Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry recently stated that he’s poised to begin the search for the next Cubs’ manager, which position will be open following Lou Piniella’s retirement at the end of this season. The list of candidates is long, and Hendry will take his time over the next few months to winnow it down to the best of the best.
And the Cubs, despite their losing ways, should be able to get the best, for a variety of reasons.
“It’s a marquee job,” Hendry said. “The great city we live in, the ballpark and the great fan base we have, I think for [those reasons], just about everybody would want a crack at it.
“And also the intrigue of wanting to be the manager that eventually won a world championship. That’s all part of the lure to everybody over the past 8-10 years that I’ve been hiring to manage.”…
“There’s a heavier price to pay because of that long drought without a championship, and the scrutiny that you’re under on a daily basis in that position,” Hendry said. ESPN Chicago.
Is Hendry setting us up for another huge manager contract? I’ve made no secret that my biggest problem with the Lou Piniella and Dusty Baker hires was not necessarily the choice of manager, itself (though I was never a Baker fan, and I thought Lou wasn’t going to be the same guy he was in Cincinnati or Seattle). My biggest beef was the fact that the guys were getting $3, 4 million per year to manage the Cubs. To my mind, there is no way that any manager provides so much more value over another ML-caliber manager that he’s worth 3, 4 times as much as the average ML manager. But that’s how the Cubs have been paying their managers over the past decade.
Maybe it will make sense to pay the next manager a big ‘ole chunk of money; maybe it won’t. I’ll reserve judgment until the hire is made and the contract is announced. But for now, suffice it to say I find it very strange to say in one breath that the Cubs’ gig is one of the most attractive in baseball that “just about everybody” would want, and then in the next breath note that the manager is going to be crushed under the weight of daily scrutiny and a long championship-less drought.
In any event, the Cubs are expected to interview upwards of 15 potential managers, including Ryne Sandberg, Joe Girardi, Fredi Gonzalez, Bob Brenly, Bobby Valentine, Pat Listach, and Ted Simmons.