Some Friday Cubs GM search bullets for your consumption…
- Mike Silva thinks that, if Billy Beane decides he wants to leave Oakland, Chicago’s where he’d go. Unless, that is, Brian Cashman has already bolted New York, in which case you might see a Cashman-to-Cubs, Beane-to-Yanks kind of shuffle. All in all, though, Silva doesn’t see Cashman leaving New York.
- Could Tampa Bay Rays’ assistant Gerry Hunsicker become a candidate for the Cubs’ GM position? A source calls him “a decent underdog,” noting Hunsicker’s strong development and statistical background. You’ll recall that the Astros were dominant under Hunsicker’s watch, making the playoffs five out of nine seasons, and finishing first or second in the NL Central every single year. He’s on the older (not old) side at 61, but his track record speaks for itself.
- Paul Sullivan creates a power rankings of the top 16 GM candidates, but it’s clear that many names are thrown in “because they’ve come up.” His top six, perhaps unsurprisingly, are Andrew Friedman, Billy Beane, Theo Epstein, Brian Cashman, Rick Hahn, and Josh Byrnes. I’d be surprised if the Cubs’ top six is much different. For good measure, Sullivan also includes Oneri Fleita (7), Tim Wilken (11), and Ari Kaplan (15). Tom Ricketts has said that he is not considering in-house candidates.
- Ken Rosenthal has a long write-up about the Arizona Diamondbacks’ success, and, specifically, about who should get the credit. On former D-Backs GM Josh Byrnes, Rosenthal writes, “Well, it was Byrnes who traded for right-hander Ian Kennedy and center fielder Chris Young, and [Jerry] DiPoto who traded for right-hander Daniel Hudson. [Kevin] Towers, meanwhile, freely acknowledges that several of his moves didn’t work. But he’s the one who rebuilt the team’s bullpen and changed the team’s losing culture, emerging as a leading candidate for Executive of the Year. Byrnes, now the VP of baseball operations for Padres, is gracious in his praise of both Towers and manager Kirk Gibson, who was promoted from bench coach to replace A.J. Hinch after both Byrnes and Hinch were fired on July 1, 2010 …. [On] Towers? ‘Obviously, there were some holes on the roster that needed to be addressed. Kevin addressed them very well,’ Byrnes said. ‘The bullpen killed the team in 2010. He made that group a lot better.’ … Byrnes might have built a bad bullpen, but at least it was a bad bullpen without bad contracts. In fact, none of the D-backs’ contracts was especially onerous, and that too contributed to the team’s rapid turnaround.” For what it’s worth, GM candidate Mike Rizzo, who was an assistant with the Diamondbacks at the time, says he and his now-assistant Kris Kline deserve the credit for the current D-Backs.
- Barry Rozner (ah! no link! foiled by the Daily Herald pay wall!) also suggested that Fleita could be a GM candidate down the road. As far as I can tell, these guys are throwing out his name because he’s in the news right now as being a highly-respected member of the Cubs’ front office. In other words: there is presently no legitimate reason to be thinking of him as a future GM candidate. A reason may evolve, but it ain’t there yet.
- Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein says Rick Hahn and Ben Cherington are the front-runners for the Cubs GM job, but I’m not sure upon what he’s basing that.
- Carrie Muskat says the Cubs need to move expeditiously to get the new GM in place so he can start making player personnel decisions.