Cubs

Sandberg, Girardi must move in another direction

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Sandberg, Girardi must move in another direction

Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010
10:42 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

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.

Cubs still trying to break through on extension talks with current players

Cubs still trying to break through on extension talks with current players

SAN DIEGO — While the rest of the baseball world is occupying their time with free agent signings and trades, the Cubs have been waiting for their number to be called.

They've been trying to nail down extensions with key players that are only a couple years away from free agency, though nothing appears imminent on that front. 

Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber are all free agents after the 2021 season, leaving the Cubs two years to work out a deal or trade the player before losing them for nothing but a compensation pick. Willson Contreras is a free agent after 2022. Theo Epstein's front office reached a four-year, $55.5 million deal with Kyle Hendricks in spring training, extending his team control through the 2023 season.

The Cubs won't comment specifically on the current extension talks, but they'd ideally hope to wrap anything before spring training this year, so the players can focus solely on baseball by then.

"We always take the position of not commenting on extensions, but are we having those discussions? Yes," Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. "People focus so much on trades and free agent signings at these meetings, but all the agents are under the same roofs, also, and allows us to have those kinds of discussions. I'm not gonna specify who or what, but yeah certainly those conversations are ongoing."

Bryant has long been thought of as the toughest of the group to lock up long-term given that his agent, Scott Boras, typically advises clients to hit the open market and maximize their value. Boras reiterated Tuesday afternoon at the Winter Meetings he and Bryant are still open to extension talks with the Cubs.

Baez and Rizzo loom as the two most likely to extend their Wrigley Field stays, with the two emerging as the faces of the franchise in their own ways.

As the Cubs try to navigate an offseason where they're "serving two masters" (trying to compete in 2020-21 while also enhancing the long-term future of the franchise), a potential extension would check both boxes in a major way. If Hoyer and Theo Epstein knew Baez would be locking down shortstop and the middle of the lineup for the next six seasons, they could breathe a bit easier thinking about the big picture and long-term health of the franchise. 

At the same time, they can't operate as if anything is a certainty. Bryant could decide he likes the Cubs' offer and make Chicago his baseball home forever. Baez could conclude the opposite. 

It's what makes this particular offseason so tricky for the Cubs.

"We have to be able to have parallel tracks in our mind," Hoyer said. "We have to be able to do multiple things at once. It doesn't make it more difficult. We have a lot of really good players. We've had them for a long time. When we talk to these players about contracts, there's no player that we talk to that we haven't had a conversation with at some point before about a contract. 

"We've talked about these players for five years in some way, shape or form. When we sit down with these players, we're not covering a ton of new ground. We've already been over a lot of it. I think we're able to have parallel tracks."

Two MLB moves that changed the landscape of Kris Bryant's trade market

Two MLB moves that changed the landscape of Kris Bryant's trade market

Two reported transactions Tuesday may not have drawn much attention from Cubs fans, but both directly impact the North Siders.

First, The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya reported the Angels are trading third baseman Zack Cozart to the Giants for cash and a player to be named later. Soon thereafter, free agent shortstop Didi Gregorius agreed to a one-year deal with the Phillies, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported.

From a Cubs perspective, the Angels' and Phillies' moves impact a potential Kris Bryant trade market. According to Ardaya, the Giants are picking up the remaining $12.67 million on Cozart’s deal. This clears payroll space for Los Angeles to make a run at a superstar free agent, like third basemen Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson.

The Phillies inquired with the Cubs regarding a potential Bryant trade, according to multiple reports. However, Bryant’s unresolved grievance case is a holdup in any trade talks, should the Cubs entertain offers. If he wins, he'll become a free agent next winter. If he loses, he'll remain under team control through 2021.

Gregorius will slot into shortstop for Philadelphia, while incumbent Jean Segura will move to second base, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury. The Phillies are less likely to pursue Bryant — should the Cubs shop him — than they were entering Tuesday. Things can change, but they have less of an infield need as they did on Monday.

On the other hand, the Angels and new manager Joe Maddon suddenly could be a candidate to pursue Bryant. Acquiring him would bring less certainty than Rendon or Donaldson, as Bryant is only under contract for two seasons more, max. Furthermore, acquiring Bryant will cost the Angels prospect capital, while adding Rendon and Donaldson will 'only' entail paying them handsomely as free agents.

In short, Philadelphia is less likely to pursue Bryant than they were entering Tuesday; the possibility of the Angels doing so is stronger than it was entering the day. The Angels haven't been directly connected to Bryant at this point, but that now could change.