The one benefit of having baseball in Chicago, is the Chicago natives are fortunate enough to have two proffessional baseball teams. One thought has remained in my head throughout this entire week about how a potential White Sox decision may affect the Cubs and their search for a new manager.
In case you have not been following the White Sox soap opera, the relationship between manager Ozzie Guillen and general manager Kenny Williams has reached a point to where one of the two have to leave the organization once the season concludes. This past week, many reports surfaced that Guillen has lost the power struggle with Williams and the White Sox are drawing up a exit strategy for Guillen to leave the organization. As we all know, Guillen is about as controversial as they come and is well known for his various rants and the White Sox are trying to ensure a quiet exit from Guillen. Once Guillen officially leaves the White Sox, the manager will have an ambundance of opportunities; including in the media as well managing another team.
Enter the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are already monitoring the White Sox as chairman Tom Ricketts is checking in on the availability of White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn. All indications is that Hahn will be there for the taking, and unless the Cubs are able to land a big name general manager, Hahn will probably be the next general manager of the Cubs. Assuming Hahn wants to replace Quade with his hand-picked manager, there is a good chance that he will discuss the possibility with Guillen about coming to the North Side. While Guillen has clashed with the upper-management of the White Sox organization in recent seasons, his frustration is believed to be towards Williams and not Hahn.
So if Hahn is named general manager of the Cubs, and seeks out Guillen, would the–soon to be–ex-White Sox manager listen? While Guillen’s disdain for Wrigley Field has been well documented, his feelings for the players on the Cubs’ roster is much different. For one, Guillen is essentially best friends with Carlos Zambrano. Though, considering there is almost no chance that Zambrano returns to the Cubs, that friendship would be irrevelant. But Guillen has had high praise for shortstop Starlin Castro, and the Cubs figure to build around Castro in the years to come.
As a manager, Guillen would be an ideal fit for a National League team. Even though Guillen has spent his entire managerial career in the American League, his style fits the National League more than the American League. It is because of that reason that Guillen’s and William’s relationship began to grow estranged. Before becomming the White Sox manager, Guillen was on the Marlins’ coaching staff and that is where his fondness for the National League style of play developed. Unlike the previous Cubs’ managers, Guillen does implement accoutability on his players and the manager is more than willing to play a young player over a struggling veteran. When he has not been handcuffed by Williams, Guillen has been more than willing to bench the struggling Alex Rios and Adam Dunn–who has been in a season-long slump. On one instance this season, Guillen took Rios out of the game after Rios “dogged” it going after a ball.
Ozzie Guillen is loved by some, and Ozzie Guillen is hated by some–mainly Cubs fans. But would Guillen be a welcomed addition to the Cubs’ clubhouse? Or better yet, would Cubs fans accept Guillen as manager of their beloved team? Those questions will likely never be answered, but it never hurts to think what if?