As for Sandberg, I am just not sure how he would handle the major league experience as a manager. But, I do feel that this would be the perfect time to install Sandberg as your manager if plan to enter a development phase, and then Sandberg can start with low expectations, and progress to higher expectations as the Cubs improved.
I would expect a decision on the next Chicago Cubs manager relatively soon, probably within the next week or two.