Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010
By Patrick Mooney
Tom Ricketts an investment banker whos shown that he will use data and analysis and not be ruled by emotion outlined the three qualities he wanted in the next Cubs manager.
In the chairmans mind, that man should first be a coach, able to teach fundamentals to the young players being hyped in the system. He should understand the unique history and culture of Wrigley Field. And he should be committed to the Cubs long-term (even if the contracts only guaranteed for two years).
That description fits two high-profile candidates who will not be in a Cubs uniform on Opening Day 2011: Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi. In the end, this decision to retain Mike Quade would not be influenced by how it would play in the newspapers, the bleachers or on talk radio.
In signing off on the biggest hire during his familys first year of ownership, Ricketts sat in the stadium club they purchased for more than 800 million and announced: A very thoughtful and thorough process over these last few weeks (has) brought us to a conclusion: Mike is undoubtedly the right man for the job.
That calculation, which Ricketts made clear was general manager Jim Hendrys ultimate responsibility, will likely cost the Cubs their relationship with Sandberg, who told multiple Chicago outlets that he wasnt offered a job and will be looking for potential employment with other major-league organizations.
Hours before Tuesdays news conference, Hendry phoned the Hall of Famer who had spent the past four years preparing for this moment by managing at Class-A Peoria, Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.
We all think the world of Ryno, Hendry said. Hes a Cub icon. I think Tom Ricketts and his family are very aware of how important it is that Ryno long-term be a member of the Cubs family. Hes disappointed. He was tremendously classy.
Hendry didnt promote Sandberg when Lou Piniella announced his retirement on July 20 or when the manager resigned on Aug. 22 in part because he felt it could become a distraction. Hendry was sensitive to the criticism that he had preconceived notions about Sandbergs ability to manage at the highest level.
I have a lot of respect for Ryno and I get along very well with him, Hendry said. I get offended when I read this: He never had a chance. They never should have let him do the work in the system. Those things are so unfair and wrong.
Quade has managed only 37 games in the majors, so he will presumably need an experienced bench coach with a rsum different from Sandbergs.
This week Hendry and assistant general manager Randy Bush Quades former teammate at the University of New Orleans will meet with the 51st manager in Cubs history to finalize the coaching staff.
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild has already exercised his option for next season. Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo is signed through 2012. Quade said Tuesday that he would welcome his entire staff back, including Alan Trammell, though the bench coach could have opportunities elsewhere.
Hendry brought in three candidates for Ricketts to interview Quade, Sandberg and Eric Wedge, who by Friday was chosen as the Seattle Mariners new manager. The Ricketts family had dinner with each before Hendry made his final recommendation.
Girardi publicly congratulated Quade on Tuesday, but he and his Chicago-based agent lost leverage in their upcoming negotiations with the New York Yankees.
Girardis three-year deal will expire once the Yankees are done defending their World Series title. Girardi, who turned 46 last week, debuted with the Cubs in 1989, three years after graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in industrial engineering.
That background would have resonated with Ricketts. How much? As an organization, the Cubs cut off that question.
I wasn't really worried one way or the other, Girardi told reporters before Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. As I've said all along, I'm focused on what we are trying to do here. I'm not worried about next year. I'm not worried about the year after. I'm worried about right now.
Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.