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Among the Chicago Cubs’ GM candidates, it is easy to give the top handful a “favorite” label. Brian Cashman is the “favorite” of Tom Ricketts. Andrew Friedman is the “favorite” of the fans.

And, if those are true, then Rick Hahn is the “favorite” of the Chicago media.

The 40-year-old Chicago White Sox Assistant GM is considered by many to be the top assistant in the game, and grew up a Cubs fan. He will almost certainly be considered by the Cubs for the open GM job, and, if various media have their way, he’ll get it.

There have been too many Rick Hahn pieces over the past few days to cohesively (and usefully) put together a singe-body piece, so we’ll do this bullet-style to ease your consumption:

  • First, from Hahn himself, who didn’t offer much when asked about the Cubs’ GM job: “Like everyone else here, my focus is currently on the 2011 White Sox. Questions about my personal future can wait for another time.”
  • Bruce Levine reports that Hahn’s contract includes a clause that allows him to interview with certain teams for a GM position. The Cubs are, predictably, one of those teams. This could give Hahn a small edge over candidates who are also under contract with other teams, but for whom the Cubs must request permission to interview. Obviously a delayed interview isn’t going to stop the Cubs from getting the man they want, but Hahn could get in early, and become the leader in the clubhouse.
  • Phil Rogers, who has been trumpeting for Hahn for some time now, isn’t going to change his tune. “Barring any proprietary issues with White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who has been Hahn’s boss since late 2001, there is no reason to look further for Jim Hendry’s successor,” Rogers writes. “Ricketts said Friday he wants the next GM to be someone who believes in finding and developing young players, knows his way around a computer and comes from a winning climate. Hahn goes 3-for-3 in those categories. He’s also a strong people person whose relationships extend to scouts and minor-league coaches, as well as Scott Boras and other agents.”
  • David Haugh agrees. “Ricketts identified three criteria without naming names: 1) an emphasis in player development, 2) a strong statistical base and 3) experience in a winning culture. That makes Hahn a natural, sensible place to start,” Haugh says. “In addition to spending a decade in the front office of a Sox team that won a World Series, the Winnetka native graduated from Harvard Law School and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. His work in a sports agency under Leigh Steinberg for two years exposed Hahn to contract negotiations, his area of expertise with the Sox. He respects sabermetrics but lets what happens on the diamond guide him as much as what he sees on his computer screen …. Hahn also offers the Cubs a rare advantage of hiring somebody local already fully immersed in the often idiosyncratic Chicago baseball culture. There would be a shorter transition for understanding all the nuances that come with being in charge of the Cubs: day baseball, the goat, the media. Familiarity matters.”
  • Even White Sox writers are turning out to support Hahn. “Rick’s as down to earth as they come in this game, and he’s got the sense of humor, too,” Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald writes. “Is he GM material? I’ll put it this way – I was stunned when the Mets chose Sandy Alderson as their new GM over Hahn last off-season. Fortunately for the Cubs, Rick is still available and he’s got the baseball experience, financial smarts, knowledge of the game and drive to do a great job.”
  • Bruce Levine notes that Hahn is the highest paid assistant in baseball, and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf may not be so eager to let him go. To that end, he could promote GM Kenny Williams to a president-type role, and move Hahn up to GM. I’m not sure that that kind of token promotion – with little other change – would be enough to keep Hahn from throwing his hat into the Cubs’ GM ring, though.
  • Speaking of Williams, Kenny is happy to give his current assistant a strong endorsement. “I’ve made no secret about it, Rick Hahn is, to me, one of the most qualified men to assume the position moving forward,” Williams said. “What Mr. Ricketts does is his own business. He’s a guy that’s had a lot of success in business and in his world, and his world over there is none of my business at this point in time. But if he called for a recommendation on Rick Hahn, I absolutely would give him my highest.”
  • White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is also a big Hahn backer. “It’s not my department but looking from the outside in he’s very prepared,” Guillen said. “He has gone through everything in the system. He knows baseball very well and helped this organization. This man is very prepared. I don’t know if they are going to talk to him. I talk to Rick all the time, he knows baseball.”
  • funkster

    He’s in my top three choices honestly.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Ryne_Blaising23 Ryne Blaising

    One of my best friends who is love the White Sox just as much as I love the Cubs, calles me the day Jim Hendry Hahn take over the Cubs. If Hahn is given the job I believe the Cubs will be playing in the NLCS within the next 3 years. Also I think Hahn would fire Quade which is the one thing I really hope the new GM does its clear that Quade isn’t the man for the job let’s move on and find someone better.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Ryne_Blaising23 Ryne Blaising

      I am sorry for the few spelling mistakes he called me the day Hendry was fired.

