Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010
Updated 8:26 PM
By Patrick Mooney
In one week the Cubs will gather for their organizational meetings in Arizona, where chairman Tom Ricketts and Ernie Banks have been lobbying Mesa voters to support the Nov. 2 ballot measure that could secure their new spring-training facility.
As the Cubs map out the offseason, its unclear where another franchise icon fits into their future. There isnt room on the major-league staff for Ryne Sandberg, who would be welcomed back as the manager at Triple-A Iowa or could be given a position within the front office.
Mike Quades staff has taken shape and there wont be many changes. Alan Trammell the Cubs bench coach the past four seasons agreed Tuesday to take the same job with Kirk Gibson and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Otherwise third- and first-base coaches Ivan DeJesus and Bob Dernier and bullpen coach Lester Strode have been invited back and are expected to return next year.
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild already exercised his option for next season, while hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo is signed through 2012.
If Sandberg had been named manager, Quade wouldnt have remained on the Hall of Famers staff. The Cubs viewed that pairing as a huge potential distraction.
Special assistant Matt Sinatro who was particularly close to Lou Piniella after working 15 seasons with him in Seattle, Tampa Bay and Chicago will not return to the Cubs.
Trammell, an upbeat presence in the clubhouse, was considered someone who balanced out Piniella, and he will probably do the same in reuniting with Gibson. The 52-year-old Trammell has been friends with Gibson for almost his entire adult life.
They were teammates for 12 seasons in Detroit and won the 1984 World Series together. When Trammell managed the Tigers, Gibson served as his bench coach. Ultimately, Trammell was fired in 2005 by the only team hed ever really known after 300 losses in three seasons.
Trammell rebuilt his resume in Chicago he scripted the practice plans in spring training and could be seen working almost daily with rookie shortstop Starlin Castro and filled in for Piniella when the manager took his leaves of absence.
Arguably the biggest surprise on Aug. 22 was not Piniellas resignation amid family concerns, but that Quade would be taking over for the final 37 games.
By then, general manager Jim Hendry had decided that Trammell an excellent coach who always conducted himself with class wasnt a serious managerial candidate. Hendry knew it would be unfair to tell Trammell that on the last weekend of the season.
Given all the background work Hendry had to do while searching for Piniellas successor, he probably has a few names in mind for the special assistant and bench coach roles, though Major League Baseball strongly discourages teams from making announcements during the World Series.
Quade who was formally reintroduced as the Cubs manager last week often deflected credit for the teams 24-13 finish to his coaches. Quade maintained a good relationship with Trammell and said he wanted to keep the entire staff intact.
But Trammell goes farther back with Gibson, who was elevated to interim manager in July and told hed remain on the job at seasons end. Trammell and Gibson were given an impossible rebuilding project in Detroit and eventually had to leave the organization they were so closely identified with.
After four years managing in the minor-league system, that could be the way for Sandberg to advance his career, though so far no other team has asked the Cubs for permission to interview him.
Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.