Walt Jocketty Enters The Fray


Much like a soon-to-be free agent visiting different cities and being speculated to join that specific team, the Cubs’ general manager search has had a similar result. While the Cubs were in San Francisco, the hot name for the general manager post was Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics. Though, when the Cubs were in New York last weekend, there was little talk about Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman jumping ship to become the next general manager of the Cubs.

But the Cubs have moved on to a new city, and no surprise, a new name has popped up on the long list of prospective candidates to replace Jim Hendry.

Any National League central follower should know who Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty is. Before joining the Reds organization, Jocketty was the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, and lead the Cardinals to 3 world series trips with the Cardinals eventually winning in the 2006 season. Jocketty has also been named Sporting News executive of the year three times in the past decade. So, with the Cubs in Cincinnati this week and knowing the success that Jocketty has had within the National League central, it would make sense for speculation to begin about Jocketty being a candidate for the Cubs’ general manager position.

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times, and Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago must have swapped notes before writing their respective articles as both seem to blow of horn Jocketty. Though to Levine’s credit, his report was not as toxic as the report that came from Wittenmyer. Levine simply noted that Jocketty would not comment on the Cubs’ general manager position, and Levine also mentioned that Jocketty is deserving of at least an interview from Tom Ricketts.

Meanwhile, Wittenmyer’s report was highly more hypothetical. Wittenmyers reveals one scenario that has been discussed–and I would use the term discuss extremely loosely–is one the trigger a domino effect. Wittenmyer speculates that if the Cubs hired Jocketts as their next general manager that would almost certainly mean that Tony La’Russa would follow as manager given his relationship with Jocketty, and finally Albert Pujols would sign with the Cubs given his history with the former Cardinals’ general manager and his current manager.

This is why the Cubs’ search for a general manager–0r you could view it as the downfall of the Chicago Sun Times baseball coverage–is so amusing. In almost every one of his reports on the Cubs’ search for a general manager, Wittenmyer could not be any further from the truth. First he said Chicago native Dan Evans was the perfect fit for the position ( if you just said Who? Don’t worry I had that reaction too when I first heard Wittenmyer mention Evans), then he labeled Billy Beane as the leader in the clubhouse to be the next general manager of the Cubs despite Ricketts having yet to reach out to Beane, and now we have operation become the Cardinals underway.

There are numerous things that are wrong about this scenario. First, Walt Jocketty is not the type of general manager that Ricketts is looking for. If the Cubs’ chairman wanted an old-style general manager, Hendry would still be holding down the position. I do not know how much more specific Ricketts had to be when he announced his criteria for the next general manager saying that he was looking for a young analytical general manager. While Jocketty has had success with the Cardinals, his success with the Reds has been exaggerated. Most of the players that are currently on the Reds’ roster, are players that were already developed before Jocketty came to Cincinnatti.

Tony La’Russa should never be mentioned in the same sentence as Cubs’ manager. While I have ton of respect for what La’Russa has achieved during his managerial career, he is not a fit for the type of manager the next general manager should look to bring in. If you thought Lou Piniella’s retirement tour with the Cubs was bad, it would be much worse with La’Russa. Not too mention that La”Russa is not too fond of young players and prospects. While Colby Rasmus has struggled this season with the Cardinals and then with the Toronto Blue Jays after he was traded, La’Russa did Rasmus no favors. Rasmus requested a trade during the 2010 season in an effort to seek an opportunity elsewhere, but the Cardinals did not entertain offers for Rasmus that season, and La’Russa never seemed to allow Rasmus to fully develop into an everyday player. I realize that it is a two-way street and Rasmus would have to earn the opportunity through his production, but, La’Russa always went against the former Cardinals outfielder. That’s not to say that La’Russa is impartial to veterans over younger players, at this point however, La’Russa would not be a fit for the direction that the Cubs are looking to go.

And to clarify, because it may have gotten lost while reading the latest from Wittenmyer, ALBERT PUJOLS IS NOT GOING TO BE ON THE CHICAGO CUBS NEXT SEASON.

For more on the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals, visit Blog Red Machine and Redbird Rants.

Follow Cubbies Crib on Twitter and feel free to send an e-mail to cubbiescrib@gmail.com