Last night, Philadelphia Phillies Assistant GM  of Player Development and Scouting Chuck LaMar resigned. Given the odd timing, abrupt nature of the departure, and cryptic comments of his former boss, the news will necessarily stoke the Chicago Cubs’ GM search rumor mill.

Of the resignation, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. said very little, and what he did say almost intentionally invites speculation.

“After some discussion, it seemed like for Chuck it would be the best situation to go ahead and resign,” Amaro said.

When asked why it would be “best,” Amaro said simply, “You’ll have to ask Chuck. I guess the feeling was it was an opportunity to have other pursuits, either inside or outside the game.” And when asked if there animosity, again, Amaro simply said, “You’ll have to ask Chuck.”

Let’s be clear on something: there are any number of reasons a guy might surprisingly resign, none of which have anything to do with the Chicago Cubs. Indeed, the odds are good one of those reasons animated LaMar’s decision.


Could it be that LaMar had been asked to interview for the Chicago Cubs’ GM position (“the feeling” that LaMar was leaving “to have opportunities”), and the Phillies’ brass wasn’t too keen on letting him step out for a look-see in the middle of a pennant race? So, together they “decided” that it would the “best situation” if LaMar would resign?

I hate to be a total rumor mongeror, but, yes, it is possible.

You’ll note that I’m willing to go only so far as to suggest a possible connection between the resignation and an interview, not an actual job with the Cubs. Why? If LaMar had already interviewed and was leaving the Phillies for a position with the Cubs, the statements wouldn’t be on the order of “we talked and decided it would be best if Chuck resign;” they would be something more like “Chuck has told he’s leaving to take a position with the Cubs.”

That said, if this is connected to the Cubs in any way – and that’s a huge if right now – folks tend not to abruptly leave their current jobs (especially high up jobs in extremely successful organizations) for the mere whisper of another possible job. No, if this is at all related to the Cubs, then LaMar has at least gotten the sense that he has a good shot at landing the Cubs’ gig.

LaMar’s history is a bit of a mixed bag. At 55, he’s been in the game a long time. Notably, he was the director of minor league operations for the Pirates in 1989-90 (which immediately preceded the team’s most successful period) before moving on to become the director of player development and scouting, and then an assistant GM, with the Atlanta Braves for most of the 1990s. In 1998, LaMar took over as the first GM of the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays, where he lasted for seven losing seasons. LaMar has been with the Phillies since 2007, and had been and assistant GM and the team’s director of player development and scouting since 2008.

LaMar would be a largely unsurprising candidate – his primary focus over his years in the game has been player development, and he comes from several winning organizations in which he’s had past success (some would argue that the Rays’ current success is a legacy of LaMar’s tenure – I’m not sure I’d argue that, but some would).

But, by the same token, LaMar would be a relatively uninspiring candidate. He had seven years in charge of the Rays, and the team was miserably bad. Sure, a big part of that is the nature of an expansion franchise, but LaMar’s moves hardly ever paid off. He’s been wildly successful in non-GM roles, but when you’ve got a seven year stretch like that with which to evaluate a candidate, it’s hard to be excited about those assistant-type jobs. Given Tom Ricketts’ desire to remake the Cubs’ organization, and the indefinable sense that he’s looking for more of an up-and-comer type, LaMar feels like a bad fit. On the other hand, if Ricketts intends to be deeply involved in all baseball decisions, maybe an older, experience GM like LaMar makes sense to Ricketts – even if it doesn’t excite us.

So is LaMar actually a candidate? Outside of our open speculation – which, I suppose could be ample, given the strange resignation, the seeming fit, and the ample connections between LaMar and the Cubs (Phillies’ advisor Pat Gillick, despite his denials, is probably one of Tom Ricketts’ trusted baseball sources; Ryne Sandberg manages the Phillies’ AAA club; Tim Wilken worked for LaMar in Tampa Bay for three years) – I don’t think we can know for sure, until something solid leaks.