  • Butcher

    He has a nice resume, but he’s still an unknown quantity. How many of the Sox’s good deals/bad deals has he been involved in? How much influence does he have with Kenny Williams? I don’t see this happening. I think it’s either Cashman or Friedman.

    • MichiganGoat

      Agreed. I don’t think Ricketts plans to hire anybody that hadn’t either GM or President experience. There is too much risk with an assistant.

      • David

        An experienced GM is overrated. 7 out of the last 8 world series winners were by GM’s in their first gig. During that time frame ~ 75% of playoff teams were with GM’s in their first gig.

        • EQ

          No doubt.. we tend to give too much credit and blame to GM’s and managers for teams’ successes. Cashman is praised for adequately spending a bagillion dollars on payroll each year.. wow. I’d like to see if Cashman can win if he were in a different organization..

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Ryne_Blaising23 Ryne Blaising

      from what I have heard is that Hahn has been behind all the great deals the Sox have done, and from my understanding he has not had anything to do with the bad deals. Also maybe if Hahn is GM we have a better chance of trading Z to the Sox.

      • bacboris

        What is that based upon though? Did he have nothing to do with the farm system? Or for those bad deals, was he just shifted out of the room? I have a hard time with that kind of logic. Either he was a fundamental part of a winning system (which has degenerated) or he is shifted out to the corner just to oversee contracts (in which case the successes of that GM shouldn’t apply).

      • Ron Swanson

        HA HA HA! Are you Rick Hahn’s mother?!

  • EQ

    Hahn’s down one of my top 3 too! I think one part that gives me assurance is his growing up a Cubs fan..like Ricketts, that to me is a bonus.. not that it means they do better, but I guess that makes me feel like they would have a bit more passion for the job.

  • Fishin Phil

    He is number three on my list. I hope Mr. Ricketts calls me about my list soon. Yo! Tom, I’m waiting by the phone.

  • Matt

    Any supporters out there from Mr. Sabermetric himself, Billy Beane? Friedman is only what he is today because of Beane. Same with Theo Epstein. I haven’t heard Beane’s name come up much. The situation in Oakland is never going to get any better. He almost left Oakland for Boston a few years ago. Maybe the Windy City provides a second chance for him to make the big jump.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      There is a gathering school of thought that Beane was ahead of the game a while back, but isn’t anymore, and hasn’t been able to successfully evolve again. Not really a good sign.

      • Lou

        But isn’t that really hard to say….based on what exactly? Sounds like people theorizing. Oakland is never going to improve…their payroll or even their fanbase based on where they play. They play in a modified football stadium which can be hard to generate offense. He can still be credited with putting together a solid pitching staff and who knows if he can further evolve when given greater resources. Your issue with Beane is similar to the one I have with Brian Cashman. What could Cashman do with less resources (i.e., less ability to cover one’s mistakes) requires same thoughts as what could Beane do with more resources? Really hard to say. That said, Beane does know the new tools, as Ricketts puts it, and is more the experienced GM type that Ricketts wants.

  • bacboris

    Best comment I’ve seen warning about all the glowing media for Hahn came from Tom U at CCO.

    “To paraphrase: Beware of reporters bearing gifts!

    There are many local reporters trumpeting White Sox Assistant GM Rick Hahn for the the Cubs’ opening. While he may or may not be qualified, I believe the main reason he has been mentioned a lot by the beat writers is that they already have a relationship with him, and that they won’t have to work as hard to establish themselves as with someone from outside Chicago.”
    - http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2011/08/2011cubslive127.php#comments

    • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

      That is *precisely* my concern with the media fanfare for Hahn.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I’d be more concerned about that if it were just one publication trumpeting his candidacy. I’m not saying I’m *not* concerned. I’d just be more concerned if it was one that had a great relationship with him – but it’s all of ‘em. None appears to have a closer relationship with him than any other, so pushing for him doesn’t really give any of them any advantage over their competitors.

        It’s a valid concern, though.

        • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

          “None appears to have a closer relationship with him than any other, so pushing for him doesn’t really give any of them any advantage over their competitors.”

          Unless, of course, each *thinks* they have a closer relationship to him than the others do, and are lauding his qualifications to further that cause (“access”), should he get the gig.

          • NL_Cubs

            Exactly! At the end of the debate, if Hahn were given the baton, the Chicago media will have already greased the skids and granted access without having to start anew as they would from an out-of-market guy.

