Chicago Cubs: Ryne Sandberg is a legend, not a bench coach
There was a time when it seemed Ryne Sandberg was a shoo-in for the next Chicago Cubs manager. But after being passed over–twice–he moved on to Philadelphia. We know how that went. Now he’s a Cubs legend, and that’s fine by us.
When the Chicago Cubs‘ Jim Hendry chose Mike Quade instead of Ryne Sandberg, that should have been a sign. And then when Theo Epstein came in, Sandberg got an interview, but it seemed a mere formality as they went with Dale Sveum. At that point, Sandberg went to Philadelphia. His success with young players continued there as he won the 2011 Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year.
His career success in the minors didn’t carry over to the majors, though, and it was a quick stint for Sandberg. He took over for Charlie Manuel as the intern manager in August of 2013. He later received the permanent job as the Phils skipper with a three-year deal. In June of 2015, Sandberg resigned as the Phillies manager. He finished with a 119-159 record as an MLB manager. Tough sledding for the Hall of Fame second baseman. He kept a low-profile from the game for a while.
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Then, in January of 2016, the Cubs named him an ambassador to the team. The role entailed making appearances at Cubs related corporate events, taking part in Spring Training and greeting fans. As Dave Martinez left to take the Washington Nationals job, one of my thoughts was “What about Ryno?” And then I realized that isn’t going to happen.
Sandberg spent much of his time managing the lower levels of the Cubs, and he was quite successful. Now, this team is young–unlike the team he inherited in Philadelphia.
Not the ideal situation
But we aren’t talking about kids just getting their feet wet in professional baseball. This team has played together, been to three straight NLCS’s and won a World Series. The fit for him as a bench coach might not work.
And then there is always the other side of that coin. If you peruse the comments on our page, there are quite a few people that feel Maddon did a “poor” job, and that’s putting it lightly. So let’s say they were to hire Sandberg as bench coach, and the Cubs start poorly. With Sandberg being a Cubs legend, there would be a few people who would be ready to put him in the coaches seat. Not necessarily people who are right in their thinking, but still.
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The nostalgic side of me would love to see Sandberg considered for the job. But I think that Epstein and Jed Hoyer are content to leave Ryno in the position he’s in. When he took the job, his words were “I get to be home now.” I don’t think that the Cubs want to do anything to ruin that for him. The Cubs legend is home in Chicago. No need to complicate it by putting him on the bench with Maddon. Let him shake hands, attend the Cubs Convention and do some instructional work in the spring.