We’ll see what happens. Though, I have to say: if the Cubs do have their pick of the GM litter, as many have suggested (aside, perhaps, from Epstein, Cashman, Friedman), LaMar would seem like a strange choice, no?

  • Fishin Phil

    Not a candidate that excites me.  I have him ahead of Ned Colletti, but behind Toosh on my list.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Speaking of Toosh, where has that guy been?

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Busy getting his resume in order

      • Toosh

        Still checking your ‘site every day. Not much going on with the team. What happens first? Does Quade get “re-assigned” or does a new GM get hired?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Until this weekend, I would have said GM hired first. But Ricketts seems to be comfortable making some of these decisions himself…

          • hansman1982

            I think that Quade is here to stay – at this point there really is no point in firing him, Tom just needs to make a phone call telling Mikey that the youngsters HAVE to be played.

  • Cubs_Fanatic

    Well I guess he couldn’t do worse than Hendry. But not excited to hear about him.

  • CUB5

    It’s all coming together now – Cubs are filling their vacancies (or soon to be vacancies) out of Philly. LaMar becomes GM and Ryno gets the bench job. Puuuuuuurrrrrfect.

    • CUB5

      …and that’s an Eartha Kitt ‘perfect’ btw. :)

      • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

        Not Julie Newmar’s?????

        • CUB5

          Hehe not for the voice. Now if we were talking about looks… :)

  • funkster

    Dave Kaplan’s tweets on this last night were pretty interesting. And FWIW…he thinks there is nothing to this story.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Odds are strong that there isn’t anything here. Worth discussing, though, given the timing, abruptness, and connections.

  • CubFan Paul

    this sounds like the Candidate that we/the Cubs will end up with for many reasons. & the big reason is the meddling owner (or appearance that he will be or the threat of him becoming the President)

    No Cashman, Epstein, or Friedman and probably not even a tenured Colletti would take this job without having total team control & Ricketts knows that, making his only choice(s) the washed up “experienced” GM with “player development” ties

    ..Good Luck selling accountability Ricketts when you take that away from the man you havnt hire yet ..Or maybe Ricketts fires himself two years from now

    so with all that said LaMar seems to be the perfect fit even though it would be nice to have a Director of Baseball Ops/President/Some Guy with a Respected Title over him with Experience Not Named Ricketts

    and wth is a eatha kitt?

    • Lou

      You know I totally agree with you. Amazing, but I think you’re RIGHT ON POINT with your arguments.

  • Fishin Phil

    “and wth is a eatha kitt?”


    Dang I’m old.  One of the actress who played Cat Woman on the old Batman TV show.

    • hardtop

      phil, you may be old,  but knowledge of eatha kitt should transcend generations.    paul, dont you know, this blog is as much about movies and television as it is baseball?  brush up on your obscure television knowledge brother. 😉

      • CubFan Paul

        lol! i have two televisions in my living room with separate cable boxes ..no one watches more tv than me ..obscure, modern, sports, scifi, pop culture you name it, i know it but an eartha katt went over my head

        • TWC

          OK, TVFanPaul, riddle me this:  In the episode of the Brady Bunch where Cindy Brady got the sniffles and wasn’t able to do something because of it, what was the something?

          • CubFan Paul

            how old do u think i am?! i was born in ’81!

            but i know reruns too ..Cindy wasnt able to do anything because she went to bed early but it was carol & mike’s date night or something that got spoiled and the housekeeper wasnt there I think for some reason ..its been like 20yrs since I’ve seen an episode of the Bunch

            • TWC

              I love this place.

              I’ll admit I can’t remember what the answer is.  It’s been bothering me since I watched that episode on WGN early one afternoon, on a black & white TV, laying in bed sick in the 3rd grade, waiting for the Cubs game to come on.

              • miggy80

                Watching WGN waiting for Cubs games to come on is how I know “Welcome back Kotter” and how he all ways had a bad joke at the end of the show.