  • NL_Cubs

    Does Hahn meet the criteria of “coming from a winning organization? When I think of winning organizations, the first teams that immediately pop into my head are teams such as the Bo-Sox, NNY, the new Tampa Rays, the Dodgers of the 80′s-90′s, Atlanta, the recent Phillies and yes,even the Cardinals need to be in that conversation.

    Sorry, the White Sux don’t enter into the word association game for me nor into the equation when thinking about winning organizations.

    How convenient for the local Chicago media to like Hahn. A familiar face, already established relationship and access.

    • Ron

      I am with you on winning organization, I would think the Twins would even rate higher. I don’t follow the sox close but the word I would choose is mediocre not successful.

      • NL_Cubs

        It’s reasonable to include the Twinkies in the discussion, especially as a smaller market story with admirable success among a league of dominant teams.

    • Lou

      Yep, gotta agree here. The White Sox look like the 2009 version of the Cubbies. If that’s a team-wide philosophy, to trade picks and prospects for veterans and guys off waivers, that’s troublesome. And that team-wide “all-in” philosophy has to include Hahn.

  • http://bleachernation.com ricosanto

    i Like Rick Hahn , I think he would hire Ryno as manager. Hiring Ryno is like the Angels hiring Mike Scioscia. I think the final nail in Hendry’s coffin ,despite the bad contracts, is hiring Mike, dead bald man walking, Quade.He would be teaching the players how to play the game right.( Castro)

  • http://bleachernation.com ricosanto

    Cashman is not coming for 6 mil a year and bringing Giardi with him. Friedman is Great but his hometown astros want to make him Presdient and GM.David’s comment are right on about the gms winning in there first gig.How about Ben Cherrington, We want to be like the Red Sox ?

  • P hertz

    NO WHITESOX!!!

    • NL_Cubs

      If Hahn came to the Cubs, can you imagine the comments from Sux fans and some how taking credit for any realized success on the north side? Gasp!

      Just another reason for no mas, no Hahn.

  • philoe beddoe

    No assistant GM’s!…..just because those guys were in their first “gig” doesn’t mean they were green-horns(obscure referrence from The Natural)….this job is different than any other and we need someone with the experience and connections with other teams….

    good organizations have their next GM in waiting and the system is already in place…we don’t….so we need experience….

    I wouldn’t dismiss Billy Beane, getting beat at his own game by teams with better resources

    just give us Ryno please…the guy paid his dues…Hall of Famers don’t ride buses…the guy is a worker…and get automatic PR jump…Hendry might have bought himself another year with Sandberg…no nonsense…

    • EQ

      If we got Billy Beane, would that mean we’d get Brad Pitt to sing the 7th inning stretch?

    • Lou

      Yes, Ryno paid dues but that doesn’t mean hire him. Again, I see this being played up by the Chicago media for every fan within earshot. Rather see someone more experienced. I been trumpeting Dave Martinez in Tampa. Former Cub, if you want that, and gaining valuable knowledge as Maddon’s right-hand man.

  • cubsklm

    I have gained a greater respect for Ricketts over the past few weeks.
    We may be seeing the real Cub owner we thought we got.

    I am sure he will make a greater hire. Go young, with high tech skills, proven track record.
    I want some energy.Then that person needs to hit the ground running. Fire Quade and put his team in place.

    These truly are exciting times.

    Quade Pleez!

    • philoe beddoe

      wait a minute,,,are you talking about Davey Martinez?…ahhh, have you heard all of the rumors about why the Cubs really traded him?….would be a bit ironic if he got Ryno’s dream job…

  • Jeff

    I don’t know what the plans were, but Andrew Cashner just left his start for Tennessee after 23 pitches and only 2/3 of an inning. That doesn’t sound like good news.

    • MichiganGoat

      No it doesn’t, I can’t imagine he had a 20 pitch count limit. The Chicken Little in me is panicking.

    • Ron Swanson

      Holy hell…

      • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

        Well, he *did* strike out the first two batters he faced on only 7 pitches… and then started missing the plate a bit and gave up 3 consecutive base hits. Meh.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t think he was much over 30 in his throwing sessions, so I wouldn’t automatically conclude this is an injury thing. A guy at the game said Cashner looked really good despite the hits (one was a solid hit, and two were dribblers, he said).

  • Matt Murton

    We don’t want anyone the players like, and nobody the media likes. We need someone that they respect, but more importantly, someone who isn’t afraid to pull himself away from the personal aspect of the business and show some guts when it comes to getting rid of players that no longer have a place on the team. If the players talk about how much they love the manager, it’s because they can get away with murder when he’s around. The same policy applies with a GM.

    • Matt Murton

      As we saw with Uncle Jimbo

  • Dan

    I dont want him. I want Andrew Friedman

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