          • hardtop

            a line of blow?

            ugh, bad joke.  cindy was such a sweetheart, she would never….greg on the other hand, closet junkie!

            • TWC

              Bad joke?  Didn’t all of the Bunch end up doing gobs of blow?

              • necubsfan

                With Alice away at Sam’s, and Cindy developing the sniffles, Mike and Carol are ready to cancel their night out. But Greg and Marcia argue that they are responsible and old enough to look after their siblings. Mike and Carol go out but they spend the whole worrying about Cindy and things back home. (got this off the internet machine)

                • necubsfan

                  Also think this was the episode where the Dittmeyer’s BBQ was mistaken for a house fire.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Wow. Just fantastic.

                  • TWC

                    You ever in your wildest dreams think that your little website would become a place where adult Cubs fans would discuss beer, Boone’s Farm, and the Brady Bunch?

                    You must be so proud!

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      My wife’s friends are insane with jealousy.

                • TWC

                  I used to love this place.  Now you all creep me out.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    That didn’t take long.

                    • TWC

                      Dittmeyer’s BBQ was the last straw.

        • Mike Foster

          Paul, when everyone was dumping their old 19″ tubes for Flat Screens, I was collecting for free. Last Sunday in the garage I watched the Cubs, 2 college football games and golf all at the same time. Life is good.

          • CubFan Paul

            High Definition Brother, you gotta go Hi-Def

  • Lou

    Got a bad feeling about LaMar and the Ricketts as owners. Couldn’t they just give Ari Kaplan a shot?

    • CubFan Paul

      i could see Ari getting a promotion under the new Gm this offseason in Ricketts new front office shuffle

      • Lou

        Well, for what it’s worth David Kaplan has personally shot down my claim that Ari Kaplan should be the new GM on Twitter.

  • Lou

    I wish. Now Bill Buckner says on Dan Patrick that he wants to manage the Cubs. Currently he was manger of the Brockton MA team with the Red Sox. Thoughts?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      All I know is Buckner is absolutely painful in the booth.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Amen, the was the only game I turned off WGN for reasons other than the Cubs were playing too poorly to watch, luckily the game was also on MLB network.

  • AbnerDoubleday

    Team Ned Colletti and Ari Kaplan and you have the best of both old school and new. Add Ryno as manager and let the magic begin

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Magic… how to make your fan base disappear!

  • http://bleachernation.com ricosanto

    Buckner was great on the Larry David Show ” Sunday It was hilarious

    • Jim

      The best episode of the season – which is saying a lot because the Palestinian chicken episode was top-notch.

  • funkster

    Kaplan tweeted “Chuck LaMar just confirmed to a Philly broadcaster that there is no truth to any rumors linking him to the Cubs GM vacancy.”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      To be fair, I’m not aware of any rumors actually linking LaMar to the Cubs. Just speculation based on the timing, oddness, and connections. Good to hear, nonetheless. Thanks, Funk.

      • funkster

        Sounds like other people were thinking along the same lines as you though.

  • DaveB23

    “On the other hand, if Ricketts intends to be deeply involved in all baseball decisions, maybe an older, experience GM like LaMar makes sense to Ricketts – even if it doesn’t excite us.”

    I think you nailed it with this Brett. If there really is a connection and Ricketts ends up bringing him in, then that definitely means that Ricketts is trying to run most of the show himself and simply bringing in someone who has had success in minor league development to help. Not only would that be unexciting, but also scary (at least to me). I understand him wanting to be involved, but he can’t expect to turn this organization around by himself without bringing in someone whose proven they can be successful at the major league level

  • Cheryl

    He’ll be involved but not in the day to day stuff except for keeping an eye on Quade these last few weeks. He’s had almost three years to study the organization. Right now it seems like player development and the draft are his primary focus. The Philadelphia angle gets people’s attention for now but he still seems to be getting input on possible candidates. I’m still thinking that the Boston connection will win out.

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